Ronald Corp

Conductor & Composer


Go, tell it on the Mountain

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Programme Notes

‘Go, tell it on the Mountain’ is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865.  The text is traditional, the tune similarly so, though Work may have contributed to the latter.

It is considered a Christmas carol because its original refrain celebrates the nativity of Jesus: ‘Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.’

The verses of the original refer overtly to the nativity:

While shepherds kept their watching
O’er silent flocks by night,
Behold, throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.

The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus
That hailed our Savior’s birth.

Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.

Ronald Corp, along with many arrangers, retains the refrain and sets a text of variant verses.

When I was a seeker,
I sought both night and day.
I asked the Lord to help me,
And He showed me the way.

He made me a watchman
upon the city wall,
and if I serve Him truly,
I am the least of all.

Jesus Christ is born.

This carol is easy and tuneful to sing, and very much aimed at amateur choirs.

This is the version in four parts for SATB.  To see the two-part SA version, click here.