woensdag 30 november 2016

In Dulci Jubilo (1328) / Good Christian Men Rejoice (1853)

The original song text, a macaronic alternation of Medieval German and Latin, is thought to have been written by the German mystic and Dominican monk Heinrich Suso (or Seuse) circa 1328
One night in 1328 Suso had a vision in which he joined angels dancing as the angels sang to him "Nun singet und seid froh" or "In Dulci Jubilo".

In Dulci Jubilo - Original Version

The tune first appears in Codex 1305, a manuscript in Leipzig University Library dating from c.1400,

Here below are the German/ Latin words from Codex No. 1305 as quoted by Philipp Wackernagel  in "Das Deutsche Lirchenlied" from 1867 (#640)

1. In dulci iubilo
singet und sit vro.
Aller unser wonne
layt in presepio,
Sy leuchtet vor dy sonne
matris in gremio
qui alpha est & o.

2. O Jhesu paruule
noch dir ist mir so we:
troste mir myn gemute
O puce optime,
durch aller iuncfrawen gute
princeps glorie,
trahe me post te.

3. Ubi sunt gaudia?
nyndert me wen da,
do dy vogelin singen
noua cantica,
und do dy schelchen klingen
in regis curia
Eya qualia.

4. Mater et lilia
ist iuncfraw Maria
Wir woren gar vertorben
per nostra crimina
Nu het fy uns erworben
celorum gaudia
O quanta gracia.

Das deutsche Kirchenlied: #640

Around 1910 the German Choir Thomanerchor recorded "In Dulci Jubilo" for the Homokord-label

Here below a version they recorded in 1930 for the Grammophon-label:

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SLUB Mediathek

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SLUB Mediathek

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It has been suggested that the melody may have existed in Europe prior to this date.

Later on, the tune was included in "Geistliche Lieder", a 1533 Lutheran hymnal by Joseph Klug.

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The melody also appears in the 1582 Finnish songbook Piae Cantiones, a collection of sacred and secular medieval songs, in which the original German/ Latin lyrics are changed for Swedish/ Latin

 see In Dulci Jubilo - Piæ Cantiones, 1582 

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Here are the Swedish/ Latin lyrics of the 2 pages above:

In dulci iubilo,
Nu siunge wij io io
Then all tingh för oss förmo
ligger in praesepio
Och som Solen skijner
matris in gremio:
Alpha es et o,
Alpha es et o.

O Iesu paruule
för tigh är migh so we
Tröst migh i mitt sinne
O puer optime
Lätt migh tin godheet finne
O princeps gloriae,
Trahe me post te,
trahe me post te.

O Patris charitas,
O Nati lenitas,
Wij wore plat förderffuadh
per nostra crimina,
Nu haffuer hä oss förwärffuad
coeloru gaudia,
Eya wore wij thär
Eya wore wij thär.

Ubi sunt gaudia
Ther siunger man "Eya"
Hwar Englanar siunga
noua cantica,
Och sielanar springa
in regis curia,
Eya wore wij thär
Eya wore wij thär.

A copy of the rare 1582 edition of 'Piae Cantiones" was acquired by Thomas Helmore and John Mason Neale in 1853 from G. J. R. Gordon, Her Majesty's Envoy and Minister at Stockholm. Helmore adapted the carol melodies and Neale either paraphrased the carol lyrics into English or wrote entirely new lines.

So five hundred years later, this carol "In Dulci Jubilo" became the inspiration for the 1853 English paraphrase by John Mason Neale, He retitled it "Good Christian Men, Rejoice".

The song was subsequently published in "Carols for Christmas-tide" (London: Novello) in 1853.

Regrettably, this collection lacked Helmore's musical scores. Fortunately, Neale and Helmore published "The Condensed Vocal Parts to the Carols for Christmas-tide" in 1854, which contains all of Rev. Helmore's musical settings, plus all of the lyrics and settings to Carols for Easter-tide!

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Good Christian Men Rejoice

In 1619 Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) made his own arrangement of the song in his book"Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica"

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SEE: Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica  and  Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica

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Bach, Liszt and Pearsall also made their own arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo.

Johann Sebastian Bach set this melody several times: as a chorale in BWV 368; and then for organ in BWV 608 as a double canon in his Orgelbüchlein and in BWV 729 and BWV 751 as a chorale prelude.

Here below is an autograph manuscript of "In Dulci Jubilo", BWV 608, from the Orgelbüchlein, composed during the period 1708–1717, while Bach was court organist at the ducal court in Weimar.

