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Top ten Carols and things you didn't know about them
Times Online ^ | December 7, 2007 | Joanna Sugden

Posted on 12/10/2007 10:37:26 AM PST by NYer

The carol, as a religious song for a particular season, dates back to the 13th century but it hit glory days during the next century gaining widespread popularity. Over the following hundred years the carol developed musically and as a literary form in its own right, but was silenced by the Reformation in England and replaced by the metrical Psalm. A resurgence of carols in the 18th century has helped them become the sine qua non of the Christmas season.

‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ was penned in 1739 by Charles Wesley, whose brother John founded the Methodist church.The original title was “Hark how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings”, welkin meaning ‘the heavens’. Wesley is said to have thought of the hymn while listing to church bells one Christmas day. Originally set to slow and sombre music, Felix Mendelssohn composed the tune sung today in 1840 to commemorate Gutenberg’s printing press. The lyrics were adapted to ‘Hark the herald angels sing’ by William H Cummings in 1855, to fit Mendelssohn’s melody.

O Come All Ye Faithful, is popularly thought to have been written by a 13th-century saint. But the crescendoing carol, originally in Latin and entitled Adeste Fidelis, dates instead to 1743. It was written by John Francis Wade, a Roman Catholic who fled France during the Jacobean rebellion and worked as a music teacher in England. The carol was first translated into English in 1789 for use in the Protestant Church. There are almost 50 different English versions, the most well known was translated in 1841 by Frederick Oakeley an Anglican priest who wrote “Ye faithful, approach ye”. But after his conversion to Catholicism in 1845 Oakeley rewrote the opening lines as ‘O come all ye faithful / Joyfully triumphant.’

O Little Town of Bethlehem was written by Rev Phillips Brooks a Philidelphian vicar, after a horseback ride from Jerusalem to Bethlehem where he helped at Midnight Mass, in 1867. He wrote the following about the journey in 1865.

"I remember standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with splendid hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I knew well, telling each other of the Wonderful Night of the Saviour's birth."

The tune ‘Forest Green’ was adapted for the carol by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Away in a Manger, the Nativity play favourite, was first printed anonymously in the Lutheran book, Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families in 1885. Verse three was added by John T McFarland, and the words were set to music composed by James Murray in Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses in 1887.

Silent Night has a disputed history. Traditionally the tale goes that Mohr and Gruber wrote it on Christmas Eve in Oberndorf, Austria when they found the church organ was eaten away by mice or rust, depending on which story you believe, and had to improvise with voices and a guitar. This charming account has been dispelled as folklore since the discovery of a manuscript that indicates Gruber wrote the score a few years after Mohr wrote the emotive lyrics in 1816. The carol apparently began its journey around the world when master organ builder Karl Mauracher, who had been working on the Oberndorf organ took a copy of it away with him. It is now translated into 150 languages. On Christmas Eve in 1915, from the trenches of World War One, the carol could apparently be heard coming from the German line.

Once in Royal David’s City was written in Hymns for Little Children by Mrs Cecil F. Alexander, the wife of the Bishop of Derry in 1848. The following year, Henry Gauntlett discovered the poem and set it to music.

While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night has an illustrious origin as the creation of Poet Laureate Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady in 1703 during the reign of Queen Anne. At that time only the Psalms were sung in the Anglican Church and Nahum and Tate were famous for paraphrasing them into rhyme to be sung. The melody of the carol comes from Handel’s opera ‘Siroe’.

In the Bleak Midwinter was written by poet Christina Rossetti for Scribner’s Monthly as their Christmas poem. There are many musical arrangements for the carol the most famous was composed by Gustav Holst in the early 20th century.

See Him Lying in a Bed of Straw is a relatively recent addition to the carol canon. Written by Michael Perry and arranged by Stephen Coates it’s a modern gospel carol that is becoming a classic.

Joy to the World is credited to Isaac Watts in 1719, who is known at the 'Father of English Hymnology'. The rousing music by Lowell Mason is said to have been inspired by Handel’s Messiah, in particular the refrain “And heaven and nature sing”.

Here are the top Carols being sung in churches across the country this year according to our poll.

Methodist

  1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  2. O Come All Ye Faithful
  3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  4. Away in a Manger
  5. Silent Night
  6. Once in Royal David's City
  7. While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night
  8. In the Bleak Midwinter
  9. See Him Lying in a Bed of Straw
  10. Joy to the World

Evangelical

  1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  2. O Come All Ye Faithful
  3. Silent Night
  4. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  5. Once in Royal David's City
  6. Away in a Manger
  7. Angels from the realms of glory
  8. While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night
  9. In the Bleak Midwinter
  10. O Come O Come Emmanuel

Baptist

  1. Hark the Heral Angels Sing
  2. O Come All Ye Faithful
  3. Silent Night
  4. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  5. Once in Royal David's City
  6. While Shepherd's Watched theif Flocks by Night
  7. Away in a Manger
  8. In the Bleak Midwinter
  9. The First Nowell
  10. Joy to the World

Church of England

  1. O Come All Ye Faithful
  2. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  3. Silent Night
  4. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  5. Once in Royal David's City
  6. In the Bleak Midwinter
  7. Joy to the World
  8. Away in a Manger
  9. The First Nowell
  10. Angels from the Realms of Glory

The Catholic Church in England and Wales Network and the Elim Pentecostal Church were unable to provide any details.


TOPICS: History; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: advent; carols; christmas
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1 posted on 12/10/2007 10:37:29 AM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Please post your favorites!


2 posted on 12/10/2007 10:38:17 AM PST by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
Up with the Carols!

Down with OCP!

3 posted on 12/10/2007 10:41:44 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Hear, hear!


4 posted on 12/10/2007 10:43:07 AM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3rd Bn. 5th Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: NYer

Where is “O Holy NIght?” This is by far my favorite carol. I am humbled when listening to it.


5 posted on 12/10/2007 10:43:08 AM PST by hoe_cake
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To: NYer

BUMP!


6 posted on 12/10/2007 10:43:47 AM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: NYer

Gesu Bambino
The Coventry Carol
The Huron Carol
Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
I Wonder as I Wander

and Mary’s Boy Child. :)


7 posted on 12/10/2007 10:44:44 AM PST by Lil'freeper (Don't taze me, bro! [[NaNoWriMo Winnah! WoCo: 57436/50K]])
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To: NYer
[O Come All Ye Faithful] was written by John Francis Wade, a Roman Catholic who fled France during the Jacobean rebellion and worked as a music teacher in England.

That doesn't sound right. Why should a Catholic flee a Catholic country like France just because a Catholic Country like Scotland is revolting against England? And why should the fleeing Catholic go to a Protestant country like England?

8 posted on 12/10/2007 10:48:14 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
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To: NYer

Joy to the World is always sung as the closing hymn at funerals in my husband’s family.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.


9 posted on 12/10/2007 10:48:33 AM PST by kalee ( No burka for me...EVER.)
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To: NYer

“Go Tell It On The Mountain” is a great gospel song we listened to growing up.

And in our Methodist Church we sing “ChristmasTide,” which is so beautiful and peaceful.


10 posted on 12/10/2007 10:48:54 AM PST by hoe_cake
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To: kalee

I love that!


11 posted on 12/10/2007 10:50:22 AM PST by bonfire
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To: NYer

Some of my favorite Hanukkah songs that didn’t quite make it.

“Oi To The World”

“Come On Baby Light My Menorah”

“Matzo Men” by The Lower East Side Village People

“Enough With The Jingle Bells Already”

“Deck The Halls With Balls Of Challah”

And my favorite: “Silent Night,.... I Should Be So Lucky”


12 posted on 12/10/2007 10:55:08 AM PST by garyhope
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To: NYer

What, no story about “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”—!!


13 posted on 12/10/2007 10:57:22 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: NYer

It’s really awesome to see when the carols were written and how they hold up through the years.


14 posted on 12/10/2007 10:57:29 AM PST by purpleraine
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To: garyhope

LOL! Balls of Challah!


15 posted on 12/10/2007 10:58:18 AM PST by Mamzelle
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To: NYer
JESUS WAS BORN A SAVIOR
(To the tune of "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer")
Jesus was born a Savior
On a starry winter's eve
Born of the virgin, Mary
Still there's some who don't believe

All those who hated Jesus
Nailed Him to a cross
All those who truly loved Him
Suffered their greatest loss

When three days had come and gone
Jesus came to say
Do no cry for I am here
Believe in Me and I'll be near

Then the whole world will praise Him
As they shout on bended knee,
Jesus, you are my Savior
You alone have set me free
The kids love to sing this at Christmas time each year.
16 posted on 12/10/2007 10:59:04 AM PST by Sopater (A wise man's heart inclines him to the right, but a fool's heart to the left. ~ Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: NYer

My favorite “Do you hear what I hear” did not make the list. UGH!!!!!!


17 posted on 12/10/2007 11:01:19 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: garyhope

roflol


18 posted on 12/10/2007 11:02:56 AM PST by kalee ( No burka for me...EVER.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
The article is wrong. He evidently fled to France after the second Jacobite rebellion (the '45).
19 posted on 12/10/2007 11:04:03 AM PST by Campion
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To: Mamzelle

You know, God Rest Ye Merry GentleFOLKS is not in the running because just maybe it refers to White Men, don’tcha know? And you have to change it to Gentle People or Folks or something, and then the rhythm is off./s


20 posted on 12/10/2007 11:08:31 AM PST by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: NYer
I observe that today is Monday of the Second Week of Advent.

