Search This Blog

Thursday, December 21, 2017

#5 - Top 25 Christmas Songs (According To Me!)

Today in the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR, we have a bit of a quandary here.

As you know, I've been counting down my list of 25 favourite Christmas tunes, and for the most part, it's been a real fun ride with lots of earworms and happy songs that put you into the spirit of Christmas.  And as we approach
Day #21 in the countdown, very little has changed.

But today's song choice is a bit of a peculiar one.  A contradiction if you will.

You see, today I'm posting the oldest song within this countdown.  But I'm also simultaneously posting the newest song in this countdown. 

Wait, you ask.  How could this possibly be?  Is it magic?

I suppose in a way, it could be.  You see, the song that I have chosen was composed by French composer Adolphe Adam and was performed for the first time in 1847 - thereby making this song my oldest on the countdown.

But the version that I have selected of this song was released just fifteen years earlier in 2002 by singer Josh Groban.  Therefore, it's my oldest AND newest song.  And it is probably the only song on my list that is traditional Christmas - right down to the meaning of the holiday itself.

Now, I have to admit that I had a really hard time selecting a version of "O Holy Night" to feature in this blog.  As I said, it is probably my favourite of the traditional religious carols that are sung every Christmas.  There's not a version that I don't love of it.  Whether it was sung by Josh Groban, or Martina McBride, or even Celine Dion, the song is beautiful in any and all languages, and it is one of the few songs that I really could have picked any version of.

But since I didn't have any songs on my list post-2000, I thought I would choose Groban's version.  I do like his singing voice, and the video that I picked actually fits with the theme of the song - the song is, after all, about the birth of Jesus.

The story of "O Holy Night" and its creation is an interesting one.  Around Christmas 1843 in the village of Roquemaure, France, the organ that was in the church was recently renovated after being out of service for quite some time.  The parish priest had asked a man by the name of Placide Cappeau to write a poem to commemorate the event.  The poem had to be about Christmas, as the organ was fixed up to coincide with the Christmas services, and even though Cappeau was not considered overly religious, he decided to write the poem anyway.  The poem was eventually set to music composed by Adam, and that became the basis for the carol "O Holy Night".

It would be a few years after the song was first sung that a man by the name of John Sullivan Dwight - a Unitarian minister - tweaked the lyrics slightly to the version that most of us know it as.

So, that's the history of "O Holy Night".  Now for why I like it so much?

Well, I have to admit that like Cappeau, I am not really a religious person at all.  In fact, the more I hear about organized religion, the more I find that it does not fit my lifestyle or my belief systems.  Truth be told, I consider myself to be an agnostic.  But even though religion and Christianity doesn't quite hold much weight in my decision making, it's not to say that I don't believe in it.  I always saw Christmas as being a holiday where you're kind to your fellow man and woman, and where you put the best of yourself out there so that others can be inspired to do the same.

And certainly you don't need to be religious to appreciate the beauty of "O Holy Night".  It is a beautiful composition on its own.  I think it's worth a listen.

Tomorrow at #4, I have another old song to post, only this one is an instrumental, and this one reminds me of sugar plums, rat kings, and Care Bears?!?

No comments:

Post a Comment