Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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 […]

Christmas Countdown 2020: 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, […]

Daily Listening Assignments ~ August 21, 2020

This is another piece I just like to listen to, partly because of the bagpipes.  I do have sheet music, but it’s not quite the same! This melody was composed by German musicians Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb[1] in 1982 for a Highland games held in Germany. It has been proposed as the Scottish national […]