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Classic FM Drive with John Brunning 5pm - 7pm
15 December 2017, 15:03 | Updated: 18 December 2017, 11:31
It’s angelic, it’s joyful, it’s triumphant. It is without doubt the best descant of all time.
The Christmas carol ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ was written by Charles Wesley (who composed over 600 hymns), while the melody was written by Felix Mendelssohn. We have also decided its descant, written by the late Sir David Willcocks, is one of the greatest descants ever written.
Here’s why: firstly, it really doesn’t mess around. As soon as we reach the final ‘Hail the heav’n born Prince of peace’ verse, we’re knocked over the head with the angelic sound of the sopranos hitting some seriously sparkling top Gs.
Then, the choir descend on ‘Mild, he lays his glory by’ – but the timpani comes in with a threatening drumroll, so we know it’s not time to go home yet (in a musical sense, y’know).
Then there’s the final line, screamed out in festive exultation: ‘Glo-o-o-ry to-o-o the new born KIIINNG!’.
Are you covered in goosebumps yet?
Here’s the full performance, beautifully sung by the Winchester Quiristers: