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Notes on the Notes – December 30, 2012

This week’s hymns are:

“Once in Royal David’s City” – (VU #62) – This hymn was written in 1848 by Mrs C F Alexander (author of ‘All things bright and beautiful’ and ‘There is a green hill’), with the aim of explaining to children the mystery of the Incarnation as described in the Apostles’ Creed.  It was published in 1849.

The tune, ‘Irby’ dating from the following year, is by H J Gauntlett.  This carol is famous for opening the annually broadcast Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, where the first verse is always sung with heart-stopping purity by a lone treble.  To seen it sung at King’s College, watch  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc_Mo2KrIzw

“A Light is Gleaming” – (VU #82) – This song was first published in 1992 in Stickpeople, a collection of songs by the Canadian composer Linnea Good.

“Joy is Now in Every Place” (VU #45) – According to the Canadian Youth Hymnal (1939), the source of this carol was Child Education, December 1929.  The German carol tune was used in medieval mystery plays about the nativity where it was associated with the carol “Joseph lieber, Joseph mein.”

“O Light of Nations” (VU #84) – We will be using the 4th verse of the hymn “O Radiant Christ, Incarnate Word” as our benediction response.  The text is by Ruth Duck, who was commissioned to write the hymn by the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  The melody is by Robert Schummann, from his Nachtstucke, Opus 23, No. 4 (1839) for solo piano.   It is one of a number of 19th-century hymn tunes adapted from instrumental works by well-known composers.

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