I was looking for a medieval image of a scene in snow that would fit a piece of medieval seasonal music. In this instance or most any, you can’t go wrong with a painting from Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Flemish painter , who lived from around 1525 until 1569, has long been a favorite of mine with the gorgeous colors of his peasant scenes. This is one of the more famous of the 45 or so known remaining paintings from Bruegel, titled The Hunters in the Snow from 1565. The contrasting darkness of the trees and the hunting party against the lightness of the snow and the atmosphere just make this piece memorable for me. It is of its time but it feels as though you could step into it, be part of it.
The piece of music I wanted this to accompany is Gaudete, a well known piece that comes from the 16th century which means it, like the Bruegel painting, are not really medieval since that period ended with the 15th century. But both feel as though they have that medieval feel and, besides, Gaudete is based on truly medieval Latin lyrics.
The song is a Christmas carol that opens with the line Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus which translates to Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born. Gaudete is Latin for rejoice. While I do not practice any particular religion, this is truly a beautiful expression of the meaning of the season. This lovely version of the song is an arrangement for 4 voices, arranged and conducted by Joan Yakkey and performed by 4 adolescents belonging to the Young Madrigalists group of the School of Music of Fiesole, Florence Italy.