O Holy Night
by Adolphe Adam
Adolphe Adam
Native nameMinuit, chrétiens
GenreClassical, Christmas
TextPlacide Cappeau
LanguageFrench, English
Meter11.10.11.10.11.10.11.10.10
Composed1847 (1847)
Recording
Performed by the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band

"O Holy Night" (also known as "Cantique de Noël") is a well-known Christmas carol. Originally based on a French-language poem by poet Placide Cappeau, written in 1843, with the first line "Minuit, chrétiens! c'est l'heure solennelle" (Midnight, Christians, is the solemn hour) that composer Adolphe Adam set to music in 1847. The English version is by John Sullivan Dwight. The carol reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity's redemption.

History

In Roquemaure at the end of 1843, the church organ had recently been renovated. To celebrate the event, the parish priest persuaded poet Placide Cappeau, a native of the town, to write a Christmas poem.[1] Soon afterwards that same year, Adolphe Adam composed the music. The song was premiered in Roquemaure in 1847 by the opera singer Emily Laurey.

Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight's Journal of Music, wrote the English version in 1855.[2] This version became popular in the United States, especially in the North, where the third verse resonated with abolitionists, including Dwight himself.[1]

The wide vocal range of the song makes it one of the more difficult Christmas songs to execute properly, especially for untrained amateurs.[3] In French-language churches, it is commonly used at the beginning of the Midnight Mass.[4]

On record charts

The song has been recorded by numerous well-known popular-music, classical-music, and religious-music singers. It makes a frequent appearance in the annual performances of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge.[5] Several renditions by popular artists have appeared on record charts:

References

  1. ^ a b Collins, Ace (2001). Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. pp. 132–138. ISBN 9780310873877.
  2. ^ Nobbman, Dale V. Christmas Music Companion Fact Book. 2000. p. 36. Google Books
  3. ^ Forget, Dominique (December 24, 2017). "Minuit, chrétiens et l'aigu fatidique". Québec Science. Archived from the original on May 22, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  4. ^ Bronze, Jean-Yves (December 6, 2003). "The Minuit, Chrétiens in Québec". La Scena Musicale. 9 (4). Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  5. ^ "What are the original lyrics to 'O Holy Night' – and who has recorded it?". Classic FM. Archived from the original on May 22, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  6. ^ "Every Christmas Number 1 on the Official Irish Singles Chart". www.officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on May 24, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  7. ^ "Mariah Carey Chart History (Holiday 100)". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on December 7, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  8. ^ "Mariah Carey 'O Holy Night'". RIAA.com. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  9. ^ "Certificazioni - FIMI". Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  11. ^ Whitburn 2008, p. 263.
  12. ^ "Chart History: Celine Dion – Holiday 100". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2020. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  13. ^ ""All I Want For Christmas": Which Song Renditions Top the Tree?". Nielsen.com. Archived from the original on May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  14. ^ "Chart History: Josh Groban – Adult Contemporary". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  15. ^ Whitburn 2008, p. 166.
  16. ^ "Glee Cast Chart History (Holiday Digital Song Sales)". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  17. ^ "Tribute to schoolboy is chart hit". Heraldscotland.com. November 24, 2012. Archived from the original on August 25, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  18. ^ "'O Holy Night' – Ladywell Primary School". Officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  19. ^ "Lauren Daigle – Christian AC History". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  20. ^ "Chart History: Lauren Daigle – Hot Christian Songs". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on November 18, 2021. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  21. ^ "Chart History: Lauren Daigle – Christian Airplay". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
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