Madrigal Chamber Choir
conducted by Marin Constantin

Romanian Christmas Carols
Electrecord 1991

  1. Christ Was Born Today (Timotei Popovici)
  2. Today Christ Appeared Ta Us (Dumitru G Kiriac)
  3. Santa Claus' White Locks (loan D Chirescu)
      Good Morning Christmas Eve (loan Costescu)
  4. Three Shepherds (Timotei Popovici)
  5. Little Fir Tree Twig (Gheorghe Cucu)
  6. Jesus s Little Cradle (Valentin Teodorian)
  7. Santa Claus (Ion Borgovan Octavian Goga)
  8. Tonight Will Be Christmas (Nicolae Ursu)
  9. Podobiak from the Byzantine Christmas Oratorio (Paul Constantinescu)
10. Good Morning Christmas Eve (Alexandra Podoleanu Ion Chirescu)
11. Here Corm the Carol Singers (Tiberiu Brediceanu)
12. Oh What Wonderful Tidings - The Departure of the Magi (D G Kiriac)
13. The Three Magi (Folklore Collected By Anton Pann)
14. High Above (Sabin Dragoi)
15. Jesus and the Lord on High (Gheorghe Cucu)
16. Up at the Gates of Paradise And Colindita (Emil Montia)
17. The Star Appearing On High (Ion Chirescu)
18. Down In Bethlehem (Nicolas Lungu)
19. At The Wedding of the Canaanite (Folklore Collected By Anton Pann)
20. The Shepherds Carol (Ilarion Cocisiu)
21. Little Star (Fr Hubic)
22. Velerim and Veler King (Vasile Popovici)
23. Day- Son of the Day (Vasile Popovici)
24. Carol for Palm Sunday (Gheorghe Cucu)
25. We Just Walk and Sing Carols (M Birca)
26. Nativity Hymn from the Byzantine Christmas Oratorio (Paul Constantinescu)
27. Bright Feast (Timotei Popovici)
28. Over There in the Shades of the Trees (Ivan D Chirescu)
29. Adoration of the Magi (Vasile I Popovici)
30. The Holy Virgin is Walking About (Nicolae Ursu)
31. Le's Praise the Lord (Gheorghe Cucu)
32. The Lord Be Praised (Nicolae Lungu)

Romanian Christmas Carols

The history of this recording has a special significance for the plight of Romanian musical life. For several decades the Communist dictatorship banned all works with a religious character and especially those based on sacred texts. However, the authorities "closed their eyes" to the performance of such works by Romanian artists at the request of concert organizers abroad. Following the tremendous success of the Madrigal Choir on these occasions, there was a growing demand for Christmas Carols albums. The authorization to release such a disc was only given on the condition that it should be distributed exclusively abroad, to prevent—"God forbid!"—the"contamination" of the Romanian population by the religious content of these songs. Just how hypocritical a measure this was is illustrated by the fact that Electrecord used to receive orders for Carol recordings from the Party Central Committee itself at the end of each year. The albums were meant for prominent members who atone had the privilege and gratification of listening to these musical gems, because they had been previously "immunised" against the religious "virus". Fortunately, those times are now gone forever, and everyone can freely buy their Christmas Carol discs in the Romanian record shops.

The carols included on this disc are traditional songs that are usually sung by groups of boys and girls who visit houses in the countryside and certain town districts between Christmas Eve and the New Year. The singers would usually be rewarded with sweets and money for their well-wishing. The songs on this recording are special arrangements for mixed choir provided by well-known Romanian composers; some of the songs do not even have a religious character proper—rather they recall scenes from folk fairytales.

Edgar Elian
English version by Magda Morait