O come, O come, Emmanuel
is an Advent carol, a fervent plea to the Saviour to come and redeem mankind in accordance with the Old Testament prophecies, with, at the close of each verse, a brief refrain rejoicing in the message those prophecies convey. The words, written in Cologne in 1710 and translated by T A Lacey (1853–1931), are based on ancient Advent antiphons. The melody is from a fifteenth-century French Franciscan Processional kept in the National Library in Paris, adapted by Thomas Helmore (1811–1890) and freely arranged by James O’Donnell. The spirit is one of quiet assurance and timeless devotion.
from notes by Wadham Sutton © 1993