s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Christmas carols: Es kommt ein Schiff geladen

Friday, June 05, 2009

Christmas carols: Es kommt ein Schiff geladen

This is a very old song, dating from a 14th century German folk carol. Here is the first verse and my literal translation:

Es kommt ein Schiff geladen
bis an den höchsten Bord,
trägt Gottes Sohn voll Gnaden,
des Vaters ewig Wort.

A laden ship is coming
with a high load,
carrying God's Son full of grace,
of the Father's eternal Word.

Or, if you want a translation that fits the rhyme and meter:

A ship there comes a-laden,
And rich indeed her board:
The Son of God the Father,
And his eternal Word.

The New Oxford Book of Carols calls it a "ship carol," along with the more well-known "I saw three ships come sailing in." (Have I done that one yet? I don't think so . . .)

Part of the way through this song, the meter changes from 6/4 to 4/4. However, an editorial note indicates that the measure is still supposed to have the same duration, so each quarter note in the 4/4 section lasts as long as a dotted quarter note in the 6/4 section. It's a little hard to play at first (and, indeed, some versions ignore this change and give the quarter note the same value throughout), but you get used to it if you hear it enough times. The first video linked is a simple piano version, but I think it's the best one to listen to if you want to get acquainted with the melody.

Unknown, 2008:

Chor St. Clara Neukoelln, 2008:

A rich, beautiful arrangement for organ and choir.

ConBrio (choir), 2008(?):

Another arrangement for organ and choir.

Bonus: Alpcologne (with Victoria Riccio), 2008:

This is a version for alpenhorn and voice. I don't think that the singer's voice is that great (or maybe she's at the edge of her range), but you don't get to hear a lot of songs orchestrated for alpenhorn, so I'm including it.


At June 06, 2009 1:31 AM, Blogger Th. said...



At December 02, 2012 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very helpful, thanks!


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