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Sussex is a county in England which is nowhere near Bethlehem, but nevertheless this carol is about the night that Jesus was born in a stable with cows and things all around. It dates from at least the Middle Ages and I suspect has never really been sung as joyfully as Albion manage on this recording.
"News of great joy, news of great mirth: news of our merciful King's birth" - that's the refrain, and it's a rather wonderful piece all round. There's an exciting instrument used as well - I won't tell you what it is, but it's not a voice, for once. It's the last track on the record and is meant to send you away skipping and full of excitement that, once again, Christmas is just around the corner...
On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring;
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King's birth.
Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad?
When from our sin he set us free
All for to gain our liberty!
When sin departs before his grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
Angels and men with joy may sing,
All for to see the new-born King.
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night:
‘Glory to God and peace to men
Now and for ever more. Amen!’
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