Opera + Classical Music Features

musicOMH’s 2020 Classical Advent Calendar Day 24: Adam’s ‘O Holy Night’

Christmas Eve is a magical time. Here are two performances to enjoy whilst waiting for Santa to arrive. Hang on, I think I hear someone on the roof…

From the sublime to the…

If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come, see the oxen kneel
In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom
Hoping it might be so.

(Thomas Hardy, ‘The Oxen’) 

The night of December 24th has always had connotations of hopes and dreams, summed up so beautifully in Hardy’s poem.

One of his contemporaries, Placide Cappeau, expresses slightly different hopes in his ‘Minuit, Chrétiens’ (Midnight, Christians), famously set to music by Adolphe Adam in 1847. Popularly known as ‘O Holy Night’ in English, it is apparently the UK’s favourite carol, and there exist several versions in many languages.

We’ve chosen a beautiful performance from 2008 by Jonas Kaufmann, recorded in the magnificent Frauenkirche in Dresden.

Staying with the same artist, and swiftly passing from the sublime to the… well, shall we say delightful?

Some might say ridiculous, and the word ‘horrific’ has been bandied about, but there’s no doubt at all that Kaufmann is what Philip Larkin called a ‘Christmas-addict’ – he just can’t get enough of it, and his new Christmas album is testament to the fact.

Christmas Eve dreams are very much associated with ‘White Christmas,’ so of course we could not resist Kaufmann’s – shall we say? – very individual performance. Enjoy!

buy Jonas Kaufmann MP3s or CDs
Spotify Jonas Kaufmann on Spotify

More on Jonas Kaufmann
Werther review – under the ‘Werther’ tenor soldiers on at Covent Garden
musicOMH’s 2020 Classical Advent Calendar Day 24: Adam’s ‘O Holy Night’
Concert In Memoriam Sir Peter Jonas @ Staatsoper, Munich (online)
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Rieder @ Barbican Hall, London
Damrau / Kaufmann / Deutsch @ Barbican Hall, London