Saturday, December 18, 2010

Veni Veni Emmanuel, Fribourg Vocal Ensemble

This hymn, one of my favorites, is a composite of some of the earliest surviving Christian prayers (dating at least to the 8th century); these prayers traditionally are recited during the eight days preceding Christmas. The melody is a Franciscan nun processional tune from the 15th century thought to derive from 8th century Gregorian chant. This particular arrangement was performed by the Fribourg Vocal Ensemble at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Lilies in Paris in 2009.

1. O COME, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel,
to thee shall come Emmanuel!

2. O come, Thou Rod of Jesse's stem,
from ev'ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict'ry o'er the grave.
3. O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadow put to flight.

4. O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav'nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh.

5. O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to Thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.

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