Minuit, Chretiens – Jackie Evancho


This was always sung at Midnight Mass in Sanford, Maine when I was a boy.  The man who sang it had an even more haunting voice.  pl




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29 Responses to Minuit, Chretiens – Jackie Evancho

  1. Maureen Lang says:

    I must have played this a couple hundred times in rehearsals with various soloists over the years, & in all those many times it never loses its poignant, evocative quality.
    Thanks for posting Alagna’s soaring version of “Minuit, Chrétiens,” Pat.
    Joyeux Noël à tous!

  2. robt willmann says:

    The music written about this significant time of year for those of us of the Christian faith is extraordinary, and was created before tape recorders, record players, digital sound mixing, electrical amplification, microphones, and so forth.
    Here is a version with Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.

  3. William says:

    Thanks for posting this….I love the original version as composed in French by Adolph Adam better than the English “O Holy Night…” However, the most musically thrilling setting of this song I know of is the Swedish version, “O Helga Natt,” as sung by the great operatic tenor Jussi Bjorling. There are many transfers of his performance, here’s one:

  4. Leanderthal says:

    pl, INTP,
    Tres belle. Merci.
    My Congregational church in Orleans on the Cape includes this each year as
    well. My good friend and tenor Ian M. does it well. I am a bass, so it’s not in my repertoire.
    I’m glad to know that you have some Mainiac in you. Some of my best years were spent living in Brunswick and working with the Bowdoin College students and faculty. They had weekly Jungian lectures too.
    Leanderthal, INTJ

  5. georgeg says:

    Joyeux Noel…….

  6. Vince Boston says:

    Classics are best in their original language sung by a native speaker.
    Who want’s to hear “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” in Spanish sung by an Italian?

  7. Yours Truly says:

    To Col. Lang & honored guests at SST,
    Joyeux Noël à tous.
    May there come a day when peace truly reigns in the hearts of all who inhabit this rock (or marble as frequent commentator J calls it) we call home…
    And now classic rendition from an aspiring artist.

  8. Nancy K says:

    Thank you for all the links, truly beautiful. I had not heard Josh Krajak’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s song; I still prefer KD Lang’s version.
    Colonel Lang, my husband Simon and I wish you, your family and all the SST readers, a most wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

  9. Charles I says:

    I think k.d. set the standard, gives me chills when I hear it, mighta had a damp eye at the last Winter Olympics in B.C. when she did it then

  10. Mark Logan says:

    Nancy K, I have a recommendation.
    I have a hunch a brand new work, currently running on PBS, “A Christmas Carol -The Concert” may enter the canon. I liked it, my teenage kids liked it, and my six year old niece and her friend liked it. That’s practically a miracle right there.

  11. BabelFish says:

    I also remember this being sung at Midnight Mass, at St. Ignatius. It wasn’t long after that song that my young mind would turn to thoughts of post-mass tourtiere. Dreams of a warm, chatty kitchen table, surrounded by siblings, cousins, ma tante, mon oncle, mom and dad and my Memere, who kept the blizzard of food coming. It was the Maine of my childhood.

  12. A Pols says:

    I grew up in Brunswick. My Dad taught Philosophy at Bowdoin. Perhaps you knew him?
    Merry Christmas

  13. Dubhaltach says:

    A few years ago I spent a few weeks in Montreal – Mass in Saint Joseph’s Oratory with the Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal singing was unforgettable.
    This is them singing Minuit Chretien:
    The choir of King’s College Cambridge sang the English version this year as part of their famous Nine Lessons and Carols service:
    (If you like carols that channel is a good one)
    Peace on Earth to men of goodwill.

  14. Robb says:

    Thanks for posting and running SST. Merry Christmas to all the Committee! Joyeux Noel a tous.

  15. Dubhaltach,
    Also from the King’s service, the Coventry Carol.
    (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFnM8pSsyUU .)
    But they sanitise it, and loose the force of its terrifying lines:
    ‘Herod, the king, in his raging,/Chargid he hath this day/His men of might in his owne sight/All yonge children to slay’.

  16. Hernando in NJ says:

    I would like to suggest a song inspired by the Infancy Narrative of St. Luke. Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. The version by Renee Fleming sends chills up my spine every time I listen to it. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hsBt9yZDslA

  17. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to David Habakkuk:
    Mr Habakkuk,
    It occurs to me that you might like my dad’s site which deals with music in general and choral music in particular.
    The main page is here:
    I agree with you about how the Choir of King’s College have sanitised it in that performance of it. A carol dealing with the mass murder of children should give some idea of the horror of the event.
    A quick search shows me that dad has three postings dealing with the Coventry Carol:
    There’s a performance by The Choir of Christ Church Oxford, a performance by Libera, and a performance by the Flemish vocal en­semble Col­legium Vocale Gent, con­duc­ted by Peter Di­jkstra.
    They’re all pretty good but I have to say that I think the soloist in the Libera performance does manage to convey some of what Croo was trying to put across.