In dulci jubilo 1  and  In dulci jubilo 2


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Franz Liszt included the carol in his piano suite Weihnachtsbaum in the movement entitled Die Hirten an der Krippe (The Shepherds at the Manger). written in 1875 and published in 1882

Weihnachtsbaum, S.186 (Liszt, Franz) - IMSLP

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Whereas John Mason Neale wrote (almost) new lyrics in 1853, some years earlier in 1837 Robert Lucas de Pearsall kept the macaronic structure of the song by retaining the Latin phrases and substituting the English for German.

In Dulci Jubilo - Pearsall

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English composer Gustav Holst had produced his fantasy, "Christmas Day", in 1910 for chorus and orchestra which was based on the interaction of four carol melodies. Holst’s work was essentially constructed on four readily available published carols (‘Good Christian men rejoice’, ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen’, ‘The First Nowell’ and an old Breton melody set to the words ‘Come, ye lofty, come, ye lowly’)

List of compositions by Gustav Holst - Wikipedia

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The first recorded version of this song I could find:

(o) Choir Band and Organ (1906)  (as "Good Christian Men Rejoice")
Released on Sterling cylinder #706

Sterling 78 RPM - Label Discography - UK - 78 RPM World

Sterling Cylinders | UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive

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(c) St Paul's Cathedral Choir (1912)
Released on the Marathon-label (#187)

78rpm Community - Wikis Profile - Marathon 101 - 199


(c) The Temple Carol Singers (1915)

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The Temple Carol Singers 78 RPM - Discography - UK - 78 RPM World

(c) Temple Quartet (1925)
Recorded in London in 1925

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(c) The Cloister Choir (1928)
Recorded October 16, 1928 in the UK
Released on The Victory #22

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The Cloister Choir is probably the same as St Stephen's Choir ?

Victory 7

78 RPM - The Cloister Choir - While Shepherd's Watched / Good Christian Men Rejoice - The Victory - UK - 22

(c) BBC Chorus conducted by Joseph Lewis (1934)
Released on the Columbia-label.

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(c) Victor Chapel Choir (1941)  (as We Three Kings Of Orient Are / Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Released on Victor 27645 as part of "Carols For Christmas" album set.

Victor Chapel Choir - Carols for Christmas Eve (Shellac, Album) at Discogs

VICTOR 78rpm numerical listing discography: 27500 - 28000

(c) Louvin Brothers 1960

The Louvin Brothers - Christmas With The Louvin Brothers (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs

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(c) The Reapers (1986)

In 1986 former member of the English prog rock band Gentle Giant, Kerry Minnear recorded a Christmas-album with the band The Reapers. "Good Christian Men Rejoice" was one of the songs, with that Gentle Giant feel.

Christmas Joy - The Gentle Giant Home Page

The Reapers - Christmas Joy (Cassette, Album) at Discogs

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(c) Michael Hedges 1990

Windham Hill Artists - A Winter's Solstice III (CD, Album) at Discogs

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(c) John Fahey 1991

The Fahey Files - John Fahey - The John Fahey Christmas Album

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In 1974 and 1975 Mike Oldfield recorded 2 versions of the song.
The 1st version from 1974 credit it to J.S. Bach, arr. Oldfield.
The second version from 1975 credit it to R. L. Pearsall, arr. Oldfield.
As we saw above Bach and Pearsall both wrote arrangements of it, but as we saw too the song dates further back than either composer.

Mike Oldfield had recorded the first version of this song in late 1974 (in memory of his mother (Maureen) after she died in late 1974) as the B-side to his single, "Don Alfonso", which did not chart, playing all instruments himself.

45cat - Mike Oldfield - Don Alfonso / In Dulci Jubilo (For Maureen) - Virgin - UK - VS 117

Mike Oldfield - Don Alfonso (Vinyl) at Discogs

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In 1975 Mike felt a better version could be done, and re-recorded it in October 1975 at the Manor, but incorporating some of the previous version's backing tracks recorded November 1974 at the Beacon, his home studio.

In Dulci Jubilo / On Horseback - Wikipedia

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(c) Smalltown Poets (2011)

Smalltown Poets - Smalltown Poets Christmas (CD, Album) at Discogs

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(c) Mediæval Bæbes (2003)

Mistletoe and Wine (album) - Wikipedia

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Furder reading: In dulci jubilo - Wikipedia

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