December 25, 2010

"O Holy Night"... over and over.

What's your favorite version? When have you had enough?

I was going to pretty much do exactly that post a couple days ago! But I never completely got my act together and now I've been scooped.

Ah, well... I did it with "Blue Christmas" in 2004, in the first Christmas on this blog, and things were much harder then... because we didn't have YouTube.

47 comments:

john said...

...over and over..

I finally turned off the TV as it was just starting the 4th rerunning of "Christmas Story".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Celtic Women .. O Holy Night.

Best Christmas song ever.

Merry Christmas.

G Joubert said...

I prefer the Steven Curtis Chapman version, not listed.

chickelit said...

Whichever versions appeared on the Goodyear and Firestone Tire LPs in the 1960s are my favorites.

BrianE said...

Any version sung by Sandi Patty.

This is particularly amazing as it combines two of the most powerful songs ever written about Christ IMHO-- O Holy Night and the Hallelujah Chorus.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev7qZU8J4v0

Merry Christmas

Fr Martin Fox said...

The original in French is the best. The French lyrics are significantly different and--when sung well--forceful.

Here's a link of a good rendition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otC-hQFVbuE

And if you aren't very good at French, here is a literal translation: http://french.about.com/od/christmas/a/carol-minuitcretiens.htm

Peuple, à genoux attends ta délivrance,
Noël! Noël! Voici le Rédempteur!
Noël! Noël! Voici le Rédempteur!

Paddy O said...

Not 'O', but I do like "That Holy Night" the most. So much I married the singer not long after she released the album.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

traditionalguy said...

The Christmas glee songs are getting old suddenly. Hymns of faith never get old, but silly jingles do. So when does the Bowl season start? It's one more week until Wisconsin plays one of those small non BCS schools that play no competition. Should we expect Wisconsin to score 80+ points? Hmmm.

edutcher said...

The problem is some radio stations go to Christmas music right after Thanksgiving (same with people putting up a tree then), so you're sick of it long before you even start putting up decorations. I don't even listen until the week before.

O Holy Night isn't my fave, but there are some very good renditions - whichever you like.

Bruce Hayden said...

I didn't wade through all of the versions, but of all the ones I listened to, I liked Carrie Underwood's the best.

I have never liked sopranos as well as lower pitched voices, this seems to be getting worse as I get older. The song seems to be usually sung a lot at the upper soprano range.

Underwood's version seems to have been pitched down a bit, and that is why I liked it best so far. For similar reasons, I liked Josh Groban.

Often, I like the Mormon choir, but the version that they were singing was too complex.

I expected more from Aretha Franklin. She has a voice that could have made it great. But this is a song that I think is done best straight, and she seemed to throw a bit of gospel into it, which I think lessened the effect for me.

And, btw, that is also why, though I love a lot of what Elvis did, I just don't like his Christmas music.

Bruce Hayden said...

DBQ - I liked the Celtic women. The blend great. But but when they punch the high notes, the soprano seems to overwhelm, at least in my hearing.

I think that I may be losing a little hearing, esp. in the higher pitches, and that may be why I like lower pitched voices better singing.

I also think that that may be why I seem to have always gravitated towards women with slightly lower pitched voices. Either full alto, or a voice a voice that falls between alto and soprano. Seems to be getting more pronounced though now.

Bruce Hayden said...

Fr Martin Fox

Loved his voice. Would have enjoyed it more in English. Parochial of me, I know. Sorry.

Being a total sexist here, but that is pretty much my favorite range for singing. And, the singer had a fabulous voice there.

Chip Ahoy said...

I like the Donna Summer version.

rhhardin said...

Bach Christmas Oratorio, with text here

The alternated chorus lines rhyme.

The first line is nice, He is come to earth poor...

The chorus lyrics were by Martin Luther.

I can repeat that any number of times.

Meade said...

The version by the original sinner himself.

Bender said...

Nearly all of my preferences in Christmas music were born from the old vinyl LPs I heard growing up.

The Roger Wagner Chorale has a good version of Cantique de Noel, with both chorus and baritone solo.

Joan Baez has a good rendition too, but it's in German. She sings a beautiful Coventry Carol -- a beautiful hymn about the great evil that was Herod's slaughter of the innocents.

Jason said...

Tracy Chapman.

chickelit said...

The Bob Dylan version found in this year's follow-up CD: "Christmas in the Thorax"

Old Dad said...

The Three Tenors--it's not fair or close.

Celtic Woman--very beautiful

Clyde said...

I liked Charlotte Church's version on her 2000 Christmas album.

The Crack Emcee said...

Jesus Christ, you losers, what are you doing?

Come on over to my place and hear some good Christmas music!

DaveW said...

DBQ has it. Celtic Women is my all time favorite version.

DaveW said...

And the Mormons (ahem) have my favorite version of O Come Emmanuel. A truly beautiful rendition.

Clyde said...

Here's the Charlotte Church version live.

DaveW said...

Not a Christmas hymn, but this is a wonderful interpretation of The Battle of Jericho.

Christy said...

Thank you for asking the question, I've just spent a lovely hour or so listening to the carol. From past experience I know I can listen to Bocelli for hours, but to be fair I listened to more. I like the big versions, so Celine Dione was splendid, but
Kate Smith
, my Mom's favorite singer, took the women's version. Neil Diamond was the male runner up who fell to
Enrico Caruso
, someone I'd never heard before other than on scratchy unappealing recordings. His is my new very favorite version. It is big but still brings the nuance.

