O Holy Night (Adam arr. Sparke)

Adolphe Adam (1803-56) is perhaps best known for his classical ballet, Giselle, but it is his Cantique de Noël (popularly known in the English-speaking world as ‘O Holy Night’, the opening line of its translated lyrics) that has made him a household name during the Christmas season.

The song was written in Paris in the 1840’s and was initially frowned upon by the church authorities who denounced it for its lack of musical taste and ‘total absence of the spirit of religion.’

It was written for a high solo voice with a simple arpeggiated piano accompaniment; Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure wrote the original French lyrics, which were later translated and adapted by the American clergyman, John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).