Christmas Songs day 5: Adeste Fideles

Adeste Fideles is one of the ever-decreasing number of hymns that are still played on the radio during this time of year. Originally in Latin, it’s usually recorded in English these days under the translated name “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful”.

Here’s Andrea Bocelli singing the latin:

And Bing Crosby doing both Latin and English:

I’m no expert in Latin, but the lyrics seem to be more or less the same as the English translation:

Adeste fideles laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Natum videte Regem angelorum.
Venite adoremus (ter)
Dominum.

Google translation:

All ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Adore.
Let us (three times)
Lord.

And the common English lyrics:

Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant
Oh come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold him
Born the king of angels
Oh come let us adore him (three times)
Christ the Lord

You can see how we needed extra words to fill out the spaces, but the gist is the same.

It seems a lot of modern covers of hymns try to make it about the lead singer rather than about the content of the song or the arrangement. For example, Mariah Carey’s beautiful rendition nevertheless puts the focus clearly on her vocal talents rather than the newborn Jesus:

I’m not sure what to make of that trend other than to observe its existence. It’s not as though, say, opera singers in the past haven’t been praised for their vocal talents, but at the same time, when every song on the radio takes a simple melody and dresses it up with runs meant to prove that the singer can, in fact, hit those amazing notes, it seems like the whole thing’s just an exercise in ego flexing.

Or maybe it’s just Mariah. Martina McBride manages to sound amazing as well as emotionally impacting:

Of course, Elvis has a version, though frankly I don’t think the studio did him any favors on this one:

Sick of sappy adoration yet? Have some Twisted Sister:

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This entry was posted in Christmas Music Special, Deconstructions, Music and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Christmas Songs day 5: Adeste Fideles

  1. Firedrake says:

    This is another one that really works well with a choir. (And with a choir you have to leave out the twiddly bits, so there’s no showing off.) MTC here, but ignore the video, and for my taste the instrumentation gets a bit overblown at the end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2SsFAWmX9Y

    In this case it’s quite clear that the Latin came first, by at least a hundred years – and “Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb” just seems forced compared with “gestant puellae viscera”.

  2. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, December 14th 2012 « The Slacktiverse

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