John Speller's Web Pages Marche des Rois Mages

John Speller's Web Pages - French Noëls

Marche des rois
A thirteenth-century Provençal carol made famous in various arrangements, notably in George Bizet's incidental music to the play, L'Arlesienne. It makes another appearance in a curious composition for organ by Théodore Dubois, entitled Marche des Rois Mages, where a high-pitched note held throughout most of the piece, symbolizes the shining of the star. On one occasion this was mistaken by the organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll for a cipher; he rushed up and began removing pipes from the organ at the Church of the Madeleine, to the considerable annoyance of M. Dubois. There have been numerous arrangements of both the text and the music of this carol over the centuries, and it is difficult to find a definitive arrangement. This arrangement is what it is.

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James Tissot, "The Journey of the Magi"
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