The Magi were a priestly caste of ancient Persian Zoroastrianism and were revered by classic authors as wise men. According to the Bible, the Magi were men who came, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, to adore the newborn Jesus. They were guided by the Star of Bethlehem. Their number was not identified in the Gospel of Matthew, but Christian tradition has set their number as three, called them kings, and named them Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
Many arrangements of this tune go for a middle-eastern quality in the music and instruments used. I opted for a more modern, dance-like approach that demands tight rhythmic playing by both performers.
1. Three Kings:
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 night,
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 for ever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh.
Prayer and praising, all men raising,
Worship Him, 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.
5. Three Kings:
Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and sacrifice,
Earth to the heavens replies.
from Let It Snow
released November 19, 2012
Words & music by John Henry Hopkins, Jr.
all rights reserved