Friday, December 14, 2007

Top 10 Carols: No. 4

No. 4: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

Now we're getting to the big boys -- the hymns that if they aren't listed in the Christmas Eve church bulletin, you feel like you were cheated.

Hark the herald angels sing was written by John Wesley's brother Charles, according to Wikipedia.

I was interested to learn that Wesley at one point envisioned the lyrics to be sung to the tune of the Easter hymn "Christ the Lord is risen today" If that's the same as the modern hymn "Jesus Christ is Risen Today," then I tried to match the lyrics of "Hark" to that tune and it works!

The tune most often used today was derived from a Mendelssohn arrangement in the 19th century.

I was also interested to find out that "Hark" is the recessional hymn for the annual Service of Nine Lessons and Carols in King's College Chapel, Cambridge.

I graduated from the University of the South in Sewanee, an Episcopal school which holds a very close version of Lessons and Carols every December.

The list so far:
No. 4: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
No. 5: Angels we have heard on high
No. 6: Some children see him
No. 7: O come o come emmanuel
No. 8: In the bleak midwinter
No. 9: Lo, how a rose e'er blooming
No. 10: Go tell it on the mountain

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