The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Redemption the Wonder of Angels

For Christmas

"A Carol, or Redemption the Wonder of Angels. 1749"
Alternate Title: "Behold the Splendor! Hear the Shout."

Words: "A Gentleman Unknown" who sent the lyrics to William Knapp requesting that they be set to music.

Music: William Knapp (1698-1768)

Source: William Knapp, ed., New Church Melody. 4th Edition. (London: R. Baldwin, S. Crowder, 1761) , pp. 162-164.

Behold the splendor! Hear the shout.
Heaven opens! Angels issue out.
and throng the nether sky.
What solemn tidings do they bring,
At the approach of Israelís King,
They speak the Monarch nigh.

Why does the King approach our land?
Comes he with thunder in his hand,
The merit of our crimes?
Shepherds be glad; he comes with peace,
Nor wrath, but universal grace,
To bless evín distant climes.

See heavínís great heir a womanís son!
Behold, a manger is his throne!
Nay, see him born to die
Yours is the guilt, but his the pain;
His are the sorrows, yours the gain,
Then let his praise be high.

Come mighty King, the grace enhance,
A stable was thy palace once,
Dwell in these hearts of ours.
Teach us to praise the Fatherís love,
Till blest, transported, firíd above,
We sing with nobler powers.

Sheet Music From William Knapp, ed., New Church Melody. 4th Edition. (London: R. Baldwin, S. Crowder, 1761) , pp. 162-164.

Behold The Splendor-Knapp-1764-p162.jpg (111995 bytes) Behold The Splendor-Knapp-1764-p163.jpg (102115 bytes) Behold The Splendor-Knapp-1764-p164.jpg (73677 bytes)

Notes.

Special thanks to Chris Brown who wrote to alert me to this carol, and to William Knappís 1764 book New Church Melody, which has been reprinted by Ecco. Chris wrote: "This sets to music two very strange texts described as carols. The best known is O Sight of Anguish (1750), which is known in the United States as Occomís Carol .... The other, even less well known, is Redemption the Wonder of Angels (1749)" Chris also added that "Most of the carols, and their music, are set out in Ian Russellís The Sheffield Book of Village Carols and The Derbyshire Book of Village Carols." For more information about Ian's collections, visit Village Carols <accessed Nov. 10, 2016; we have no affiliation with Ian or his web site>.

Knapp's New Church Melody is also available from the Internet Archive (4th Edition), https://archive.org/details/newmelody00knap, and from IMSLP. (4th and 5th Editions). Information about William Knapp and links to sheet music to his hymns, anthems and carols are available at the Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL), http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/William_Knapp. This and his other two collections were very successful, and each was reprinted many times. See: Anthems for Christmas Day (London: Robert Brown, et al., 1744).

Sheet music (PDF format), a MIDI file, and a Sibelius 7 file are available for this carol at the Choral Public Domain Library, http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Behold_that_splendour:_hear_the_shout (William Knapp). Also see http://www0.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Behold_that_splendour:_hear_the_shout.

These lyrics were one of three texts sent to Knapp from "A Gentleman Unknown" who requested that they be set to music. The "unknown Gentleman" enclosed a letter with the third carol that he sent to Mr. Knapp. The text reads:

Sir

I take the liberty, tho' unknown, of troubling you with another Carol which I beg you will do me the Honour of Setting to Music. if this performance, as I fear it will, should prove less animated than the occasion require; your candor must ascribe it, in some measure, to an illness under which I have long labour'd, and which has greatly depres'd my Spirits; and likewise to the frequency of my attempts upon the same subject, this before you being the fifth Composition of the kind. you will see here too many Symptoms of a Sickly Muse. And yet I expect that Music which works wonders, and is known to be Sovereign in some diseases, will at least give her a more sprightly Air, if not totally relieve her. It will not be the first instance, in which Poetry has been supported, enlivend and recommended by the help of her Sister-Art. my own obligations of this sort to you I take this opportunity of very Sincerely and thankfully acknowledging. Some time or other I may possibly make so free, as to send you a few Songs in behalf of which I shall intreat the same assistance from the Art, in which you are so acknowledged a Master; Amusements of that kind, when decently entertaining, being, in my apprehension, no way dishonourable to the Cloth I wear. Please to return the new Carol as soon as possible and you will lay a double obligation on your Obedient Humble

Servant &c.

The third text that this gentleman sent to Knapp was The Eternal Speaks, All Heaven Attends.

Chris also noted that "Between November and the new year I am a carol singer in Sheffield, North Derbyshire and West Yorkshire, where there are active local carol singing traditions."

It's always great to hear from visitors to this site, and especially from people who are able to participate in traditional carol singing activities.

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