s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Christmas carols: Joseph lieber, Joseph mein

Friday, February 13, 2009

Christmas carols: Joseph lieber, Joseph mein

This is a very sweet Christmas carol that focuses, unusually, on the family life of the Holy Family. The first verse is Mary asking Joseph if he'll help rock the cradle of the Christ child. (The title means "Joseph dear, Joseph mine.") Joseph responds affirmatively in the second verse . . . and then a bunch of other people show up and sing about how happy they are for five more verses.

In the Middle Ages, it was actually traditional for a cradle to be rocked by the priest during the service, as this and other cradle songs were sung. (Sometimes the children in the congregation got to rock their own little cradle, hung with bells. It's one way to keep the kids occupied.) The song was also sung at weddings, as a symbol of a happy family life.

There's also another set of lyrics — "Resonet in Laudibus" ("Let the voice of praise resound") — which is traditionally sung with this music, but I like the domestic themes of the German lyrics better. (To make matters even more confusing, the "Resonet in Laudibus" lyrics are also sung to a completely different tune, which made it difficult to find the version I wanted from the YouTube search results.)

Thomanerchor Leipzig:

This choir was founded in 1212, so they're almost 800 years old!

Choral arrangement, 2008:

Unknown arrangement for choir, organ, and horn:

(Also, I think something funky happened with my posts in feed readers last week, so scroll down and read last week's Christmas carol post, if you missed it.)


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