Posts tagged ‘O Come o come Emmanuel’

December 6, 2015

2015-12-06 Notes from the Bench

Handbells in Advent at All Saints

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” arr. Susan E. Geschke & 
“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” by Kevin McChesney

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate


During the 9:00 and 11:00 am services this weekend, the All Saints’ Handbell Choir will be providing devotional Advent music.

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Susan E. Geschke is an arrangement incorporating two well-known Advent melodies: “Veni, veni Emmanuel” and “Gottes Sohn ist Kommen” frequently sung with the texts “O Come, o come Emmanuel” and “Once He Came in Blessing” respectively. The melody “Veni, veni Emmanuel” is based on a fifteenth-century French processional hymn that appeared with the text, “Bone Jesu dulcis cunctis.” The earliest surviving source of this melody is found in Rituale/processionale from an abbey of the Order of Saint Clare in Meaux, which is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. During the 1850s, this tune was coupled with the Advent text, “O Come, o come Emmanuel,” a metrical paraphrase of the great, “O antiphons,” an ancient set of antiphon texts attached to the Magnificat sung during Vespers the seven days prior to Christmas Eve, December 17 – 23. The earliest-known source for the tune “Gottes Sohn is Kommen” is a Czech manuscript dated 1410. A century later, this melody appeared in German hymnals with Marian Advent hymn texts.



“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” by Kevin McChesney is a setting of the French melody “Picardy” that was first published in Chanson populaires des provinces de France, printed in 1860. Ralph Vaughan Williams coupled an English translation of the ancient Greek Eucharistic text “Let all mortal flesh keep silence” with “Picardy,” resulting in a popular hymn with a secure place within the singing traditions of English-speaking Christians.



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