Christmas Countdown 11

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7 Responses to Christmas Countdown 11

  1. JohnA

    An improvement on previous selections, but Enya’s version seems a little short on content:

    O Come O Come Emmanuel :Lyrics
    The favourite O Come, O Come Emmanuel carol was originally written in Latin text in the 12th Century. The author of the words and composer to the music of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is unknown. It is, however believed that the melody was of French origin and added to the text a hundred years later. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.

    O come, O come, Emmanuel
    And ransom captive Israel
    That mourns in lonely exile here
    Until the Son of God appear
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel.

    O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
    Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
    From depths of Hell Thy people save
    And give them victory o’er the grave
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel.

    O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
    Our spirits by Thine advent here
    Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
    And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel.

    O come, Thou Key of David, come,
    And open wide our heavenly home;
    Make safe the way that leads on high,
    And close the path to misery.
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel.

    O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
    Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
    In ancient times did’st give the Law,
    In cloud, and majesty and awe.
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to thee, O Israel.


  2. Hugh

    This is one of my favourite advent hymns, not least for the play with words going on in the original order of the verses, which originally was. 1. O Sapientia… (Wisdom) 2. O Adonai… (Lord) 3. O Radix Jesse … (Root of Jesse) 4. O Clavis David … (Key of David) 5. O Oriens… (“East” (ie Morning Star)) 6. O Rex Gentium… (King of the Gentiles) 7. O Emanuel… (Emmanuel = “God with Us”).

    The first letters of these titles, S A R C O R E taken backwards, spell out two Latin words: ERO CRAS, which means loosely “I will be (there) tomorrow”. This makes sense, as these are Magnificat antiphons, sung successively each night with the Magnificat at Vespers in the Roman and Monastic office from December 17 (O Emanuel) until December 23 ( O Sapientia), the latter being the night the acrostic is completed and which is indeed the night before the “tomorrow” which is Christmas (since the celebration of Christmas Day liturgically begins in the evening of December 24, with Midnight Mass). So from December 17, through the chanting of the office it gradually dawns on us that Christ (“I”) is whispering, as it were, of His impending birth.

    (The chant melodies of the antiphons as sung at Vespers, hauntingly beautiful in themselves, are not the same melody as this beautiful melody sung by Enya above.)

  3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Lovely, Sinclair. In contrast to the commenters above, I have so little musical and religious learning, but these sung words from my childhood church attendance at Evening Prayer using the Book of Common Prayer came to my mind for the season when I played and viewed your beautiful piece above:

    My soul doth magnify the Lord :
    and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
    For he hath regarded :
    the lowliness of his handmaiden.
    For behold, from henceforth :
    all generations shall call me blessed.
    For he that is mighty hath magnified me :
    and holy is his Name.
    And his mercy is on them that fear him :
    throughout all generations.
    He hath shewed strength with his arm :
    he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    He hath put down the mighty from their seat :
    and hath exalted the humble and meek.
    He hath filled the hungry with good things :
    and the rich he hath sent empty away.
    He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel :
    as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

    Luke 1.46-55

    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
    and to the Holy Ghost;
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
    world without end. Amen.

  4. JohnA

    Hugh #1105985, posted on December 11, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Thanks for filling in more detail. Lovely. Enya’s tune seems to be the one we sing in the Pressie church, which has a somewhat Israeli flavour to it.

    Lizzie B that quote from Luke goes really well in Tim Dudley Smith’s Magnificat with words at to the tune Woodlands.

  5. Hugh

    Thanks, John A. Yes, yours is the traditional tune to the antiphons as set metrically in the 12th c. The source of that tune of Enya was unknown until the 1960′s, when chant expert Dr Mary Berry (d. 2008) was leafing through a 15th c Franciscan nuns’ processional in the Bibliothèque National in Paris and there it was, with a second harmonizing part on the right hand page. The lyrics were not “O Come Emmanuel”‘ but responses to the funeral antiphon “Libera Me” (sung around the coffin at the end of a requiem mass.) Here is another page with more information on the hymn and its origins.

  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    JohnA, that is the Magnificat as I have always understood it, a statement of the underpinnings of the Christian religion, the coming of Emmanuel, the Messiah of Israel. I recall it as traditional Magnificat, sung in Church according to the old way.
    Thanks for your link too.

  7. Menai Pete

    How about some sympathy for cruelty to Xmas decorations:
    Bob Rivers – Who Put The Stump

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