(Traditional Basque/Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould)
This traditional carol from the Basque region of Spain is thought to have its origins in the Latin “Angelus Ad Virginem” which was popular from the 13th/14th Century in Britain and was later known as “Birjina Gaztettobat Zegoen” in Spain. It tells the story of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary and quotes the accounts that appear in the Book of Luke in the Bible, which tell of this event and Mary’s Magnificat.
It was published in Charles Bordes’ Archives de la Tradition Basque in 1895 and in the late 19th Century the novelist and hymn-writer Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould translated and paraphrased it into English and reduced it from 6 stanzas to 4.
Also known as “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came” and “Gabriel’s Message”, it has appeared on several recordings including St. Louis Chamber Chorus: A Spanish Christmas and A Very Special Christmas where it was performed by Sting with the word “Christian” changed to “everyone”.
St. Louis Chamber Chorus recordings
SLCC 04 (CD: St Louis Chamber Orchestra: A Spanish Christmas)
Arranger: Edgar Pettman
Conductor – Philip Barnes
Soprano – Mary Tetlow
Tenor – Mike Brown
Here it is by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.