Tag Archives: Christmas

The Angelic Choir

The shepherds were “sore afraid,” which means they were completely and totally terrified fearing for their very lives. Here they were half-asleep watching sheep (some of which would eventually be slaughtered in Passover celebrations and temple sacrifices) and an angel of the Lord appeared to them with “news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a… Read More »

Thoughts on “Silent Night”

Did you know that the beloved Christmas carol “Silent Night” originally had six stanzas and not three? We know this from an original manuscript submitted by the composer Franz Gruber (1787-1863) when an official investigation was held in 1854 on the origins of the carol. Other autographs have been discovered over the years, the most recent being by the author of the text, Father Joseph Mohr (1792-1848). When comparing the English translation… Read More »

Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological

In anticipation of the 40th Annual Peoria “Sing-It-Yourself” Messiah tomorrow on the Trinity Concert Series (www.trinityconcertseries.org), I would like to offer these thoughts on the work. Arguably the most popular musical work of all time, Handel’s Messiah sets to beautiful and awe-inspiring music Old and New Testament passages that proclaim the salvation story. According to one scholar,  the librettist Charles Jennens (1700-73) “intended Messiah as a statement of faith in… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

The text of the popular Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is a lyrical paraphrase of the O Antiphons, an ancient set of seven antiphons for the Magnificat (Song of Mary) sung by Christians at the Vespers services held on the last seven days before Christmas (December 17-23). Each of the O Antiphons expounds upon a name that the prophet Isaiah had given to the Messiah: 1. December 17: O Sapientia (O… Read More »

A New Metrical Translation of “Maria Walks Amid the Thorn”

In a previous post I offered a literal translation of all seven stanzas of the German Advent/Christmas Carol “Maria Walked Amid the Thorn” (see www.jubalslyre.com/thoughts-on-maria-walks-amid-the-thorn). With this post I offer a new metrical translation of the carol. Interestingly, singing the full version makes the carol a song that can be sung at other points of the Church Year, including today, the Baptism of Our Lord. I had the privilege this morning of… Read More »

A New Metrical Translation of the Original “Silent Night”

Several days ago I placed on Facebook a new literal English translation of the Christmas carol “Silent Night” (see www.jubalslyre.com/thoughts-on-silent-night). The interest was overwhelming and several people requested a metrical translation of the original text. Here is a metrical translation that I have crafted and recrafted over many years. The intent has been to keep as much of the deep and rich theology of the original text as possible while at the same… Read More »

More Paradoxes of “This Little Babe”

There is another great Robert Southwell poem in Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols (for the first, see www.jubalslyre.com/the-paradoxes-of-this-little-babe). Although this movement is entitled “In Freezing Winter Night” (click here for a recording), the poem’s original title was “New Prince, New Pomp.” Interestingly, Southwell’s original title parallels the title of the poem from which “This Little Babe” is taken: “New Heaven, New War.” With deep insight, vivid imagery, and compelling metaphors both poems explore the mystery, wonder, and… Read More »

O Come, All Ye Faithful (SATB) – English or Latin

This setting of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is an attempt to musically portray a great victory parade  to see the Christ Child (see www.jubalslyre.com/thoughts-on-o-come-all-ye-faithful). The choral arrangement begins with a soloist inviting the faithful to join in a great, joyful, and triumphal procession to Bethlehem. The full choir joins by repeating the last part of the stanza, a lost tradition that is evident in early hymnals and choral arrangements of… Read More »

Sussex Carol (SATB w/ Piano or Harp and Opt. Handbells)

The Sussex Carol was one of the many English folk songs collected for posterity by Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958). This arrangement is a relatively easy, but boisterous arrangement for SATB choir with piano or harp and optional handbells. It is published by Walton Music (WW 1243) and available from GIA or your favorite music retailer. For a complimentary review copy, please send us a note via our Contact Us page.… Read More »

Thank You to Trinity’s Musicians and Worship Leaders

I would like to offer a sincere thank you to all those who were involved in last evening’s Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Trinity. From those who prepared the Sanctuary to the Lectors and to all the musicians and thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit, the proclamation that occurred was incredibly strong, wonderfully heartfelt, and truly beautiful. For me there were many, many favorite moments. Besides… Read More »