Sunday, December 19, 2010

Joy to the World: Sacred Christmas Music Through the Ages

By Albert J. and Shirley C. Menendez

From the book jacket:

“These are the stories behind some of the most wonderful and best-loved songs of the season that express the true significance of Christmas. While many other Christmas songs celebrate home and family, romance, and winter weather, the songs and carols described here express the supreme reality of the Christmas season between Advent and Epiphany – the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world.”

Away in a Manger; It Came upon the Midnight Clear; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; The First Noel; O Come, All Ye Faithful … these are just a few of the many songs described in this fun and interesting little book. Divided into countries of origin, the history of each song is told in a way that makes it a pleasure to read.

Accompanied by the lyrics and art work that exemplifies each entry, the book takes you on a magical journey through the ages. Many of the songs are ones you will recognize and there are sure to be a few that are new to you – as they were to me.

One of my favorite entries for a new song to me is “Shout the Glad Tidings.” According to the book, this hymn is one that was loved by President Andrew Jackson. However, it’s unusual in that it doesn’t mention the Nativity. It tells the story of the Song of Miriam in Exodus 15:21.

Another interesting entry is the story behind the song “Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine,” which is a German cradlesong that originally appeared in a mystery play.

This is a great book and I’m sure you’ll find the history of a few songs on your list of favorites.

1 comment:

Suko said...

Lovely post, LuAnn! It would be interesting to learn a bit about the history behind classic Christmas songs.