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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 Placide Cappeau (1808–1877), a wine merchant and poet, who had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem.[1] Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight,[2] 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 mankind's redemption.

Contents

Lyrics

Placide Cappeau's Cantique de Noël Literal English Translation
Minuit, chrétiens, c'est l'heure solennelle,
Où l'Homme-Dieu descendit jusqu'à nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d'espérance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.
Peuple à genoux, attends ta délivrance.
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur!
De notre foi que la lumière ardente
Nous guide tous au berceau de l'Enfant,
Comme autrefois une étoile brillante
Y conduisit les chefs de l'Orient.
Le Roi des rois naît dans une humble crèche:
Puissants du jour, fiers de votre grandeur,
A votre orgueil, c'est de là que Dieu prêche.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur.
Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave:
La terre est libre, et le ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n'était qu'un esclave,
L'amour unit ceux qu'enchaînait le fer.
Qui Lui dira notre reconnaissance,
C'est pour nous tous qu'Il naît, qu'Il souffre et meurt.
Peuple debout! Chante ta délivrance,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur!
Midnight, Christians, it's the solemn hour,
When God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior.
People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!
The ardent light of our Faith,
Guides us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Conducted the Magi there from the orient.
The King of kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your grandeur,
It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.
People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!
John Sullivan Dwight's Version Unattributed Version
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 angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O 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 is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us To love one another;
His law is love And His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break For the slave is our brother;
And in His name All oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us Praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.
O! Holy night! The stars, their gleams prolonging,
Watch o'er the Eve of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error, longing
For His appearance, then the Spirit 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, the night when Christ was Born;
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts we stand by the Babe adored.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
And come now, Shepherds, from your flocks unboard.
The Son of God lay thus w'thin lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our Lord.
He knows our need, our weakness never lasting,
Behold your King! By Him, let Earth accord!
Behold your King! By Him, let Earth accord!
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Long live His truth, and may it last forever,
For in His name all discordant noise shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

(The second and third choruses are often replaced with a refrain of the first).

Notable renditions

On 24 December 1906, Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, broadcast the first AM radio program, which included him playing "O Holy Night" on the violin and singing the final verse.[3] The carol therefore was one of the first pieces of music to be broadcast on radio.[4]

Three different country music artists have charted on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts with renditions of "O Holy Night:" Martina McBride, John Berry and Josh Gracin. McBride's rendition charted on five separate occasions, peaking at #74 in 1997, #67 in 1998, #49 in 1999, #57 in 2000 and #41 in 2001.[5] Berry's charted at #55 in 1996 and #63 in 1998,[6] and Gracin's at #59 in 2006.[7]

References

  1. ^ Collins, Ace; [2001], Stories of Best-loved Songs of Christmas, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, pp. 132-138.
  2. ^ Nobbman, Dale V. 'Christmas Music Companion Fact Book.' 2000. p 36. Google Books
  3. ^ O Holy Night Songfacts
  4. ^ Collins, Ace, [2001], Stories Behind the Best-loved Songs of Christmas, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan,p.137-138
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 263. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, p. 49
  7. ^ Whitburn, p. 166

External links








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