Thu, 8 December 2011
Dave Koz is not my favorite Smooth Jazz artist. He gets a bit schmaltzy for my tastes, and fails to capture what I percieve as true emotion and drive in his work. Having said that, he is immensely popular, and his latest compilation of Christmas tunes, Ultimate Christmas, is good musical wallpaper for Christmas busy work like wrapping presents, making cookies or addressing holiday cards.
Here he teams up with fellow Smooth Fellow Brian Culbertson for a take on "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!". Although my favorite version is one the Peanuts kids sing at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas, I'll take this one in a pinch.
The version that first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems, written by Charles Wesley is not the version widely known today. A sombre man, Wesley had requested and received slow and solemn music for his lyrics, not the joyful tune we now expect. What is more, 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 Georeg Whitfield, Wesley's co-worker, who changed the opening couplet to the familiar one, and the famous composer Feliz Mendelssohn. Music from a Mendelssohn cantata, adapted by the English musician William H. Cummings to fit the lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, makes the song what we all know today.
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT