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Once upon a time in the 14th century, a German monk feel asleep and dreamed that angels came to dance with him. As they took his hands and drew him into the dance, the music that played stayed with him after he awoke. He quickly wrote it down and over the centuries it became inspiration for a wide swath of composers. Bach, Buxtehude, Liszt, and Holst have all written themes based on this heavenly dance music that came in a dream.
When I first heard this song I was singing it as part of a regional men’s choir in high school. There is such an ebullient quality top the melody; it feels like it just bounces. As it i’s dance music (of the angelic kind), I thought that drums were appropriate. I also inverted the melody for part of it, which yielded a way to bring new life to this ancient song of the sweetest joy.