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From Norman: I like the addition of the middle section.

From Norman: I like the addition of the middle section.
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In researching this carol, I found many performances of it in Polish on YouTube. I also found a 1908 printed source and a 1838 printed source online. The 1908 source prints the two most common melodic endings one right after the other. Most YouTube versions use the "first" ending and repeat it [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOmrW-at3_s ]. The rest use the "second" ending and repeat it [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMlCDA-7iKo ]. Rather than pick just one of the endings and repeat it as is tradition, I wanted a version that used both endings found in the 1908 church songbook. As a result, I used the "first" ending as the middle section of this arrangement and then finished it with the "second" ending. The 1920 English adaptation contains a melodic transcription error that has been perpetuated in most English versions ever since. In this arrangement that error is retained in measure 20 followed by the original melody in measure 22.

Because this originates from a folk melody, the meter is supposed to feel a bit irregular in spots, mostly in the middle section. I tried to incorporate some of the beat stress and harmonic elements from a Polish performance on YouTube I liked [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoovenCFNTc ], and that also stayed closer to the 1908 melody and rhythms. There were other versions that felt more folksy, but that weren’t in 3/4 time [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep1diNcYBAE ].

There is also some variation on whether the first two eighth notes are the part of the downbeat or a pickup beat. In the end, I put them as part of the downbeat and kept the meter in 3/4 time to keep the notation simple, rather than shifting meters to emphasize where I felt the strong beats on the melody. This also helps it feel more generally like a mazurka, where beat 2 (or 3) is stressed, rather than a waltz, where beat 1 is stressed.

I don’t speak Polish. I ran the Polish lyrics from the 1908 songbook through Google Translate and discovered some lovely themes and imagery. I felt that the existing English adaptations of “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” and “Stars were Gleaming” did not contain much if any of these original themes and imagery.

Unfortunately, few if any of the English results from Google Translate (or variations on them) would fit the metric structure of the melody. This resulted in me adapting elements of the Polish lyrics into English to fit the melody. For example, I wanted to include “Glory in the highest” from the original, but couldn’t find a sensible place for it (or even a variation of it) to fit, so I replaced it with “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

This adaptation includes themes from verses 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the 8 verses found in the 1908 songbook. I didn’t find any Polish performances that went beyond verse 3. Rather than repeat the lyrics from the first ending in the second ending, I chose to try and include more of the themes from the Polish lyrics.

The following are not directly part of the Polish lyrics, but helped with the rhyming.
The Savior: see Luke 2:11.
Giv’n to us is God the Son: see John 3:16.
Good tidings: see Luke 2:10; Isaiah 52:7.
Of our God’s redemptive love: see John 3:16-17.
Not to fault us, but to rescue: see John 3:17.
Let us love like Christ: see John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:11.
Peace on earth, goodwill to men: see Luke 2:14.

Source from 1908 (scan 107) / Źródło z 1908 r. (skan 107): https://www.wbc.poznan.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=154352

Source from 1838 / Źródło z 1838 r.: https://pl.wikisource.org/wiki/%C5%9Apiewnik_ko%C5%9Bcielny/W_%C5%BC%C5%82obie_le%C5%BCy

In A Manger by Jason Hunsaker

Polish version / wersja polska:

W żłobie leży – Tradycyjna kolęda Polska by Jason Hunsaker

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