O Holy Night (2022)
In the fall of 1847, a French wine merchant, Pierre Cappeau, was asked by his local priest to write a Christmas poem. Not long after, Cappeau showed this poem, “Minuit, chrétiens,” to the famed French composer Adolphe Adam, and within a few days Adam had composed a musical setting for it. Cappeau took the new song back to his home town of Roquemaure, where it was first performed at a midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, 1847. The standard English translation, by the American Unitarian minister and music critic John Sullivan Dwight, dates from 1855. “O Holy Night” is one of the most dramatically beautiful Christmas carols ever penned but is unfortunately performed only rarely because of the melody’s extended range. This resplendent arrangement by Mack Wilberg, originally written especially for The Tabernacle Choir and The King’s Singers, was published in 2009.