Miss Music Nerd’s Musical Advent Calendar!

Advent Day 1

Day 1: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Happy December, Music Nerds! I hope all you U.S.-based music nerds had a lovely Thanksgiving. I know I have a few extra calories to work off, but it was worth it!

I’ve decided to do a musical advent calendar this year. I’m not the only one! I’ve always loved Advent music, so I figure this is a good way to share it. Now, purists will draw a distinction between Advent music and Christmas music, which will be blurred in this particular collection, because the only rule I’ll follow is to share music I love… or music I find interesting or funny or otherwise noteworthy!

My favorite Advent hymn has always been O Come, O Come Emmanuel, a hymn based on an ancient chant tune. I love the way the melody outlines a minor triad at the beginning and the end. I look forward to singing and/or playing it on the first Sunday of Advent every year; when I was a teenager I used to play it on tubular bells at the church I grew up in. (This year I’m visiting relatives, so I’m sitting at the computer in my pajamas instead of in church, tsk tsk!)

Here are three very different musical settings of the tune. Each one is quite fierce in its own way.

Chanticleer’s version — pretty definitive, in my opinion:

Bad Religion’s version, from their just-released Christmas album:

And James McMillan’s percussion concerto inspired by the tune:

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