Monday, December 03, 2007

O Holy Night

(This feature of yogurt & granola may or may not be kept up throughout the season...but for now, it's fun.)

Favorite Christmas Carol of the Day: O Holy Night
(also known as the "Cantique de Noel")

I LOVE the song, O Holy Night. I am not religious in the Christian sense and therefore I am not moved by the words as much as I am moved by the music. This song is amazing. We all know it (or don't know that we know it, but it cycles through the Christmas Muzak in malls and elevators all month with all the rest). But have you ever really thought about it? The singing range required to really do this song well is absolutely astounding. ASTOUNDING! It's a very difficult song. I can't do it and would never try in polite company, but I will readily admit that it almost always brings tears to my eyes just on the power of the music alone.

Last year, I was talking with my Mom about Christmas music and told her what I thought about O Holy Night. She saw my O Holy Night and raised me a Silent Night. I don't think that Silent Night does it for me quite the same way, but it's her favorite and therefore a favorite of mine too. So I made my Mom a mix for Christmas last year: "O Holy Silent Night." A mix of the best versions of these two songs. It gets a little redundant, but if you're really into the music and have the time to sit and listen in the car or on the couch late at night with a cup of hot chocolate (always the hot chocolate with me...), it's awesome.

But tonight, I'm focusing on O Holy Night. I was hoping that I would have a favorite version by the time I was this far in writing this post, but I'm still torn. They're all so beautiful. Here are the ones I chose for my Mom's mix last year. Take a new listen to this song next time to you hear it. Maybe it's the hot chocolate getting to me, I don't know. But it's damn beautiful.

(Most of these links are to YouTube videos of the performances. It's TOTALLY fun to watch the silly pop stars rock out to this old tune. In lip-syncing along with Celine, I caused quite a bit of loud laughter from Jackson and Daddy with my, er, dramatic interpretation of the Titanic Goddess...)

O Holy Night, Josh Groban: This man has the voice of a singing god.

O Holy Night, Celine Dion: I'm not a fan normally, but she can belt it out. This may be my favorite.

O Holy Night, Johnny Mathis: This is my old traditional favorite and I remember listening to it on the record player growing up. (This video is AWESOME. It's an oldie!)

O Holy Night, Charlotte Church: Pure and beautiful. If Josh Groban is a singing god, then Charlotte Church is a singing goddess.

O Holy Night, Mariah Carey: Again, totally not my style normally, but her irritating high notes are perfectly placed in this song.

O Holy Night, Luciano Pavarotti: Ohmygod, it's LUCIANO. He was amazing.

O Holy Night, LeAnn Rimes: I don't do country either, but LeAnn has soul and I knew my Mom would dig her. (Couldn't find a link...)

O Holy Night, Tracy Chapman: Wow. I LOVE this mellow, acoustic version of Tracy's. Ranks up there with Celine for me. (Just a link to the album for sale and a small audio clip, couldn't find a video.)
If you've truly never heard this song and find yourself getting bored a few seconds into these videos, hang on. The bulk of the beauty is in the operatic finish. You gotta let it build up...


Criosa said...

I have to agree with you - O Holy Night gives me chills almost every time!

(the only time Silent Night moves me is memories of when I was a kid and we'd sing the first verse as kids as part of the Christmas Eve program/service and then the congregation would join in the rest of it.)

the other one that gets me lately is by TransSiberian Orchestra, I think, but I don't know what it's called

Ginny said...

o holy night is tina's favorite too...she made an o holy night mix many years ago...I love it too but not as much as her.

christina said...

TOTALLY my favorite, the O holy night mix with like 20 versions. you would think you'd get sick of the song by the end but all the versions sound totally different. i can't get enough!!!!

christina said...

also for the record, my favorite version is aaron neville. maybe its the mole on his face, i don't know. his version is very soulful and soothing.

Rob & Maria said...

Lovin the Christmas spirit! Lovin those songs you posted and check out the album "Lifted" a compilation of Christmas - like music.

Bonnie said...

Oh what a fun post! I love clicking the links and listening to the different versions. My sister sang Oh Holy Night (as a solo) for her college choir last year... so good.

Heide said...

Thank you for all of the links! I've really enjoyed listening to the various singers' versions.

Ruth's Place said...

This is my absolute favourite carol. Last year I got to fulfill a childhood dream by performing it in public (as a solo).