Saturday, December 4, 2010

Songs for Christmas: Gabriel's Message

I enjoy listening to some of the Medieval and Renaissance Christmas carols. “Gabriel’s Message" is based on a Basque carol and may have roots in the thirteenth or fourteenth century hymn “Angelus Ad Virginem.” This carol dates from around 1582. It was copied down by French composer and musicologist Charles Bordes, who published it in an 1895 volume of Basque folk tunes. The song celebrates the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she is highly favored and has been chosen to be the blessed mother of Christ, Emmanuel ("God with us"). Sting does a fine rendition of it on his CD, If on a Winter’s Night. Here is a live performance of it from the Durham Cathedral:


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