Song Analysis

Emmanuel

Tuesday 16 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

"Emmanuel" from Tori’s seasonal record Midwinter Graces is based on the traditional 19th century carol "O Come O Come Emmanuel," which is the English translation of the 12th century latin text "Veni, Veni Emmanuel." It is the oldest traditional carol to be covered by Tori on this album.

The original text is a collation of several advent antiphons, a particular genre which dates back to the 8th century at least but "Emmanuel" is thought to have been written during the 12th century. It is based on the biblical prophecy from Isaiah 7 :14 that states that God will give Israel a sign that the angel Emmanuel will be called to save them. The fulfillment of this prophecy will come with the birth of Jesus according to Matthew 1 :23.

Tori kept a lot of the original lyrics and actually based her version on two different English translations: the first by John Mason Neale—the most famous and common— and the second by Thomas Alexander Lacey. Like for other traditional carols, she edited out a lot of verses which talked about Satan, hell, massacre and such and wrote a bridge refering to the winter solstice. ”Soon after the Catholic Church was formed, that came out of the dark ages so I was working with that, trying to go back to the ancient text and imagining sometimes what might have been there as well...” Tori explained in the video interview of Midwinter Graces bonus DVD.

Information sources

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/O_come,_O_come,_Emmanuel