My Favorite Carols: Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella

>> Monday, December 20, 2010

This charming little French carol isn't one that I've actually ever sung, but is one that became a favorite because it was featured on one of our Robert Shaw Christmas albums. Its delightful, playful tune suggests the "skipping" and playing of a child in union with the text.

Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabelle (French: Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle) is a Christmas carol which originated from the Provence region of France in the 16th century. The song is usually notated in 3/8 time.

The carol was first published in 1553 in France, and was subsequently translated into English in the 18th century. The song was originally not a song to be sung at Christmas, but rather dance music for French nobility.

In the carol, visitors to the stable have to keep their voices down so the newborn can enjoy his dreams. To this day in the Provence region, children dress up as shepherds and milkmaids, carrying torches and candles to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, while singing the carol. The painter Georges de La Tour painted a nativity scene based on the carol.


Debi Butler December 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM  

How is it that I sang this in my church and you didn't? :) Or did you mean sing it as a solo? <3

Debi Butler December 20, 2010 at 12:41 PM  

And I mean we sang this in our Christmas Program one year, not out of the hymnal (not that I think it was even in there!)... Love this one!


Back to TOP