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Angels We Have Heard on High

(Traditional French/James Chadwick/Edward Shippen Barnes)

(Further Translation: Earl Bowman Marlatt)

This traditional 18th century French carol, possibly from the Lorraine province, is known in its native country as “Les Anges dans Nos Campagnes” (The Angels in Our Countryside) and appeared in print in France in 1855 in Noveau Recueil de Cantiques.  There have also been suggestions that it was published in Quebec as early as 1842 in Choix des Cantiques sur des airs Nouveaux.

In 1862 James Chadwick translated it into English and published it in his Holy Family Hymns of 1860 and later in Henri Frederick Hemy’s Crown of Jesus and the American hymnwriter and scholar, Earl Bowman Marlatt, later translated it again in 1937.

The music that is most used to accompany it today was arranged from its original melody and called “Gloria” by Edward Shippen Barnes.  This tune is also the one used for “Angels from the Realms of Glory” in England.  In the world of popular music the singer Christina Aguilera has covered it.

Arch Brass Quintet recordings
AB 9401 (CD: We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

Arturo Delmoni recordings
John Marks Records JMR 12 (CD: Rejoice!)
Violin – Arturo Delmoni
Violin – Alexander Romanul
Viola – Katherine Murdock
Cello – Nathaniel Rosen

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus recordings
Telarc 80087 (CD: The Many Moods of Christmas)
Conductor – Robert Shaw
Lute – George Petsch

Craig Duncan and David Schnaufer recordings
Brentwood CD-5089J (CD: A Smoky Mountain Christmas)
Hammered Dulcimer and Fiddle – Craig Duncan
Mountain Dulcimer – David Schnaufer

Nicolas Esterhazy Sinfonia recordings
Naxos 8 550670 (CD: Christmas Goes Baroque 2)

Percy Faith and His Orchestra recordings
Columbia /Legacy CK 65401 (CD: Music of Christmas Vol. 2)

Holiday Brass recordings
Music Masters 01782 (CD: Holiday Brass featuring Susan Slaughter)
Trumpet – Susan Slaughter
Concert Choir – St. Louis Children’s Choirs

New Philharmonia Orchestra recordings
London 421-095 (CD: Joy of Christmas)
Conductor – Richard Bonynge
Soprano – Joan Sutherland
Ambrosian Singers

Oklahoma Woodwind Quintet recordings
Integra IMCD 801 (CD: A Christmas Delight)

Philadelphia Brass Ensemble recordings
CBS MK 7033 (CD: A Festival of Carols in Brass)

Philadelphia Orchestra & Chorus recordings
RCA 6430 (CD: Joy to the World)
Conductor – Eugene Ormandy

Robert Shaw Chamber Singers recordings
Telarc 80377 (CD: Songs of Angels)
Conductor – Robert Shaw
Baritone – Victor Ledbetter
Bass – Wayne Baugham
Mezzo-Soprano – Katherine Murray
Soprano – Donna Carter
Tenor – Ronald Burrichter
Tenor – Christopher Cock
Tenor – Tim Stalter
Tenor – Frank Timmerman

Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra recordings
RCA 6429 (CD: A Festival of Carols)
Conductor – Robert Shaw
Organ – Robert Arnold

Ayako Shinozaki recordings
Sony Classical SFK 62677 (CD: Silent Night/Beautiful Melodies of Christmas)
Harp – Ayako Shinozaki
Choir – Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Gregg Smith Singers recordings
Sony 66300 (CD: Voices of Christmas)
Texas Boys Choir
Organ – E. Power Biggs
Arranger – Robert De Cormier

St. Louis Cathedral Choir recordings
MusicMasters MM20047

Roger Wagner Chorale recordings
Capitol CDP 7 94688-2 (CD: Joy to the World)

Joemy Wilson recordings
Dargason Music DMCD 103 (CD: Gifts: Traditional Christmas Carols)
Hammer Dulcimer – Joemy Wilson
Violin – Miamon Miller

Tim Zimmerman & The King’s Brass recordings
Track Records CD625 (CD: Tim Zimmerman & the King’s Brass)
Conductor and strings arranger– Ardis Faber
Organ – Dan Miller
Percussion – James Kirby
Piano – Alex Thio
Strings – Aire Born Strings
Trombone – Brian Kay
Trombone – Doug Warner
Trombone – Tony Warner
Trumpet – Don Duncan
Trumpet – Larry Jones
Trumpet – Tim Zimmerman
Tuba – David Kneller

Sources:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_We_Have_Heard_on_High
  2. http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/angels_we_have_heard_on_high_1.htm
  3. http://www.fortunecity.com/skyscraper/andreessen/1920/angelswehaveheard/
  4. http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/n/angelswe.htm
  5. http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/devotions/angels_we_have_heard_on_high.aspx
  6. http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&keywords=Christina+Aguilera+Angels+We+Have+Heard+On+High&search-type=ss&index=music&page=1
  7. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=43:110532~T3