Camille Saint-Saëns wrote his Christmas Oratorio in a mere two weeks before a Christmas concert in Paris in 1858. Although not nearly as well known as Handel’s English-language oratorio, the lush, pastoral music of the French composer holds its own place in beauty and wonder. The selection included here is actually the middle part of the oratorio. (Skip to 22:07 in the video.) I like it because it contrasts the anger of some at Christ’s birth (Herod was just the first of many) with the peace of God’s incarnate love. If you want to hear the entire work, listen below, or find a recording on Amazon. It is such a lovely, lyrical composition that I find myself drawn back to it year after year to enjoy the musical delight of the nativity.
Quare fremuerunt gentes? Et populi meditati sunt inania? Gloria
Patri, gloria Filio, gloria Spiritui Sancto! Sicut erat in principio
et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Why do the heathens rage? and the people think vain thoughts? Glory
to the Father, glory to the Son, glory to the Holy Spirit! As it was
in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.