Christmas Songs – Angels We Have Heard on High

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  • Artist(s) Name: Christmas Songs
  • Song Name: Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Album: Canterbury Organ and Chimes of Christmas: Classic Christmas Favorites
  • Written-By: James Chadwick
  • Released Year: 1862
  • Genre & Category: Pop/Christian/Holiday/Christmas
  • Source: Mixloaded.com

“Angels We Have Heard On High,” previously known as “Les anges dans nos campagnes,” is a traditional French carol that tells the story of Christ’s birth when the angels told the good news to nearby shepherds.

Long ago in the hills of southern France, shepherds had a Christmas Eve custom of calling to one another, singing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” each from their own hillside. The traditional tune the shepherds used may have been from a late medieval Latin chorale, becoming the chorus of this carol. “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” also reflects the chorus of the angel choir on that long-ago Christmas night.

The carol seems to have originated from the 18th century with no known lyricist or composer, and has remained anonymous ever since. It was known in England by 1816, which by that time James Montgomery wrote his carol “Angels From the Realms of Glory,” basing it on the tune of “Les anges dans nos campagnes,” of which was used until Henry Tomas Smart wrote a new tune for it in 1967.

The carol was first published in France in 1855, with the English translation following seven years later in Henry Frederick’s Crown of Jesus Music. The version we use today was first printed in a 1916 carol collection titled Carols Old and Carols New.

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Christmas Songs – Angels We Have Heard on High Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

[Chorus]
Gloria In Excelsis Deo
Gloria In Excelsis Deo

[Verse 2]
Shepherds why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

[Chorus]
Gloria In Excelsis Deo
Gloria In Excelsis Deo

[Verse 3]
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King

[Chorus]
Gloria In Excelsis Deo
Gloria In Excelsis Deo

[Verse 4]
See within in a manger laid
Jesus Lord of heav’n and earth
Mary, Joseph lend your aid
With us sing our Savior’s birth.

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