‘Jack Finn’´s Carols

ensilumi2015

first snow, winter 2015

Finnish Christmas carols are often seen as extraordinarily depressing.

That isn’t quite fair. In fact, we have a Finn (Jaakko Suomalainen, Jacobus Finno) to thank for some of the best loved carols worldwide. He was a priest and head of the cathedral school in Turku, and collected the wildly successful Piae Cantiones ecclesiasticae et scholasticae veterum episcoporum (Pious ecclesiastical and school songs of the ancient bishops). It was first published in Griefswald (then ruled by Sweden, as was Finland) in 1582, and an early edition is in the university library of Jyväskylä, where I live.

You can see it, the oldest songbook in the Nordic countries, in context on the university website (excellent images and text in Finnish).

Or find the score and list of songs on the International Music Score Library Project site.

Or listen to a selection from Piae Cantiones performed in Latin by Swedish singers from Uppsala here – many of the tunes may be familiar from modern hymns and carols. But they changed a bit along the way.

Some of the best known music in the collection is still sung today, such as Gaudete and in Dulci Jubilo.  Divinum mysterium became, with words inspired by Prudentius’ poem Corde natus ex parentis, Of the father´s love begotten, one of my favourites.

Good King Wenceslas puts completely new words to Tempus adest floridum, which is actually a spring carol about everything blossoming. For the English words, you can see a free translation here on the splendid Clerk of Oxford blog. Or watch these Finnish sixth formers having a lot of fun performing it in Latin and Finnish – you can get the spring feeling from it.

Today the days start getting longer; the light is returning. May you have a joyful, music-filled Christmas, as we turn back towards the light.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Christmas, history, translation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

advent Alice in Wonderland American And Other Stories Antonia Lloyd-Jones Arabic Barańczak Beowulf Bible books Brazil Brazilian Portuguese British British Library Buddhism Central Europe Children's Books Children's literature Chinese Christmas Christmas Carols Clare Cavanagh Contemporary Czesław Miłosz Dari Edinburgh Festival English Estonian Eugene Ostashevsky Europe European Literature Night Facebook Fantasy Farsi Fiction Finland Finland 100 Finlandia Prize Finnish Flemish Free Word Centre French friends George Szirtes German Greek Hebrew Herbert Lomas Herta Müller history Hobbit Hungarian Idioms Illustration international International Translation Day Italian J. R. R. Tolkien Japanese Jenny Erpenbeck Jewish Johanna Sinisalo Korean Language language learning Languages Latin left-handed Literature Lola Rogers Lord of the Rings Mabinogion Man Booker International Prize Maori Maria Turtschaninoff Mirkka Rekola Moomins New Year Nobel Prize Old English Oxford English Dictionary PEN Translation Prize Persian Philip Boehm Pippi Longstocking Poetry Poetry Translation Centre Polish Portuguese pubilc libraries Roald Dahl Romanian Rosa Liksom Russian Ryszard Kapuściński Salla Simukka Seamus Heaney Shakespeare Short Stories Slovene Sofi Oksanen Spanish Stanisław Barańczak Susan Bernofsky Svetlana Alexievich Swedish Switzerland Tadeusz Różewicz Terhi Ekebom Thomas Teal Tibetan Tove Jansson Translation translator Translators Without Borders Valentine's Day Wales Warsaw Welsh Wisława Szymborska Witold Szabłowski Women in Translation Month words Words without Borders writing

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow found in translation on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: