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Adeste Fideles

Adeste Fideles (O come, all ye faithful). This hymn and tune probably date from the first half of the 18th cent. The late G. E. P. Arkwright detected that the first part of the tune closely resembled a tune which appeared in a Paris vaudeville of 1744 (where it was described as ‘Air Anglais’) and suggested that it was probably an adaptation of some popular tune combined, in the hymn, with reminiscences of the air ‘Pensa ad amare’ from Handel's Ottone (1723). This view is supported by more recent researches, notably those of Dom John Stéphan, of Buckfast Abbey, Devon, who in 1947 discussed a newly discovered MS of the tune in the handwriting of John Francis Wade, a Lat. teacher and music copyist of Douai (d 1786). Stéphan believed this to be the ‘first and original version’, dating from 1740–3, and attrib. both words and mus. to Wade.

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