31 Days of Song, Day #16

I'm thankful to be on Christmas break!  Yesterday I took my last final.  I don't have my official grades back yet, but I know everything went really well.  Praise God!

I love the song "O Holy Night".  The problem is, it's so hard to find a version of it that I like!  This version that I'm posting isn't my ideal, but I do like it, especially all the harmony.  Enjoy!

The star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. Matthew 2:9

The words of "O Holy Night" were written in 1847 by a French wine merchant named Placide Clappeau, the mayor of Roquemaure, a town in the south of France.  We know little about him except that he wrote poems as a hobby.
   We know more about the man who composed the music, a Parisian named Adolphe Charles Adam.  The son of a concert pianist, Adams was trained almost from infancy in music and piano.  In his midtwenties, he wrote his first opera and thereafter wrote two operas a year until his death at age fifty-two.  Near the end of his life, he lost his savings in a failed business venture involving the French national opera, but the Paris Conservatory rescued him by appointing him professor of music.
   It was John Dwight, son of Yale's president, Timothy Dwight ("I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord"), who discovered this French carol, "Christian Midnight," and translated it into the English hymn "O Holy Night".
   After graduating from Harvard and Cambridge, John was ordained as minister of the Unitarian church in Northampton, but his pastoring experience wasn't happy.  In 1841, George and Sophia Ripley founded a commune named Brook Farm "to prepare a society of liberal, intelligent, and cultivated persons, whose relations with each other would permit a more simple and wholesome life."  John was hired as director of the Brook Farm School and began writing a regular column on music for the commune's publication.
   Greatly influenced by the liberal views of Ralph Waldo Emerson, he became fascinated by the German culture, especially the symphonic music of Ludwig van Beethoven, and it was largely his influence that introduced Americans to Beethoven's genius.
   When Brook Farm collapsed in 1847, John Dwight moved into a cooperative house in Boston and established a career in music journalism.  He penned articles on music for major publications, and in 1852 he launched his own publication, Dwight's Journal of Music.  He became America's first influential classical music critic.  He was opinionated, sometimes difficult, a great promoter of European classical music, and an early advocate of Transcendentalism.
   How odd that a wine merchant, a penniless Parisian, and a liberal clergyman should give Christianity one of its holiest hymns about the birth of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.

* excerpt taken from Then Sings My Soul Special Edition by Robert Morgan, pages 24-25


tammy said...

We are so very proud of your accomplishments your first semester of college!

Scott said...

Ditto girlfraan!!! I LOVE YOU!

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