Hymn #241: Joy Dawned Again on Easter Day

           This ancient Latin text comes from a longer poem called “Aurora lucis rutilat,” which was sung at lauds on the Sundays following Easter.  It is one of the earliest hymns to be found in a medieval breviary for use during a special season.  This translation is by John Mason Neale (1818-1866).

            John Mason Neale was stricken by lung disease early in his career.  However, this allowed more time for hymn translating.  He was fluent in twenty-one languages and was the first to translate Greek hymns into English. Many of Neale’s translations are still in common use.

            PUER NOBIS NASCITUR was adapted by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) from an older carol.  It was the setting for “Begorn ist Gottes Söhnlein” in the fourth volume of his Musae Sioniae (1609).  The twelve volumes of that massive work included twelve hundred choral arrangements in a variety of styles.

           Michael Praetorius was born February 15, 1571, in Saxe-Weimar and died on his fiftieth birthday in Wolfenbüttel, Germany.  Largely self-taught, Praetorius became a prolific author and composer and an innovator in using both harmony and counterpoint.