|O Holy Night|
|by Adolphe Adam|
|Native name||Minuit, chrétiens|
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.
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. 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. This version became popular in the United States, especially in the North, where the third verse resonated with abolitionists, including Dwight himself.
The wide vocal range of the song makes it one of the more difficult Christmas songs to execute properly, especially for untrained amateurs. In French-language churches, it is commonly used at the beginning of the Midnight Mass.
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. Several renditions by popular artists have appeared on record charts: