Adolphe Adam - O Holy Night Piano Sheet Music


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Artist Information:

Adolphe Charles Adam (July 24, 1803 – May 3, 1856) was a French composer and music critic. A prolific composer of operas and ballets, he is best known today for his ballets Giselle (1844) and Le Corsaire (1856, his last work), his operas Le postillon de Lonjumeau (1836), Le toréador (1849) and Si j’étais roi (1852, often regarded as his finest work), and his Christmas carol Minuit, chrétiens! (O Holy Night) (1847). Adam was also a noted teacher. Léo Delibes was among his pupils.

Adolphe Adam was born in Paris to Louis Adam (1758-1848), who was also a composer, as well a professor at the Paris Conservatoire. His mother was the daughter of a physician. As a child, Adolphe Adam preferred to improvise music on his own rather than study music seriously. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1821, where he studied organ and harmonium under the celebrated opera composer François-Adrien Boïeldieu. Adam also played the triangle in the orchestra of the Conservatoire; however, he did not win the Grand Prix de Rome and his father did not encourage him to pursue a music as a career.

By the age of 20, he was writing songs for Paris vaudeville houses and playing in the orchestra at the Gymnasie Dramatique, where he later became chorus master. Like many other French composers, he made a living largely by playing the organ. In 1825, he helped Boïeldieu prepare parts for La dame blanche and made a piano reduction of the score. He was able to travel through Europe with the money he made, and he met Eugène Scribe, with whom he later collaborates, in Geneva. By 1830, he had completed twenty-eight works for the theatre.

Song Facts:

“O Holy Night” (“Cantique de Noël”) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). Cappeau, a wine merchant and poet, had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem.[1] Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight,[2] editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music, created a singing edition based on Cappeau’s French text in 1855. In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of mankind’s redemption.


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