Come to the Manger

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Peter
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Come to the Manger

Post by Peter » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:43 am

As we were in danger of going off topic on the "Christmas on TV and Radio" thread, I'll start a new one before the moderators wade in.

Hare wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote:
Gwyn wrote:Indeed. A dreadful ditty, I've only ever had to endure it once. Deo Graatias.


I was brought up with Come to the manger, and don't think it's quite as bad as all that! Gatty was not the most wonderful of composers, admittedly, but Sidney Peirce Waddington's arrangement makes it a whole lot better, IMO. In particular, that first drop from the tonic to the supertonic 7th 2nd inversion is a masterstroke, and ought to be in every RC musician's music theory primer as an example of how to bring life to a tune with a little harmonic imagination.


I never knew it was by Gatty - I thought it was "Traditional"

Celebration for Everyone says "Traditional melody"; Laudate says "Melody of unknown origin"; Hymns Old and New says it's by Gatty without mentioning Waddington, though it's the same harmony as in Laudate, which does acknowledge his arrangement, as does CFE.
I only have a melody-only CFE but the second chord in the other two books is a first inversion of the supertonic without the seventh, so I don't know which one SC is looking at. I was taught that the bass line should not leap to a first inversion and in the next bar it moves up to and then down from the leading note, something else I thought was bad musical grammar. Is it really such a good textbook example?

This hymn has never been one of my favourites. I've rarely encountered it in church but I remember my father singing it when I was about 7 and even then I found the refrain rather twee. Surely Jesus is everyone's King, not just the children's?

Peter
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by Peter » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:56 am

Having been "timed out" trying to edit that last post, I'll have to add some further thoughts in a separate one. Moral: don't hit the "submit" button too soon!

Maybe SC was thinking of the second line of the hymn, where the second chord is indeed a supertonic seventh, except that it's in root position and with a major third. I agree it is quite effective.

The final point in my post then reminded me of a sermon I heard on Christmas Day in Switzerland many years ago, which told of a priest who replaced his crib with a sign reading "Jesus isn't a child any more". That much I remember vividly and while my recollection of the rest of the sermon is not so accurate I think he went on to argue that it's the adult Jesus who is still with us and it's only when we keep that fact in mind that we can properly appreciate the Incarnation.

High Peak
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by High Peak » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:33 pm

I think it has very little merit and really don't like it. When I was asked to take over music duties at the Christmas Vigil Mass, one of the first things I did was to cast this into the bin.

IncenseTom
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by IncenseTom » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:39 pm

Yes, can't understand why it takes up valuable space in the liturgy or carol services when there's so much outstanding Christmas repertoire.

alan29
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by alan29 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:59 pm

There is so much mawkish tat at christmas. And so much of it associated with children.
Hooray for the likes of "O come all ye faithful" which avoid sentimental pictorialism.

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VML
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by VML » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:41 pm

I have always viewed it in the light that we are all children of God. And I love that supertonic. There is plenty of tat around, but I don't include this in that list.
Unless you be as .........

justMary
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by justMary » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:09 pm

Hymns Old and New says it's by Gatty without mentioning Waddington, though it's the same harmony as in Laudate, which does acknowledge his arrangement, as does CFE.


Depends which edition you look at: HOAN Catholic 2009 does not mention Gatty, but does acknowledge Waddington as the arranger.

JW
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by JW » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:45 pm

I think it's a bit unfair to describe it as mawkish tat! I don't use it because I think there are better carols, but if I were playing for a children's service that would be another matter. It's too easy to be snooty about music that we don't like!
JW

Southern Comfort
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by Southern Comfort » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:44 am

Responding to various points:

The tune is "traditional", adapted by Gatty. My suspicion is that it is the refrain which is trad. anon, and that Gatty added the verses, which could certainly be described as a bit mawkish. On the other hand, the gratuitous "Lord, have pity and mercy on me" at the end of each verse has always struck me as being rather odd. Perhaps the verses are also trad. and Gatty simply adapted what he found.

S. P. Waddington did the arrangement (i.e. harmonization). Some hymnals have other harmonizations, but Waddington's is pretty standard.

Regarding the disputed supertonic 7th, the opening chords are as follows (reading upwards) in G (the carol used to be printed in A but G is more usual these days): G-B-D-G, E-G-C#-A, F#-A-C natural-D or I - II7c - V7b
In the second half of the refrain they are: B-G-D-G, A-E-C#-A, D-F#-C natural-D or Ib - II - V7 — i.e. no 7th chord when the supertonic is in root position.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that there were two principal church-music Gattys in the Scott-Gatty clan: Charles Tindal Gatty, who is the one we are talking about here, and his nephew Nicholas Comyn Gatty (who edited Arundel Hymns for the Duke of Norfolk). Sometimes folk confuse the two.

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mcb
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by mcb » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:53 am

Southern Comfort wrote:Regarding the disputed supertonic 7th, the opening chords are as follows (reading upwards) in G (the carol used to be printed in A but G is more usual these days): G-B-D-G, E-G-C#-A, F#-A-C natural-D or I - II7c - V7b
In the second half of the refrain they are: B-G-D-G, A-E-C#-A, D-F#-C natural-D or Ib - II - V7 — i.e. no 7th chord when the supertonic is in root position.

Wouldn't II and II7c imply a C natural? These are V7c of V, etc, no?

Southern Comfort
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by Southern Comfort » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:28 pm

mcb wrote:Wouldn't II and II7c imply a C natural? These are V7c of V, etc, no?


Yes, I suppose you're right. It's so long since I did those Associated Board theory exams......

Peter
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by Peter » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:57 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:Regarding the disputed supertonic 7th, the opening chords are as follows (reading upwards) in G (the carol used to be printed in A but G is more usual these days): G-B-D-G, E-G-C#-A, F#-A-C natural-D or I - II7c - V7b
In the second half of the refrain they are: B-G-D-G, A-E-C#-A, D-F#-C natural-D or Ib - II - V7 — i.e. no 7th chord when the supertonic is in root position.

Which hymnbook contains that version, SC? Laudate, HOAN (at least the edition I've got) and "The Parish Hymn Book" of 1966 (ed. John Rush) all give the first three chords as G-B-D-G, C-A-E-A, D-F#-D-D. I agree the version you quote is more effective.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Come to the Manger

Post by Southern Comfort » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:08 pm

Peter wrote:
Southern Comfort wrote:Regarding the disputed supertonic 7th, the opening chords are as follows (reading upwards) in G (the carol used to be printed in A but G is more usual these days): G-B-D-G, E-G-C#-A, F#-A-C natural-D or I - II7c - V7b
In the second half of the refrain they are: B-G-D-G, A-E-C#-A, D-F#-C natural-D or Ib - II - V7 — i.e. no 7th chord when the supertonic is in root position.

Which hymnbook contains that version, SC? Laudate, HOAN (at least the edition I've got) and "The Parish Hymn Book" of 1966 (ed. John Rush) all give the first three chords as G-B-D-G, C-A-E-A, D-F#-D-D. I agree the version you quote is more effective.


Recent hymnbooks have given other versions in order to avoid copyright, even though the original was published by Boosey in 1896..... I'll see if I can dig out a copy to scan.

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