Happy 2014! I am excited to be writing my first post in the new year. I’ve been trying to come up with an organizational plan for my weekly posts. I work much better if I have a plan, or perhaps theme, to guide my actions. So for my first Thursday post each month I am going to focus on music! No better place to start than with my absolute favorite Christmas song of all time- O Holy Night. This song has been at the top of all my lists for years. It is musically sound and even the worst versions can still prove somewhat enjoyable. But when it’s good, O yeah!
The song originates in France. It was written by Adolphe Adam in 1847 for the poem Minuit, Chretiens (Midnight, Christians). The first performance was in a small french church to celebrate the repair of the organ. The first singer was a well-known opera singer of the day. The topic of the poem, and thus the song, is the birth of the savior and our redemption as man. Check out the opening verse and chorus:
- O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
- It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
- Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
- ‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
- A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
- For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
- Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
- O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
- O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
The song has always had great success over the last 150+ years. It has been recorded by world renown singers, bands, choirs, and orchestras. It is part of many small church repertoire for the holidays. Notably it is part of history as well. In 1906 it was the first live performance on the new AM radio program. That first broadcast version featured voice and violin. It is truly timeless. A recording made in 1916 is still being sold today!
One of the things I resolve to do with Christmas music this year is to find new versions of songs I love. For O Holy Night I discovered a great version through a post on a friend’s Facebook page with a recording of Auld Lang Syne. It featured three singers from the Broadway show Spider-man singing acapella. I went a little further with some Youtube searching and discovered the had a recording of O Holy Night. Not just their version, a great version. Give it a listen-
This is my new go to favorite for this tune. (Bonus is that one of the three guys is a JMU alum- Go Dukes!) As I sit here watching the snow fall on a cold winter night it definitely fills me with the spirit of Christmas!