Author Topic: Add: Carlingcott (Hark the Herald Angels)


Posted - 22 Jul 07 - 07:42 am

Hark the Herald Angels sing,
Glory to the new-born King
Peace on mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled.

Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angleic hosts procliam
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Christ be highest heaven adored
Christ the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold him come
Offspring of the virgin's womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased and man with man to dewell
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Sun of Righteousness
Light and life to all he brings
Ris'n with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of Earth
Born to give them second birth.

Manuscript from Carlingcott, Somerset

In Carlingcott, in what used to be the North Somerset coalfield, the Wesleyan chapel had a choir and orchestra for over 130 years before it closure in 1981. Their music manuscripts were examined in the 1980s by researchers Bob and Jacqueline Patten, and is the source for this version of "Hark the Herald Angels"

-- from the sleeve notes of "Angels a-shouting".

masato sakurai

Posted - 22 Jul 07 - 02:12 pm

Thank you for an interesting version.

Probably errors. The note to the tenor part of "Herald an-gels" should be A, not B. The note to the alto part of the "re-con-ciled" in the 20th bar should be D, not F#.


Posted - 22 Jul 07 - 03:15 pm

The 'alto' mistake was in my transcription, which I have fixed.  The 'tenor' is as on the copy of the manuscript I have; I will ask jeff, who sent me this, to check that note and whether I've made any other errors.


Posted - 26 Jul 07 - 01:22 pm

Well spotted, Masuto. That B should indeed be an A.

This is perhaps he most popular of English carols. I have never heard a formal Service of Carols and Lessons or a gathering of tipsy carollers which did not include "Hark the herald angels". It was originally a Methodist Christmas hymn, written by Charles Wesley in (I believe) 1739. He was no doubt encouraged by the success of Nahum Tate's highly controversial "While shepherds watched". Writing Christmas hymns (which soon became carols to be sung door to door) quickly caught on, and many provincial composers wrote their own pieces or new settings to favourite carols. There are many highly individual versions of, for instance, "While shepherds watched", though they are rarely sung nowadays, which is a great pity. Strangely though, "Hark the herald angels" did not enjoy extensive re-setting. Wesley's original melody is now lost, unless it is in fact Carlingcott as I suspect.

In the 19th C (I suppose the 1860s or later) a D.Mus. named W. H. Cummings decided that the Wesley setting was unsuitable, and casting around for something "gay and popular ... soldier-like and buxom [sic]" adapted a chorus from Mendelsohn's Festgesang of 1846. This has now become the accepted setting.

Carlingcott, gloriously joyous piece for singers and audience, should be sung vivace with a tempo of at least 100 beats/min.

John Shaw

Posted - 31 Jul 07 - 01:43 pm

There is also a mistake in the second bar of the alto part, which should be a minim on E (on the syllable "her-") followed by two crochets on E and C (on "-ald").

Jon Freeman

Posted - 01 Aug 07 - 11:49 am

Thanks, I think I'd best leave that one for Dave to fix.  I think it might be a few days before he is able to do it though.

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