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Christmas Music, Part 17 – Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas

“Good King Wenceslas” is a popular Christmas carol that tells a story of Good King Wenceslas braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king’s footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia or Svatý Václav in Czech (907–935).

In 1853, English hymnwriter John Mason Neale wrote the “Wenceslas” lyrics, in collaboration with his music editor Thomas Helmore, and the carol first appeared in Carols for Christmas-Tide, 1853. Neales’ lyrics were set to a tune based on a 13th century spring carol “Tempus adest floridum” (“The time is near for flowering”) first published in the 1582 Finnish song collection Piae Cantiones.

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath’ring winter fuel

“Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know’st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

“Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither.”
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind’s wild lament
And the bitter weather

“Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer.”
“Mark my foteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In his master’s steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing

A traditional choir:

Jane Seymour and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

The Mannheim Steamroller version:

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Christmas Music, Holidays, Posts of Interest

 

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This Year’s Christmas Music

Christmas Music

Here’s a quick listing of all the Christmas music from last year.

Alfred Burt Carols, Parts 13-15 Dec 13-15, 2012
Angels We Have Heard on High Dec 3, 2012
Auld Lang Syne, Dec 31, 2012
Birthday of a King Dec 23, 2012
Cantata: Night of the Father’s Love, Parts 16-19 Dec 16-19, 2012
Carol of the Bells Dec 5, 2012
Ding Dong Merrily Dec 11, 2012
Good King Wenceslas Dec 26, 2012
Hallelujah Chorus Dec 25, 2012
Hark the Herald Angels Sing Dec 7, 2012
Holly Jolly Christmas Dec 27-31
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day Dec 4, 2012
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear Dec 8, 2012
Johnny Marks Music – Dec 27-31
Joy to the World Dec 2, 2012
Just in time for Christmas Dec 6, 2012
Mary Did You Know Dec 9, 2012
O Holy Night Dec 24, 2012
O Little Town of Bethlehem Dec 20, 2012
Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel Dec 10, 2012
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Dec 27-3131
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Dec 27-31
Run Rudolph Run Dec 27-31
Silver and Gold Dec 27-31
Sleigh Ride Dec 1, 2012
Still, Still, Still Dec 12, 2012
The First Noel Dec 21, 2012
We Three Kings Of Orient Are Dec 22, 2012

Possibilities for this year include:

Angels From The Realms Of Glory
Silent Night
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Lo, how a rose
Jesu bambino
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Muppet Christmas
Star of Bethlehem
Believe from the Polar Express
Holly and the ivy
Fum, fum, fum
Nutcracker Suite

Any Suggestions?

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Christmas, Christmas Music, Holidays, Posts of Interest

 

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This Year’s Christmas Music

Christmas Music

Here’s a quick listing of all the Christmas music from this year.  Stay tuned December 1, 2013 for the next 30… (suggestions welcome!)

Alfred Burt Carols, Parts 13-15 Dec 13-15, 2012
Angels We Have Heard on High Dec 3, 2012
Auld Lang Syne, Dec 31, 2012
Birthday of a King Dec 23, 2012
Cantata: Night of the Father’s Love, Parts 16-19 Dec 16-19, 2012
Carol of the Bells Dec 5, 2012
Ding Dong Merrily Dec 11, 2012
Good King Wenceslas Dec 26, 2012
Hallelujah Chorus Dec 25, 2012
Hark the Herald Angels Sing Dec 7, 2012
Holly Jolly Christmas Dec 27-31
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day Dec 4, 2012
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear Dec 8, 2012
Johnny Marks Music – Dec 27-31
Joy to the World Dec 2, 2012
Just in time for Christmas Dec 6, 2012
Mary Did You Know Dec 9, 2012
O Holy Night Dec 24, 2012
O Little Town of Bethlehem Dec 20, 2012
Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel Dec 10, 2012
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Dec 27-3131
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Dec 27-31
Run Rudolph Run Dec 27-31
Silver and Gold Dec 27-31
Sleigh Ride Dec 1, 2012
Still, Still, Still Dec 12, 2012
The First Noel Dec 21, 2012
We Three Kings Of Orient Are Dec 22, 2012

Possibilities for next year include:

Angels From The Realms Of Glory
Silent Night
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Lo, how a rose
Jesu bambino
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Muppet Christmas
Star of Bethlehem
Believe from the Polar Express
Holly and the ivy
Fum, fum, fum
Nutcracker Suite

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Christmas Music, Posts of Interest

 

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Christmas Music, Part 26 – Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas

“Good King Wenceslas” is a popular Christmas carol that tells a story of Good King Wenceslas braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king’s footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia or Svatý Václav in Czech (907–935).

In 1853, English hymnwriter John Mason Neale wrote the “Wenceslas” lyrics, in collaboration with his music editor Thomas Helmore, and the carol first appeared in Carols for Christmas-Tide, 1853. Neales’ lyrics were set to a tune based on a 13th century spring carol “Tempus adest floridum” (“The time is near for flowering”) first published in the 1582 Finnish song collection Piae Cantiones.

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath’ring winter fuel

“Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know’st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes’ fountain.”

“Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither.”
Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind’s wild lament
And the bitter weather

“Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer.”
“Mark my foteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter’s rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.”

In his master’s steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing

The Mannheim Steamroller version:

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Christmas Music, Posts of Interest, Videos

 

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