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Choral ~ Holiday ~ A Cappella



“Methinks I See an Heavenly Host”

(An original setting of the 18th-century text by Billings, not an arrangement)



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SCORING:  SATB a cappella (some divisi)

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A lively setting of the Billing's text, this original composition was inspired by the sturdy and rousing nature of Sacred Harp music, but is thoroughly modern in style.

The first two verses are strophic, but the third verse presents the melody as a canon. The final verse of the text is a doxology, and the piece ends with a thrilling, wide-spread chord.

Methinks I See an Heavenly Host

Words by William Billings, 1778

Complete text:

Methinks I see an heav'nly host
Of angels on the wing!
Methinks I hear their cheerful notes,
So merrily they sing!

Let all your fears be banished hence,
Glad tidings I proclaim!
For there's a Saviour born today,
And Jesus is his name.

Lay down your crooks and quit your flocks,
To Bethlehem repair;
And let your wand'ring steps be squared
By yonder shining star.

Then suddenly an heav'nly host
Around the shepherds throng,
Exulting in the threefold God,
And thus addressed their song:

“To God the Father, Christ the Son,
And Holy Ghost adored,
The First and Last, the Last and First,
Eternal praise afford!”

Watch video below!