The Virtual Musical Advent Calendar, December 20: Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels We Have Heard on High is, I believe, the first song on our Advent Calendar that is absolutely, undeniably French in origin. And at the risk of leaning too heavily on Mr. Cockburn (I think we have used him twice already this month), here is a pretty foot-tapping version in the original tongue:
The age and precise origin of the song is uncertain, but most music historians assume it was written around the Languedoc region sometime between the 16th and 18th century. Like any traditional folk song it is possible that it is an evolution of previous versions, but since none has ever been found it is guessed that Angels We Have Heard on High might actually have come from a single pen. It was translated in the mid-19th century by James Chadwick, a Catholic priest and at one point the second Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle.
One of my favorite newer versions is by The Piano Guys, four men who each play different parts of a single grand piano. It sounds weird, but it really works.
And for those of you who simply need their post-translated pre-19th century Languedoc folk Christmas music to totally rock, here is Reliant K’s version:
Click here to see all selections for The Virtual Musical Advent Calendar.