February 11: On This Day in Music

. 1830 ~ Peter Arnold Heise, Danish composer . 1830 ~ Hans Bronsart Von Schellendorf, classical musician, pianist and composer who studied under Franz Liszt . 1889 ~ John Mills, Guitarist, singer, bass with The Mills Brothers. He was father of the four Mills brothers and took youngest son John, Jr.’s place after his death in 1935 […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: Hallelujah Chorus

  Messiah (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Psalms. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: O Holy Night

“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. Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight’s […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: Gesù Bambino

  Gesù Bambino by Pietro Yon has always had a place in my childhood memories since my church choir sang it every Christmas.  Other than that, it didn’t seem to be too well known but this song has been turning up in piano books lately.  There are now several versions in the O’Connor Music Studio […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: Good King Wenceslas

“Good King Wenceslas” is a popular Christmas carol that tells a story of Good King Wenceslas braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: O Little Town Of Bethlehem

  “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is a popular Christmas carol. The text was written by Phillips Brooks (1835–1893), an Episcopal priest, Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. He was inspired by visiting the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem for his church and his […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Charles Wesley (1707-1788),  the younger brother of John Wesley wrote the words to this Christmas Carol. Charles was a hymn writer and a poet, also known as one of the people who began the Methodist movement in the Church of England. Hark the Herald Angels Sing appeared in 1739 in a book called Hymns and Sacred […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: Carol of the Bells

  Carol of the Bells was composed by Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych (1877-1921) in 1916. Originally titled Shchedryk, this Ukrainian folk song is sometimes called Ukrainian Bell Carol. “Shchedryk” which was associated with the coming New Year, originally celebrated in April. Leontovych used this tune in 1904 along with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky to create the […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: Angels We Have Heard On High

  Angels We Have Heard On High Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o’er the plains And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains CHORUS: Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be Which inspire your heavenly song? […]

2019 Christmas Countdown: I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day

    “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is a Christmas carol based on the 1863 poem “Christmas Bells” by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The song tells of the narrator’s despair, upon hearing Christmas bells, that “hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men”. The carol concludes […]