O Holy Night
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"O Holy Night" ("Cantique de Noël") is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877).
In Roquemaure at the end of the year 1843, the church organ was recently renovated. To celebrate the event, the parish priest asked Cappeau, native from this town, to write a Christmas poem. Cappeau did it, although being a professed anticlerical and atheist.
Soon after, Adam wrote 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, created a singing edition based on Cappeau's French text in 1855. In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of humanity's redemption.
|Placide Cappeau's Cantique de Noël||Literal English translation|
|John Sullivan Dwight's version||Unattributed version|
The song has also been recorded through the years by many notable singers including Anita Bryant, Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Céline Dion, Håkan Hagegård, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Hanson, Mahalia Jackson, The Lettermen, Anne Murray and Andy Williams.
- On December 24, 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, broadcast the first AM radio program, which started with a phonograph record of Handel's aria "Ombra mai fu" followed by Fessenden playing "O Holy Night" on the violin and singing the final verse. As such, the carol was the second piece of music to be broadcast on radio.
- Tenor Enrico Caruso recorded a version in 1916 which is still in print today.
- Mireille Mathieu sang the song with her father Roger Mathieu on her Chante Noël 1968 album. It was re-released as a CD in 2004 with three additional songs.
- Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) covered the song for Glee's 2010 album Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album and again in the 2012 episode "Swan Song".
- David Foster arranged and produced the song successfully for several different artists including: Michael Crawford, whose rendering in the 1993 TV special The David Foster Christmas Album was also featured on Foster's best-selling corresponding album (No. 48 Billboard Top 200 in 1993) as well as Crawford's own A Christmas Album (No. 98 Billboard Top 200 in 1999); the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's platinum-selling DVD The Ghosts of Christmas Eve (1999); Michelle Williams on Destiny's Child's 2001 album 8 Days of Christmas; Celine Dion's rendering was voted most popular in a 2004 poll and featured on her 5× platinum album These Are Special Times; Josh Groban (No. 1 Billboard Adult Contemporary in 2002); Andrea Bocelli for his 2009 double platinum My Christmas album; and, most recently, Jackie Evancho for her 2010 EP O Holy Night. Italian teenage trio Il Volo have also recorded a version of "O Holy Night."
- Four country music artists have charted on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts with renderings of "O Holy Night": John Berry charted at No. 55 in 1996 and No. 63 in 1998; Martina McBride's rendering charted on five separate occasions, peaking at No. 74 in 1997, No. 67 in 1998, No. 49 in 1999, No. 57 in 2000, and No. 41 in 2001; Josh Gracin's at No. 59 in 2006; and Edens Edge's at No. 59 in 2012.
- In 2012, "O Holy Night" was recorded by Ladywell Primary School from the Scottish town of Motherwell, in honour of classmate Caden Beggan, who died following a losing battle with meningococcal septicaemia. 90% of the funds raised from the sale of the single went to the Meningitis Research Foundation (with the other 10% going to the school). The song peaked at No 39 on the UK Singles Chart.
- In 2009, "O Holy Night" was recorded by Rhema Marvanne from her album Rhema Marvanne, released Friday, October 15, 2010.
- In 2012, "O Holy Night" was recorded by Kaitlyn Maher from a 2012 Disney direct-to-DVD family film - Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, directed by Robert Vince and produced by Anna McRoberts. It is the sequel to The Search for Santa Paws. The Santa Pups save Christmas around the world.
- In 2014, "O Holy Night" was recorded by American vocal group En Vogue for the Lifetime TV movie An En Vogue Christmas. The single was made available for purchase on iTunes.
- Collins, Ace; , Stories of Best-loved Songs of Christmas, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, pp. 132-138.
- Nobbman, Dale V. 'Christmas Music Companion Fact Book.' 2000. p 36. Google Books
- Collins, Ace, , Stories Behind the Best-loved Songs of Christmas, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan,p.137-138
- Early Radio History web-site quoting "Builder of Tomorrows" by Helen Fessenden, 1940, pages 153-154, Accessed 7 December 2010
- "Mireille Mathieu - Mireille Mathieu Chante Noël (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album − Available November 16" (Press release). PR Newswire. October 26, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
- "The Best and Worst Glee Performances (So Far!)". TV Guide. December 26, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- http://www.musicarchivevault.com, (subscription required)
- "Billboard Singles Charts | Record Research MusicVault". Musicarchivevault.com. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "TOP ANNUAL WINTER HOLIDAY TOUR TO KICK OFF NOVEMBER 6". Trans-siberian.com. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- Edison Research 2004 seasonal song test poll results
- searchable RIAA database
- "That Josh Groban Guy". That Josh Groban Guy. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "Italian tenor’s album sales top five million - Thaindian News". Thaindian.com. 2009-12-30. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "O Holy Night! Il Volo Sing Christmas Classics A Cappella". Rolling Stone. 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 49. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Whitburn, p. 263
- Whitburn, p. 166
- IMSLP Original version in several keys, and various arrangements.
- Free sheet music for voice & piano from Cantorion.org
- Sheet music for "O Holy Night" (Cantique de Noël)
- Tabs for "O Holy Night"
- Sheet music for solo piano arrangement of "O Holy Night" (Cantique de Noël)
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