Celine Dion. Josh Groban. Mariah Carey.
When was ‘O Holy Night’ written and composed, and by whom?
The carol reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity's redemption. In Roquemaure at the end of , 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.
It was then set to music by French composer Adolphe Charles Adam , and was first performed as a carol in by the opera singer Emily Laurey. O night when Christ was born. Before Him lowly bend! American John Sullivan Dwight then translated it into English in , and it became popular with abolitionists, in part because of its third verse. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;. Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices! O night divine! O night, O holy night, O night divine. Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming; With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand: So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here come the wise men from Orient land, The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our friend;. He knows our need, To our weakness no stranger!
Adam was a French composer and music critic who wrote mostly operas and ballets. Placide Cappeau, the author of the French lyrics, was a wine merchant and poet. Although he was never particularly religious, Cappeau was asked in to write a Christmas poem to celebrate the recent renovation of the church organ in his home town. He obliged and, soon after, Adolphe Adam composed the accompanying music.