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This is my reimagining of the ancient plainsong 'O' antiphons, which in the weeks running up to Christmas implore Christ to come and save the world. The four sopranos sing these beautiful lines while the men mostly sing "Ah", which they are very good at and which is very interesting for them. In the climactic third section, Jonny sings 'O come Emmanuel', again a very famous Advent carol, and there are more "Ahs" and fun things like that. The piece is semi-improvised, which means that the singers can make it up if they get lost, or frankly if they don't like what I wrote in the first place.
O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the Most High, and reachest from one end to another mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
O Adonaï, and leader of the House of Israel, who appearedst in the bush to Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him the law in Sinai: Come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people; at whom kings shall shut their mouths, to whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, that openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: Come and bring the prisoner out of the prison house, and him that sitteth in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Dayspring, Brightness of Light everlasting, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten him that sitteth in darkness and the shadow of death.
O King of the nations, and their Desire, the Cornerstone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of old.
O Emmanuel, our king and lawgiver, the Desire of all nations and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel,
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God’s dear Son.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Gabriel Kahane is often compared to Sufjan Stevens and Rufus Wainwright (both of whom he’s collaborated with in the past). It’s a lot to live up to, but to that already high bar I’ll add Ben Folds and Randy Newman, if only for Kahane’s similar sense of musical theatre, playful storytelling and ability to set … Continue reading Album of the Week: Where are the Arms → Bandcamp Album of the Day Dec 19, 2011