12 Days of Christmas Carols- Good Christian Men Rejoice

In dulci jubiloSpeaking of John Mason Neale, my favorite carol to sing is his “Good Christian Men Rejoice.”  As we said, Neale was predominately a translator, though he had no problem employing an aggresive sort of “dynamic equivalent” approach that often fell into paraphrase.  Such is the case with this song.  The original was a mash-up of German and Latin titled “In Dulci Jubilo,” written by the German mystic Heinrich Seuse in 1328.  You can read about his story here, but my favorite part is that he received a heavenly vision instructing him to compose a song about the baby Jesus.  He constructed a masterpiece.  The tune is also very old, dating back at least to 1400, which makes it one of the most ancient of all hymns still in currency today, Christmas carols or otherwise.  Of course, most of us change it up considerably, but it’s still an impressive tradition. Continue reading