Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 305, December 14

I love learning the history of how hymns and Christmas carols came about.  One of my favorite carols is "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

This carol first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems, having been written by Charles Wesley.  Wesley's original opening couplet is "Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings."

The popular version is the result of alterations by various hands, notably George Wakefield, Wesley's co-worker, who changed the opening couplet to the familiar one, and Felix Mendelssohn. A hundred years after the publication of Hymns and Sacred Poems, in 1840, Mendelssohn composed a cantata to commemorate Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press.  It is music from this cantata, adapted by the English musician William H. Cummings to fit the lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, that we know today.

So, for today, I am grateful for the beauty of this hymn.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this interesting lesson. So fun to hear the history of things like this.