LOOK: 3 Kings by Helen Siegl
Ah, such whimsy!
LISTEN: “We Three Cool Kings” | Words and music by John H. Hopkins, 1857 | Arranged by Eugene Gwozdz, 2015 | Sung by Alan H. Green, Mykal Kilgore, Dennis Stowe, Nili Bassman, Josh Davis, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Linda Mugleston, Brian O’Brien, Mary Michael Patterson, Mike Schwitter, and Rashidra Scoti on Broadway’s Carols for a Cure, vol. 17, 2015
We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts, we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.
Born a king on Bethlehem’s plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
worshipping God most high.
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
Glorious now behold him arise,
King and God and Sacrifice:
sounds through the earth and skies.
This jazzified version of the Christmas classic “We Three Kings” is performed by the Broadway cast of At This Performance… Written in the voices of the magi (whose traditional names are Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar), it propounds the symbolic significance of the three gifts they give to the Christ child. I love how the arranger has layered those middle three verses!
Launched in 1999, Carols for a Cure is an annual collection of seasonal songs sung by members of the Broadway and Off-Broadway theater community to raise money for the charity Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. Its latest volume, number 21, was released in 2019.
5 thoughts on “Christmas, Day 12”
Thanks for your post! Lots of great info. (art and writing) on the three kings in Gregory Kenneth Cameron’s “An Advent Book of Days,” published by Paraclete Press. See my watercolor of the three kings at: http://www.BarbaraBjelland.com
I’ve enjoyed all your Advent posts and now the Christmas ones. Here I really enjoy the jazz version of We Three Kings with the artwork by Siegl, which in my mind has a Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are quality to it. I especially think the king at the back of the fish looks like a young adult version of Max.
You’re right–I hadn’t thought of that before, but what an astute connection! I love the imaginative, childlike quality of Siegl’s religious art.
[…] explicitly for this day (and I have in previous years, such as here, here, and here, not to mention yesterday’s festive feature)—perhaps something louder, brighter, more triumphant—but instead I wanted to cap off the Twelve […]
We had to miss in person Mass this year, but a highlight each year is when the kids carry in the three Magi to add to the creche.