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Madan, Martin (5th October 1725-2nd May 1790)

He was an author, hymn-writer and preacher born in Bond Street, London, England. whose father was a Colonel and Member of Parliament, his mother was a poet, his brother was a bishop and his cousin was the hymn-writer and poet William Cowper. He studied at Chelsea, then Westminster School, and that was followed by his entry into Christ Church, Oxford.

He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1748 but after he heard a sermon given by John Wesley he changed his lifestyle and took holy orders.  He took the position of chaplain at the Lock Hospital in London and sometimes held the post of itinerant preacher when he would speak in the Calvanistic Methodist style that he had become closely connected to.

A controversial figure in some circles he was looked down upon for supporting Thomas Haweis in a legal situation that happened in Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire, England and his publication Thelyoptera, or a Treatise on Female Ruin caused a storm when he advocated polygamy as a “remedy for the evils he deplored”.  After this scandal he resigned his post as chaplain and moved to Epsom in retirement.

He would continue to write though, and in 1789 he published his A New and Literal Translation of Juvenal and Persius.  As a hymn-writer and regular adapter of works by others, he wrote/re-wrote “Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending”, “He Dies, The Heavenly Lover Dies” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” for the second time after George Whitefield. He also published his Collection of Hymns and Psalms in 1760, which appeared in thirteen editions over a period of 34 years.

Not staying within the boundaries of religious music, his later life would see him composing several sonatas that were published on two occasions in the 1780s.  These were Six Sonatas for a German Flute and Violin and A Sonata for the Harpsichord or Pianoforte.

He died in Epsom in 1790 aged 74.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing recordings

BBC Welsh Chorus
Arranger – Sir David Willcocks
Conductor – John Hugh Thomas
Organist – Huw Tregelles Williams
Fanfare Trumpeters of the Welsh Guards
Musical Director – Lt. Col. P. Hannam, BEM

Black Dyke Mills Band
Chandos 4541 (CD: A Christmas Fantasy)

Boston Pops
Philips 416 287 – 2 (CD:  We Wish You a Merry Christmas)
Conductor – John Williams

DG 419 414-2 (CD: White Christmas)
Conductor – Arthur Fiedler

RCA 09026-61685-2 (CD: Pops Christmas Party)
Conductor – Arthur Fiedler

Sony SK 48232 (CD: Joy to the World)
Conductor – John Williams
Tanglewood Festival Chorus

Choir of St. John’s, Cambridge
London 421 022 (CD: Christmas Weekend -16 Favourite Carols)
Conductor – George Guest
Organ – Stephen Cleobury

Robert DeCormier Singers and Ensemble
Arabesque 6526 (A Victorian Christmas)
Conductor – Robert DeCormier

Kiri te Kanawa
TELDEC 99000 (CD: Christmas with Kiri te Kanawa) 
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Choir of Lichfield Cathedral
The Choir of Coventry Cathedral
Conductor – R. Stapleton
Soprano – Kiri te Kanawa
Baritone – Michael George
Trumpet – Jouko Harjanne

Kings College Choir Cambridge
London 444 848 (CD: Noel – Christmas at Kings)
Conductor – Sir David Willcocks

Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Naxos 8.990005 (CD: Joy to the World)
Conductor – Richard Hayman

Rochester Pops Orchestra
Koch CHD 1531 (CD: Joy to the World – Carols for Orchestra and Chorus)

St Louis Philharmonic Orchestra
Sonari records – 7 55724 00272 3 (CD: Christmas with the Philharmonic)
Conductor – Robert Hart Baker

Robert Shaw Chorale 
RCA 6429 – 2 – RG (CD: A Festival of Carols)
(Arrangers – Robert Shaw/Alice Parker)

Dale Warland Singers and Ensemble
Gothic 49208 (CD: Christmas with the Dale Warland Singers)
Arranger– Carol Barnett