Advent Calendar Day 21: Behold, I bring you glad tidings – Gibbons

Only five days left until Christmas morning, so I think we are about ready for some glad tidings of great joy!  And, as you may have gathered, few things bring me more musical joy than a verse anthem by Orlando Gibbons.

This is a rather beautiful Advent piece, based on the words of the angels to the shepherds, and it does feel like an angelic choir composed of many voices, all singing to each other and themselves as well as the shepherds – there is something about listening to those duets and trios and quartets that makes me feel certain that this is exactly how angels sing.  (I mean, if they have all those many eyes and many wings – why wouldn’t they have many voices as well?)

I love the quiet joy in this, and the chorus of rising ‘Glory be to God on high’s at the end, when the whole company of angels appears.  It’s such a glorious, perfect piece.

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