QUELLE EST CETTE ODEUR AGREABLE

by Patty Gartshore

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What is That Lovely Fragrance? The setting of this French carol is accessible and lyrical. It starts with a canon divided between men and women’s voices, and then blooms into rich harmony. The second verse employs four part harmony for the women’s voices over the melody sung by the men.

LYRICS

Quelle est cette odeur agréable,
bergers, qui ravit tous nos sens?
S’exhale t’il rien de semblable
au milieu des fleurs du printemps?
Quelle est cette odeur agréable
bergers, qui ravit tous nos sens?
Mais quelle éclatante lumière
Dans la nuit vient frapper nos yeux
L’astre de jour, dans sa carrière,
Futil jamais si radieux!
Mais quelle éclatante lumière
Dans la nuit vient frapper nos yeux
A Bethléem, dans une crêche
Il vient de vous naitre-un Sauveur
allons, que rien ne vous empâche
D’adorer votre redémpteur
A Bethléem, dans une crêche,
Il vient de vous naître-un Sauveur.
translation
What is this lovely fragrance wafting
Like to the scents of flowers in spring?
Shepherd, O tell us, whence such beauty
Hear you not heavenly caroling?
What is this lovely fragrance wafting
Like to the scents of flowers in spring?

What is the light so far, so tender
breaking upon our wondering eyes?
Never the Morning Star so radiant
followed his course over eastern skies
What is the light so far, so tender
breaking upon our wondering eyes?

Bethlehem, there in manger lying,
Find your Redeemer, haste away,
Run with eager footsteps hastening
Worship the Saviour born today
Bethlehem there in manger lying,
Find your Redeemer, haste away.

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