O Holy Night for Piano Quartet
Piano Quartet - Digital Sheet Music

Item Number: 20682578
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Instruments
Series
ArrangeMe
Item Types
Usages
Cello,Piano,Viola,Violin - Level 2 - Digital Download

SKU: A0.548706

Composed by Adam. Arranged by James M. Guthrie, ASCAP. Christmas,Standards. 18 pages. Jmsgu3 #3411563. Published by jmsgu3 (A0.548706).

Cantique de Noël

The French composer Adolphe Adam was already famous as a composer of many successful ballets and operas. Then, in the 1840s, he wrote his most famous work - O Holy Night. The original song title was Minuit Chretiens or Cantique de Noël.  Placide Cappeau provided the original song lyrics. The song was first performed in Roquemaure by the opera singer Emily Laurey at midnight mass in 1847. It became trendy among the French, much like Silent Night was famous elsewhere. In 1850, John S. Dwight, a Unitarian minister and music teacher, translated the song into English.  

Adolphe Adam

Adam studied organ and composition at the Paris Conservatoire in his younger years. He also played the timpani in the Conservatoire orchestra. Adam used his savings and borrowed money to open a new opera house - the fourth opera house in Paris in 1847. Unfortunately, the Revolution of 1848 forced him to close. He taught composition at the Paris Conservatoire from 1849 until he died in 1856.

Placide Cappeau

The poet Cappeau was an advocate of the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire. Voltaire was renowned for criticizing the Catholic church, religious intolerance, and dogma in general. Consequently, Cappeau made the Redeemer figure in his song a kind of reformer of injustices, particularly the problem of original sin. To begin with, people recognized Cappeau's theology as eccentric, probably even doubtful.

Theology

In the earlier form of Minuit, the Christ figure descends to intervene with His Father's plan to punish humanity. Traditional doctrine pronounces that Christ came from love, not to intervene. This version also declares that Christ appeared to delete the original sin of Adam. Cappeau removed this part from his poem years later because he didn't believe it. He preferred to portray Christ as the reformer of disparity and unfairness. Before long, the writer/politician Alphonse de Lamartine called the Minuit the "Marseillaise of religion." Most French churchmen agreed with this idea but did not consider it a tribute.  

 

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