WE THREE KINGS
We Three Kings
The organists of the Orchestra at Temple Square perform "We Three Kings."
ABOUT 'WE THREE KINGS'
Music and text: John Henry Hopkins, Jr.
Arrangement: Richard Elliott
The Christmas carol “We Three Kings” was written in 1857 by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., an Episcopalian rector, for a Christmas pageant in New York. Hopkins intended the song to be sung by a trio of male voices, each representing one of the Magi, and each given their own solo verse about their particular gift. For this Christmas concert, Richard Elliott arranged “We Three Kings” for a different trio, bringing in the other two full-time Tabernacle organists, Clay Christiansen and Andrew Unsworth, to join him as the three “kings” of this “King of Instruments.”
With some nifty six-handed playing and creative choreography, this song gets the Elliott Christmas treatment, reinterpreted variously as a squared-up version of Brubeck-styled jazz improvisation, a favorite Grieg portrait of a mythological “Mountain King,” and a cavalcade of Wagnerian warrior-goddesses. A beloved tradition at the Choir’s Christmas concerts, this organ showcase is both a guaranteed audience hit and a music history quiz at the same time.