December 16th: “O Holy Night” Josh Groban

“O Holy Night”  French: “Minuit Chretiens!” or “Cantique de Noël”) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) written by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). In both the French original and the English version of the carol, as well as many other languages, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and on humanity’s redemption.

In Roquemaure at the end of 1843, the church organ had recently been renovated. To celebrate the event, the parish priest asked wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau, a native of the town, to write a Christmas poem, even though the latter had never showed any interest in religion, and Cappeau obliged. 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, translated the song into English lyrics in 1855.


 

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