I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow.

Jason said...

Heidi talbot singing with Cherish the Ladies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I liked the Celtic women. The blend great. But but when they punch the high notes, the soprano seems to overwhelm, at least in my hearing

I too, don't generally appreciate a soprano voice, (I am a alto/contralto). However, in this version I think the 'angelic' tone hits the mark. Plus the cresendo of the orchestra and chorus creates a really powerful ending.

It is too bad that the schools are so politically correct now. Our children and grandchildren will grow up without ever being able to appreciate this type of music.

dick said...

3 favorites, all old timers. Georges Thill for singing it in French, Jussi Bjoerling for just singing it and Caruso for being himself. Love all 3.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The music that I grew up with in church. When it was Latin mass and you didn't have to hug and fondle the person next to you in church, shake hands and sing out loud. Many people just shouldn't sing.

Peaceful, meditative and I wish it was back.

The Musket said...

My favorite singer of "O Holy Night" is a local guy -- he sings in acapella for awhile and then is joined by a pipe organ -- he outsings the organ - powerful and perfectly pitched voice -- every vowel and word amazing (yes, I am a geek choral singer).

I love Charlotte Church's version.

FYI: On Christmas Eve, 2006, my family took a 26 hr car trip - We listened to radio Christmas songs the entire way. The most sung song was "Winter Wonderland." There are some truly awful renditions out there.

Merry Christmas!!

The Musket said...

My favorite singer of "O Holy Night" is a local guy -- he sings in acapella for awhile and then is joined by a pipe organ -- he outsings the organ - powerful and perfectly pitched voice -- every vowel and word amazing (yes, I am a geek choral singer).

I love Charlotte Church's version.

FYI: On Christmas Eve, 2006, my family took a 26 hr car trip - We listened to radio Christmas songs the entire way. The most sung song was "Winter Wonderland." There are some truly awful renditions out there.

Merry Christmas!!

Chris said...

Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and her boyfriend Paul (Will Forte) singing it as a duet at the end of this year's 30 Rock Christmas episode.

deborah said...

Growing up, we listened to Andy Williams' O Holy Night, but maybe you've heard enough versions. Here's a little change of pace:

Let It Snow.

Fred4Pres said...

I like Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel and Good King Wenslas myself.

Chef Mojo said...

Patti Smith's version is wonderful, especially given her life. There's a crackling sincerity to this version that brings a smile to me.

A.W. said...

I posted something on that song over here: http://patterico.com/2010/12/25/%e2%80%9cfor-the-slave-is-our-brother%e2%80%9d/

America's Politico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peter hoh said...

"Once in Royal David's City" puts me in the Christmas spirit.

And the "We Three Kings" CD by the Roches.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

E.M. Davis said...

Whichever versions appeared on the Goodyear and Firestone Tire LPs in the 1960s are my favorites.

Over the years, I have painstakingly attempted to recreate the magic of those albums with my own collection of cds made for friends and family. They are titled "Real Christmas" volumes 1-5. There's 25 songs per, for a total of 125. I even burn them on the CDs that look like vinyl and designed cardboard sleeves with custom art and liner notes for each volume.

My grandfather owned a Texaco station in the 60s and 70s, so I heard those albums often.

I'm partial to the Pavarotti take on "O Holy Night" It used to be my favorite but I find as I grow older I go more in for the cheese (Marshmallow World, Wonderful White World of Winter) than I used to.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a pretty kick-ass tune.

peter hoh said...

If you can't get enough of the Hallelujah Chorus, and you don't mind superfluous apostrophes, here is a video made by some kids in a remote Alaskan village.

chickelit said...

Over the years, I have painstakingly attempted to recreate the magic of those albums with my own collection of cds made for friends and family. They are titled "Real Christmas" volumes 1-5. There's 25 songs per, for a total of 125. I even burn them on the CDs that look like vinyl and designed cardboard sleeves with custom art and liner notes for each volume.

Wow. You should market those (probably major copyright infringement)--I'd buy a set!

Jason said...

O Holy Night isn't on it, but I love Alexis Cole's superb Christmas album, The Greatest Gift. Absolutely exquisite singing, and some of the greatest sax playing I've ever heard.

Bender said...

You should market those (probably major copyright infringement)

Maybe Firestone has its own copyright issues with the original artists, but I've never understood the reasoning why companies like Firestone don't simply put their old, out-of-publication collections on line for mp3 download. Not only music, but there are tons of old theater-release and TV movies that they could easily put on line.

Putting the stuff on line would cost them practically nothing, but they could get a fair amount in return charging a dollar a download. Seems to me like a lot of free money to be made.

Patrick said...

Pavorotti. Not sure I can spell it right, but I love that version

mariner said...

Wow: 45 comments and no one said


Perry Como

Old RPM Daddy said...

One of the local stations starts with the 24/7 Christmas music right after Thanksgiving. I really could live without "Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree," or "Jingle Bell Rock." Forever. I never want to hear them again. And I could rest easy without hearing a not-very-good pop singer butchering a traditional tune. Please, no more "Whoa-whoa-whoa SIIIIIIILENT NIIIIIIIGHT!"

I like the old choral stuff. My favorite CD is called A Renaissance Christmas, put out by Vox Allegretto in 1990. It features the Boston Camerata and the Spandauer Kantorei presenting 15th to 17th century choral works.

And Clyde, that Charlotte Church clip you cited above is absolutely beautiful!