Beloved Christmas carols: O come, o come Emmanuel




“O come, o come Emmanuel” is among the oldest of hymns still known, both in terms of the words and the tune. Like many old Gregorian chants, it lay forgotten for centuries before its rediscovery. Thomas Helmore published the tune in 1856 in Part II of The Hymnal Noted. He said it was found in a French missal in the Portuguese National Library in Lisbon, but no one since has found it there. The French National Library in Paris has a fifteenth-century processional of Franciscan nuns with the identical tune, an added second voice, and words from the funeral antiphon … Continue reading