Advent.

Not Christmas.

Not yet, anyway ...

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

Refrain

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Refrain

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Refrain

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.

Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Refrain

21 posted on 12/10/2007 11:08:42 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Campion
Well, that would make a lot more sense. If it's just a dropped word ("to") then I guess it's no big deal.

I just worry that a lot of the information floating around on the internet is not really all that accurate. When I see something that seems blatantly wrong, I end up mistrusting everything else along side it.

But it's a cool article, and I won't grouse about it.

22 posted on 12/10/2007 11:10:00 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
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To: bboop

It’s “Random Chance, Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Persons”.


23 posted on 12/10/2007 11:12:04 AM PST by Publius (A = A)
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To: NYer
Come Emmanuel

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.

Man, I love that song.

24 posted on 12/10/2007 11:12:25 AM PST by EarthBound (Ex Deo,gratia. Ex astris,scientia (Fred/Duncan - dream team))
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To: ArrogantBustard

You beat me! =)


25 posted on 12/10/2007 11:13:08 AM PST by EarthBound (Ex Deo,gratia. Ex astris,scientia (Fred/Duncan - dream team))
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To: NYer

My favorite is probably “Oh Holy Night”.


26 posted on 12/10/2007 11:13:53 AM PST by Sopater (A wise man's heart inclines him to the right, but a fool's heart to the left. ~ Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: what_not2007
Where is “O Holy NIght?” This is by far my favorite carol. I am humbled when listening to it.

Ditto that.

27 posted on 12/10/2007 11:15:43 AM PST by Doomonyou (Let them eat lead.)
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To: NYer
Allons, Gay Bergeres

Adam Lay Ybounden

Gaudete, Christus est natus

In Dulce Jubilo

The Lamb (Tavener setting of Blake's poem)

The Sussex Carol ("On Christmas night all Christians sing")

Wie schoen leuchtet der Morgenstern ("How Bright Appears the Morning Star")

Wolcum Yule (from Britten's Ceremony of Carols)

I'm sure I'll think of more! We've sung almost all of these at one time or another.

28 posted on 12/10/2007 11:16:32 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Sopater

OK! I’m saving THAT one! I LOVE it!


29 posted on 12/10/2007 11:17:51 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: ClearCase_guy; NYer

Uh. . . it’s fled TO France. And it’s the “Jacobite Rebellion”. Jacobean is FURNITURE, from the time of James II, not James III.


30 posted on 12/10/2007 11:19:09 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: NYer

Greek Orthodox Christmas Carols—ancient songs in tribute to the Lord!

http://www.halifaxgreeks.ca/school/Kalanta/Handout.htm

This is of the Pontian Christian Greeks singing in their ancient Dialect...they no longer exst in Asia Minor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tdqr9HOY9tM


31 posted on 12/10/2007 11:22:32 AM PST by eleni121 ((+ En Touto Nika! By this sign conquer! + Constantine the Great)
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To: what_not2007
"O Holy Night" was written as "Cantique de Noelle" by Adolph Adam (accent on the 2nd syllable of both names), a French composer. His only surviving classical work is a rather insipid ballet, "Giselle", known best to fanatical ballet-ophiles and ignored by the rest of us classical music fanatics.

"Cantique de Noelle" has assured Adam a place in the Composers' Hall of Fame long after "Giselle" is (mercifully) forgotten.

"Cantique" was written for high voice (tenor or soprano) with organ accompaniment in the key of D-flat (5 flats). It was written for a professional voice, as the end makes clear. Adam expects the singer to hit a high A-flat and run down the D-flat scale legato to a high D-flat, not using the vocal shorthand of portamento. In other words, those notes should be clear and not slurred.

In church it works best with a soloist who has had some experience with opera. Unfortunately, when a congregation is asked to sing it, the result usually approaches low comedy. As a youth, I can remember more than one congregation falling flat on its vocal -- ahem, face -- when asked to sing that carol.

32 posted on 12/10/2007 11:23:22 AM PST by Publius (A = A)
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To: Doomonyou; Sopater

Ever hit that “high” note towards the end?

I did, once.

Then I passed out.

:`)


33 posted on 12/10/2007 11:23:26 AM PST by hoe_cake
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To: NYer

“Silent Night” by the Vienna Boys Choir is the best


34 posted on 12/10/2007 11:23:38 AM PST by kidd
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To: NYer

Oh golly. I like just about anything by Mannheim Steamroller.