  18. Dubhaltach says:

    Postscript to my reply to Mr. Habbakuk:
    First my apologies for posting so many links. Secondly for those who are wondering what on earth Mr. Habakkuk and I are going on about I’ll post this quote which describes the subject of the Coventry Carol:
    “As we celeb­rate Christmas we tend to for­get that the Nativ­ity story has very dark un­der­tones. We tend to for­get that with­in a very short time of hav­ing given birth that Mary, her hus­band, and her new-born son were for­ced to flee in ter­ror from Herod’s sol­di­ers lest Jesus too fall vic­tim to Herod’s mur­der­ous pog­rom. We tend not to re­memb­er the childr­en of Bet­hlehem who were mur­dered at Herod’s be­hest we tend not to re­memb­er the an­guish and de­spair suf­fered by the parents of those childr­en and we tend not to re­memb­er that today, De­cemb­er 28th is the the feast of The Holy In­no­cents – the name by which the Chris­tian churches refer to the bab­ies and toddl­ers mur­dered on Herod’s ord­ers. This for­getful­ness is re­lative­ly new and it was cer­tain­ly not the case in mediev­al and re­nais­sance En­gland the sour­ce of the carol which is the sub­ject of today’s post­ing. The Co­ven­ty Carol with it’s haunt­ing child-like melody and sim­ple re­frain is part of the script for one of the Nativ­ity plays put on over Christmas­tide as part of the celeb­ra­tions by the Guild of Shearm­en and Tailors in Co­vent­ry. These plays the “Co­vent­ry Plays” are known to date from some­time be­fore 1392. The plays con­tinued to be put on for near­ly two cen­tu­ries after that date and were so fam­ous and pre­stigi­ous that En­glish royal­ty were among the pilgrims who un­der­took the dif­ficult and un­pleasant wint­er jour­ney to watch them being per­for­med. They were seen by Henry VI’s queen Mar­garet in 1456, by Ric­hard III in 1484 and by Henry VII in 1492 – the same year in which Chris­toph­er Col­um­bus dis­covered the Americas. The plays were fin­al­ly sup­pres­sed dur­ing the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in 1579. The Co­vent­ry Carol’s lyrics date from 1534 (I’ve in­cluded the origin­al lyrics and their modern En­glish trans­la­tion below) and are be­lieved to be by Robert Croo (fl 1534) the melody dates from at least the early 1580s and may have been sung dur­ing some of the last per­for­mances of the Co­vent­ry Plays. You can here it sung below by Li­bera the sol­o­ists are Josh Madine, Ralph Skan, and Stefan Lead­beat­er.”

  19. Dubhaltach,
    I agree the ‘Libera’ version is much more what you want for the carol which treats of the ‘Childermass’.
    Your father’s site seems a treasure trove both of music and information. I had not known the circumstances of the creation of the ‘Coventry Carol’. One wonders what those who performed it would have thought, at a time when their old centuries-old ritual was about to be forbidden, and religious war was endemic in Europe.
    We used as teenagers to tour local pubs with it and other favourites in the days leading up to Christmas – four of us on wind instruments, and four singers. It was great fun, although frustrating when people kept on asking for ‘Silent Night.’

  20. All,
    Last year, exchanging comments with Dubhaltach, I recalled the frustration at people repeatedly asking for ‘Silent Night’ when we were playing carols in pubs half a century ago. We liked playing ‘Oh come oh come Emmanuel’, ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen’, ‘In Dulci Jubilo’, and the ‘Coventry Carol’ – ‘Silent Night’ seemed to us Victorian and hackneyed.
    The Shia orphans made out of it something fresh and new.
    And then there were the images Brigadier Ali showed us of Christmas in Pakistan, and above all the pictures from Aleppo.
    After a long time when the lunatics seemed to have got control of the asylum all over the place, it has all seemed heartening.
    As to Joe Scarborough and his like – the kind of rats who now infest the BBC – I am not counting on liars realising they need to be ashamed of themselves, but: never say never.
    Merry Xmas to everyone.

  21. trinlae says:

    Merry Christmas, Colonel!
    Here’s the King’s College Choir of Cambridge Nine Lessons and Carols:

  22. trinlae says:

    St. Patrick & St. Anthony’s Franciscan church in Hartford, CT (oldest RC parish in CT) has populated its parishioner choir with symphony and conservatory musicians over the past decade such that now their midnight mass choir service is a stunning example of integrated aesthetic participation in the liturgy which they sustain throughout the year. They also do a fabulous performance of Silent Night. Here’s an example of their rendition The Morning Star:
    Here’s a Christmas concert from further afield, in Vienna:

  23. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel Lang, SST;
    On this day after Christmas our thoughts and prayers are for the lost of the Red Army Chorus. They are/were always an inspiration.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  24. jld says:

    More modern compositions aren’t bad either, especially by some Finns:

  25. David Habakkuk,
    Well said. I echo your reaction to the orphan chorus in Beirut. It was moving far beyond the tune itself. Coupled with the images from Christmas in Aleppo and Pakistan, it is heartening. For some reason, I’m reminded of this Robert Ardrey quote from “African Genesis.”
    “But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.”

  26. turcopolier says:

    I note that President Bashar Assad and his wife visited a Christian orphanage on Christmas Day. pl

  27. jld,
    That was the contention of Ardrey, that we are descended from “killer apes.” I would add that behavior in nature, both in the animal and plant worlds, is quite often what we consider cruel. Sometimes it’s successfully adaptive. Sometimes it’s maladaptive and leads to ruin.

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