5. O HOLY NIGHT – This is the last Christmas song for 2020, but it was written first.
I remember hearing it in 4th grade. That’s the year I joined junior choir, and the adults sang it Christmas Eve. The organist was incredible. I’ve never forgotten that song, that night.
These are the three men who created O HOLY NIGHT. Their story starts in 1843 with the renovation of an organ in Roquemaure, France. The parish priest wanted to celebrate so he asked Placide Cappea to write a poem. Adolphe Adam put it to music that same year. O HOLY NIGHT made its debut 4 years later, in 1847.
John Sullivan Dwight wrote the English version in 1855. He was a Unitarian minister, an editor for a music journal, and an abolitionist. Thanks to the 3rd verse, O HOLY NIGHT became popular with northern abolitionists, 6 years before the Civil War.
Above are 3 sets of lyrics. The first set is Placide’s version in French. His title translates to Christmas Carol. The middle one is the literal English translation. It doesn’t flow at all! The last is John’s version. The 1st verse is the one I know, but I’m glad they changed the 2nd verse.
Do you recognize Josh Groban? He recorded his version of O HOLY NIGHT in 2002. It reached #1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary list. My search link is for Josh’s version.
Photo from 2009. By Christopher Simon from Pasadena CA, USA - Josh Groban, CC BY 2.0,
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!