(A contemporary setting of the traditional plainsong Advent hymn, with interesting chords)

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I’ve always loved plainsong, even though I’m every bit as much a rock’n’roller at heart, and this is one of my favourite plainsong hymns. I can’t claim any credit for the important parts of the new chord sequence - it’s very close, though not identical, to one that an old aquaintance of mine, Colin Hodgetts, published in a book “Sing True” back in 1969, though it never received due recognition then. But I think it stands the test of time, and makes a classic hymn accessible in music for today.

Of course, some of the words are not easy for those who are not steeped in the imagery of the prophets, and maybe even for some who are. But it’s still a great part of our Christian heritage. There are many choices of verses that appear in different hymn books, but this setting is for the five that appear in “Mission Praise”

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Words (from the Latin, translated J M Neale)

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’ s height
in ancient times didst give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice, rejoice ...

O come, thou rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’ s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave.

Rejoice, rejoice ...

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night.
and death’ s dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, rejoice ...

O come, thou key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

Rejoice, rejoice ...

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