Angels We Have Heard on High is a macaronic Christmas carol with English lyrics by James Chadwick.
The hymn tune Gloria, used for the carol, is a traditional French tune.
The lyrics of the carol are a paraphrase of the traditional French carol known as Les Anges dans nos campagnes (literally “the angels in our countryside”), first published in 1843.
The paraphrase was created by James Chadwick, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, northeast England. Chadwick’s lyrics are original in some sections (including the title) but otherwise paraphrased from the French elsewhere. This arrangement contains a literal translation from the French for study purposes in the Special Notes section.
The carol quickly became popular in the West Country and was featured in Pickard-Cambridge’s Collection of Dorset Carols.
All of the “King James” features you’ve come to love in his jazzy Christmas arrangements are here: walking bass, written-out solo (with chords for advanced players to create their own solos), and ultra-cool alternate harmonies that make this piece stand out!
Key: F major
Mood: triumphant, florid.
Pedagogy: walking bass, extended jazz harmonies, soloing over chord progressions, stride piano bass.