I’m not sure who is responsible for translating Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer into latin and setting it to plainsong.

Whoever it was, they have earned an Advent Blessing and a Tip of the Biretta from me.


You can hear it here:


  1. Joy! I love the emphatically low plunge on “misero” and the vision of all the reindeer joining in the Alleluia – appeals to my sense of the absurd…

  2. I have it from an authoritative source that the text is based on the most common translation, which has been circulating on the net for quite some time, with slight emendations to make it more idiomatically Latin.
    As for the music, well… let’s just say: Advent Blessing received. Glad you liked it. ūüôā

  3. Cynthia Lockley says

    The Share button shows that it can be shared to Pinterest but it can’t be done. I tried that and got the following:

    Whoops! Parameter ‘image_url’ (value // is not a valid URL format.

    Can that be fixed?

    • auburntygr says

      I just had to add it manually to Pinterest. It could actually be more of Pinterest’s issues. I know lately I have had to change browsers to get things to pin there.

  4. I’m not sure where you were seeing a Pinterest button. I’ve just added one to the share button at the bottom of each post but it wasn’t there earlier.

  5. As an eponymous member of that famed reindeer’s family, I am deeply appreciative of this reproduction of the original hymn to my humble, maligned, persecuted, and yet finally honored ancestor.

    And as an Anglican, the rendition of the hymn is a most faithful expression of my ancestor’s humble servant’s heart.


    Markus Rudolphus – aka, Mark Rudolph

  6. William Carragan says

    There needs to be another hyphen in “ducere”. Still, it is a wonderful processional antiphon, fully worthy to be added to Oxf. Bodl. Laud misc. 4 from which years ago I got a lot of highly topical material.

  7. This is brilliant. Made my evening.

  8. This is excellent. Although personally I prefer the Gabrieli setting, in which an extra quartet jumps in with “Reno” and “Sicut globulus electricus”.

  9. Amelia says

    One question: is this available on iTunes? I want this forever.

    • I’ve added a download link.

      • JoAnne Hinkle says

        The “Download” button installs a toolbar/program which does not actually allow one to download from this site. Message: no video found. Oh well. another useless thing to uninstall.

  10. Rosemary says

    I’m no classicist, so no surprise that the first word ‘reno’ didn’t seem familiar. Undeterred, I checked for a definition online. What I discovered would not make comfortable reading for Rudolph: ‘deerskin’ ‘fur coat’…

    • true – perhaps tarandrus would have been a little more Rudolph-friendly:

      • Rosemary says

        ‘Tarandrus’ – another unfamiliar word, only previously spotted (by me at least) as a plural below line 3 of the music above. Amazed to discover that although the northern edge of the Roman hegemony lay well south of ‘Terra Tarandrorum’, word (or maybe ‘reni’) of reindeer (or possibly some other creature of the frozen northern lands) nonetheless reached Pliny and his compatriots. Agree that ‘tarandrus’ would be much more Rudolph-friendly, but ‘reno’ adds a wry twist for those in the know. Thanks to John for help with extending my very limited Latin vocabulary.

  11. LJ Graf says

    This sounds more Gregorian than plainsong to me. Wish it had been around when I was studying HS Latin – but that was well before Al Gore invented the Internet.

  12. Stephen Morris says

    The composer of the tune (and the typesetter, and the recording artist) is Eyolf √ėstrem. More on the origin of all of this here:

  13. Rebecca Stewart says

    To all concerned:

    May I add my ‘Alleluia’ to the words of LJ Graf above. As a
    singer/musicologist who has been working for 50 years in
    the chant traditions of both the East and West, this rendition
    of Eyolf Oestrem’s Rudolph’s Gregorian transformation is truly
    en’chant’ing! This is the first time I have heard ‘Western’ musicians
    (with the possible exception of those I have tried to train to sing
    modal music modally) sing chant – Rudolphed or otherwise –
    so movingly. I mean this literally. Our tonally-trained Western
    voices are absolutely incapable of even hearing the nuances, let
    alone sing them, which constitute the essence of chant the world over.
    Thank you, Mr. Oestrem! Thank you very much! And your Mode III is
    Rudolphus is spot on: sol-la-sol-mi-fa-la-sol.

    • To Rebecca Stewart:

      As a tonally-trained Western musician and indeed singer/musicologist of s similar if not greater length of experience, I take great exception to your comment. Even were I to ignore the carelessness with which you berate our voices for the inability to hear (sic) nuances, I would repudiate it. Perhaps your immersion in one particular genre has left you less sensitive to the skills of advanced practitioners in others.

      • I agree, Pam – as another experienced practitioner whose voice does not hear either! (And, of course, as a pedant who is particular about the nuances conveyed by an imperfect grasp of English …)

  14. Interesting to compare these lyrics with those produced for the traditional tune by a teacher at my secondary school back in the 1970’s:

    Rubriconasus reno
    Nasum habuit rubrum,
    Siquandoque videres
    Diceres et igneum.

    Et ceteri renones
    Hilares irridebant;
    Rubriconasum ludos
    Ludere suos vetant.
    (Sed) Christi nataliciis
    Santa ‚ÄúNebulis‚ÄĚ
    Inquit “naso ludico,
    Duc mi traham, obsecro‚ÄĚ.

    Tum ceteri renones
    Cacchinnant hilariter
    “Rubriconase Reno,
    Celebraberis semper‚ÄĚ.

  15. Hmm… wonder if anyone would like to try this with Shine Jesus Shine? It can only be an improvement….. (I have a Latin translation of some of it)

  16. Even Rudolph sounds spiritual in plainsong.

  17. Albertus says

    haec versio plena est mendarum. “si quando hunc videbat (videbas?), hunc candere tu dicas?” sententia turpissima est. nonne etiam opporteat “nocte nebulosa?” scribere pro sententia “nocte nebulae”? etiam quid significat “nocte hac visne traham ducere?” hoc plane non intellego. estne nondum qui latine sane loquatur?

  18. Hannah says

    Cur tu carmen non convertis, si hoc modo sentis! Tu latine aperte sane loquaris, ut demum. Et cur scripsis “opporteat”, non “oportet”? Gaude, quod Christmas est!

    • Albertus says

      recte dicis “oportet” in loco verbi “oporteat”. gratias tibi ago pro emendatione. atque gaude, quod dies natalis Iesu Christi est (in primis si christiana es.)

  19. Stephanus Trobrigam says

    Francis illustrare. lolivus

  20. Stephanus Trobrigam says


  21. Bud Clark says

    A quite unexpected side-benefit / effect: this is the first time I’ve heard “New Solesmes” chant using the St. Gall neums (not visible here) and liked it. The slowing down and speeding up is quite effective. It gives more life and contour to the chant.

    And what GORGEOUS chanting!


    Bud Clark
    Cathedral City CA USA

    • A quick remark to Bud Clark (or – quick? Maybe not so much, since it’s been two years, but anyway:)
      In this case, the “New Solesmes” mannerisms were used in order to bring out the Rudolph melody, e.g. the quasi-punctuation of the very first notes. In other words: all different kinds of fakery and anachronisms were used in order to create a genuine piece of plainchant.

  22. Tamara Meinecke says

    These comments were way too erudite for me, but I enjoyed the beautiful singing. Really lovely.

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