Gaudete ("rejoice" in Latin) is a sacred Christmas carol, which is thought to have been composed in the 16th century, but could easily have existed as a monophonic hymn in the late medieval period, with polyphonic Alto, Tenor, and Bass parts added during the 15th century, particularly due to its Medieval Latin lyrics. The song was published in Piae Cantiones, collected by a Finnish student in 1582.
Here are the complete facsimiles of this song collection.
In this collection the chorus of "Gaudete" is notated as a 4 part polyphonic hymn
The Discantus, Altus and Tenor parts are on page 81
The Bassus part is on page 82
No music is given for the verses in Piæ Cantiones. They derive from the medieval Bohemian song "Ezechielis Porta", which Finnish clerical students would have encountered in Prague and which shared a tune with a Czech vernacular Christmas song ("Za ciesaře Augusta") that still survives.
The Bassus part is on page 82
"Ezechielis Porta" is notated in 1420 on page 225 in the Czech hymn-book "Jistebnický kancionál". Above the lyrics it says: sing as "Za ciesaře Augusta" (= In The Reign Of Caesar Augustus).
And the lyrics and music notation of "Za ciesaře Augusta" itself is on page 74 of the same "Jistebnický kancionál". (Thank you Jiri Zurek for pointing me out to this song)
Click on the bookcover in the next link and you can look inside the complete fascimiles of this book:
SEE ALSO: Jistebnice hymn book - Wikipedia
The tune of "Za ciesaře Augusta" is indeed similar to the verses of Gaudete.
Here's a sample of "Za ciesaře Augusta" by the Czech musical ensemble Musica Bohemica.
Listen here: www.musicabohemica.eu/download/hled-male-jezulatko/10hled-male-jezulatko.mp3
Musica Bohemica • Jaroslav Krček - Vánoční Zpěvy Z Doby Husitské (Christmas Carols From The Jistebnice Hymnal) (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
And compare this with the verses of Gaudete:
In the Youtube-clip below, with a score of Gaudete in the original tonality, the verse starts at 33 seconds
(c) Steeleye Span (1972) (as "Gaudete")
The electric folk group Steeleye Span had a hit in 1973 (No. 14, UK singles chart) with an a cappella recording of the song.
Guitarist Bob Johnson had heard the song when he attended a folk-carol service with his father-in-law in Cambridge, and brought it to the attention of the rest of the band.
(c) Angelo Branduardi (1996)
Angelo Branduardi E Chominciamento Di Gioia - Futuro Antico I (CD, Album) at Discogs
(c) Mediæval Bæbes (1997)
Salva Nos (album) - Wikipedia
(c) Chris Squire (2007)
Chris Squire - bass, vocals
Steve Hackett - guitars
Gerard Johnson - keys
Jeremy Stacey - drums
The English Baroque Choir, conducted by Jeremy Jackman
Listen here (at 38 min and 45 seconds):
(c) Jethro Tull (2008) (Live)
The Christmas Album
(c) Erasure (2013)
On October 28, 2013, British synthpop group Erasure released their electronic version of "Gaudete" as the first single off their Christmas-themed album Snow Globe. Their version reached the Top 30 in UK indie singles chart and the Top 40 in Billboard dance chart.
SEE ALSO: Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est natus
AND: Gaudete - Wikipedia
AND: Piae Cantiones: A Medieval Song Treasury