35 posted on 12/10/2007 11:26:27 AM PST by CholeraJoe (Vote for Mike Huckabee or Chuck Norris will give you a wedgie!)
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To: NYer; All

This is the most incredible Christian carol of all simply because Orthodox Christians have survived so much violence against them by Muslims over the years

This one is the Byzantine Hynmn of the Nativity (in arabic)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvjiVam2HO4


36 posted on 12/10/2007 11:26:38 AM PST by eleni121 ((+ En Touto Nika! By this sign conquer! + Constantine the Great)
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To: Publius
C'mon, my daughter adored Giselle when she was an itty-bitty - 3 or 4 years old. She asked for a long Romantic tutu just like Giselle's . . . and she could do the Mad Scene to perfection. Although when she collapsed at the end she did look sort of like Pete Rose sliding headfirst into second base . . . .

. . . and of course the Trocks have sent it up worse than anything we can do.

37 posted on 12/10/2007 11:28:59 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: NYer

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high
Singing sweetly o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

CHORUS:

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.


38 posted on 12/10/2007 11:29:30 AM PST by MNJohnnie (Hillary Clinton has never done one thing right. She thinks that qualifies her to be President?)
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To: Publius

Interesting history of “O Holy Night/Cantique de Noelle.” Thank you very much.

I remember the ballet Giselle...fondly, actually. But then I was crazy about ballet in general.


39 posted on 12/10/2007 11:29:32 AM PST by hoe_cake
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To: NYer

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high
Singing sweetly o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

CHORUS:

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.


40 posted on 12/10/2007 11:29:42 AM PST by MNJohnnie (Hillary Clinton has never done one thing right. She thinks that qualifies her to be President?)
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To: what_not2007; AnAmericanMother
For a long time, choreographers wanted ballet music that didn't get in the way of the dancers showing off their chops. It was Leo Delibes who broke the mold on that tradition with his groudbreaking scores for "Coppelia" and "Sylvia". Then Tchaikovsky took it to the next level with "Swan Lake", "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Nutcracker". Then along came Stravinsky who redefined ballet music once more.

"Giselle" belongs on both sides of the Delibes period, which is why it doesn't rate the same acclaim as the Tchaikovsky scores.

41 posted on 12/10/2007 11:37:55 AM PST by Publius (A = A)
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To: NYer

Christmas Carols are not sung in Catholic Churches until Christmas Eve at twilight services!

The liturgical year has four weeks of advent prior to the Christmas celebration. We sing songs such as Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel during the beginning of December.

Jesus was born on Christmas Day as far as the liturgical calendar goes, and we celebrate his coming during the so-called “twelve days of Christmas” up until and including Epiphany on January 6th. That is when we sing Christmas Carols in church.


42 posted on 12/10/2007 11:42:15 AM PST by Gumdrop
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To: Publius

You are a doctor of music, perhaps?


43 posted on 12/10/2007 11:44:19 AM PST by hoe_cake
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To: Publius
Yeah, but the "32 fouettes" are in Swan Lake. Talk about showing off your chops . . . .
44 posted on 12/10/2007 11:46:26 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: what_not2007
LOL!

When I've tried I usually get dizzy and have to sit down.

45 posted on 12/10/2007 11:46:34 AM PST by Doomonyou (Let them eat lead.)
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To: what_not2007

Click on “Publius” and you’ll know more than you wanted to know about me.


46 posted on 12/10/2007 11:47:39 AM PST by Publius (A = A)
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To: Gumdrop; NYer
We jumped the gun this year with an Advent concert titled "A Prelude to Christmas". So we were singing Christmas carols (and some Advent carols like Hassler's "Dixit Maria") in the church last week . . . on the sanctuary steps . . . .

. . . to wild acclaim. Choirmaster and my husband hatched a scheme to record the concert from upstairs in the choir loft with one of those tiny little Sony digital recorders. Amazingly enough, it seems to have worked! So a CD may be available soon . . . .

47 posted on 12/10/2007 11:48:43 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Publius

well, that does explain it then. Are you a fan of the opera?


48 posted on 12/10/2007 11:50:38 AM PST by hoe_cake
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To: AnAmericanMother
In "Sleeping Beauty", Tchaikovsky came up with a shorthand way of deciding if a piece was intended to advance the plot or give the dancer a chance to show off his or her chops. In that ballet, numbers in keys related to A Major are to advance the plot, and numbers in keys related to B-flat Major are there for the dancers to show off.

If you have perfect pitch, you don't even need to watch the ballet to know what Tchaikovsky's intent was.

49 posted on 12/10/2007 11:52:49 AM PST by Publius (A = A)
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To: Doomonyou

It goes without saying that the more wine I have, the better I think I can hit that high note. :`)


50 posted on 12/10/2007 11:56:45 AM PST by hoe_cake
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