In Kontakion on the Nativity & Carols, American composer Richard Toensing creates a vibrant musical synthesis of East and West with new settings of ancient Orthodox Christmas texts.

Indebted to Slavic traditions, his virtuosic Choral Concerto for unaccompanied double choir and multiple soloists uses the dramatic words of St. Romanos the Melodist (6th c.) to recount the mystery of Jesus’ birth. Toensing’s more intimate New Orthodox Carols for the Nativity of Christ alternate between exuberant celebration and joyful contemplation as they bridge the gap between Byzantine and American hymnody.

Album Tracks

Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ: A Choral Concerto
First Movement
1. Proimion, The Virgin gives birth today
2. Stanza I, Bethlehem has opened Eden
3. Stanza II, The Father of the Father by intent became her Son
4. Stanza III, O High King, what is there for you among the beggars?

Second Movement
5. Stanza IV, As she says such things int eh presence of the Ineffable
6. Stanza VI, As Mary heard all of these astonishing words
7. Stanza VII, Since they are your people, O Child

Third Movement
8. Stanza VIII, Jesus, who is truly the Christ and also our God
9. Stanza IX, Receive, then, O Holy Lady

Fourth Movement
10. Stanza X, The Magi hastened at once into the inner room
11. Stanza XI, “I will tell you,” said Mary to the Magi
12. Stanza XXII Now when She who is blameless saw the Magi
13. Stanza XXIV (Epilogue) Save the world, O our Savior

New Orthodox Carols for the Nativity of Christ
14. O Nations, Let Us Now Prepare
15. Isaiah, As He Watched By Night
16. In Olden Days
17. What Shall We Call You
18. Now hear, O Bethlehem
19. The Virgin, as was Said of Old
20. O Let Creation All Rejoice
21. Now Christ is Born Upon the Earth
22. The Rod of Jesse’s Root has Bloomed
23. The Shepherds in the Fields
24. Once Sorrow had Silenced Zion’s Harps
25. Make Glad, You Righteous