On day 6 of Advent we turn to a more traditional and perhaps lesser known carol. Visitor to the book festival Andrew has chosen to write about a carol from his childhood, ‘Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar’.
‘Back in the dark and distant seventies a new science teacher arrived at the school that I was attending. As teachers went he seemed OK; he had a reasonably good relationship with us, his students, though he was perhaps a little ‘free’ with his power to send those less well behaved amongst us to discuss our misdemeanours with the terrifying ‘Sandy’, founder and head teacher of the school. But in the Christmas Concert that year in the local church Mr Scott’s ‘superhero power’ became apparent: boy oh boy could he sing! His solo performance of ‘Three Kings from Persian lands afar’ was the first time I had heard this carol and it had a big impact on me – in part because I was entranced by the beauty of the carol itself, but it was also the shock of discovering that our really rather normal science teacher could produce such a beautiful sound! To this day it is one of my favourite carols.
Doing a bit of digging on the interweb I’ve discovered that it is actually a German carol (why are all German carols so good?!). One Peter Cornelius penned it in 1856 as part of his ‘Weihnachtslieder, Opus 8’. ‘Drie Kon’ge wandern aus Morgenland …’ (which I would have said means ‘Three kings hiking from the East’ – but that’ll be why my career as a translator has not taken off!)
Hoping you’re enjoying Advent at least as much as I am!’
Festive and bookish best, until tomorrow!