In 1843 in Roquemaure, a small town in the southern part of France, the parrish priest asked the poet and wine merchant Placide Cappeau to write a Christmas poem to celebrate the renovation of the church organ. That Cappeau was anticlerical, not to mention an atheist apparently didn't matter to the merchant or the priest. The result, Minuit, chrétiens (Midnight, Christians), was lovely and proper for the occasion. Not long after the composer Adolphe Adam set the poem to music, but it wasn't premiered until 1847 in Roquemaure. The song became, and remains, quite popular, both in the original French and several translations. Over the years O Holy Night has been sung and recorded by performers of all musical styles and genres from operatic (Luciano Pavorotti) to gospel (Mahalia Jackson) to pop (Hanson), just to name a very few.
In all versions of the text the song reflects on the birth of Jesus and the possibility of humanity's redemption. This arrangement is based on Adam's original version.
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