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St Andrew's Day and Advent
Today is St Andrew's Day, patron saint of Scotland, Russia and other places.
It is also the fourth Sunday before Christmas and thus the beginning of Advent.
Family responsibilities meant that I could not attend my church this morning but, having seen the service sheet as it was being printed, I know that I have missed one of my favourite Advent hymns, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
I always believed, from something my music teacher said that this hymn is 11th century. Other sources say that, while the translation for the Latin was by John Neale in the late 19th century, the Latin text is 8th century; the tune may be 15th century and French, or 8th century Gregorian chant.
I have noticed a newer translation than the one I learnt being sung in recent years. The one I prefer begins
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Release thy captive Israel,
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God's dear son,
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel .
This is the version sung by the Boys Air Choir, who are boys and girls selected from the Cathedral Schools.