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O come, O come, Emmanuel


R. Mather

SATB and Organ

Melody from a 15th Century processional of French Franciscan nuns. Combined from various antiphons Possibly 12th Century (Veni, veni Emanuel) Translated by J. M Neal


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, Thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell Thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
our spirits by Thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death's dark shadows put to flight.

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.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to Thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Root of Jesse's tree,
an ensign of Thy people be;
before Thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on Thy mercy call.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
and be Thyself our King of Peace.


O come O come Emmanuel - arr Mather

O come O come Emmanuel - arr Mather

Created 15-Sep-08 Revised 20-Apr-09

O come, O come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel is a translation of the Christian Latin text ("Veni, veni, Emmanuel") by John Mason Neale in the mid-19th century. It is a metrical version of a collation of various Advent Antiphons (the acrostic O Antiphons), which now serves as a popular Advent and Christmas hymn. Its origins are unclear, it is thought that the antiphons are from at least the 8th Century, but "Veni, veni Emmanuel" may well be 12th Century in origin. The text is based on the biblical prophesy from Isaiah 7:14 that states that God will give Israel a sign that will be called Immanuel (Lit.: God with us). Matthew 1:23 states fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Veni, veni Emmanuel
Musical setting

It is believed that the traditional music stems from a 15th Century French processional for Franciscan nuns, but it may also have 8th Century Gregorian origins. It is one of the most solemn Advent hymns. In the Catholic church, two subsequent verses are sung each week of Advent, beginning with the First Sunday of Advent as verses 1 & 2. The Second Sunday of Advent, verses 3 & 4 are sung. On the Third Sunday of Advent, verses 5 & 6. On the Fourth Sunday of Advent however, verses 1 & 7 are then sung.

Performance variations exist today over the rhythm of the music. Many performances pause on the last syllable of "Emmanuel", in both the verse and the chorus, however often performances omit these pauses to give a greater sense of understanding to the chorus "Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel". If a pause is included, the meaning is lost as an audible comma is heard between "Emmanuel" and "shall come to thee...".

The composer James MacMillan wrote a percussion concerto based on this carol in 1991, and it was later premiered during the 1992 BBC Proms.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metasyntactic variable".

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