Saturday, December 25, 2010

Origins of Christmas Carols

Many Christmas carols are popular around the world. Ones such as "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" are classics. Many, however, are not aware of their origins.

"Angels we have heard on high" is a traditional French carol.

"O Holy Night" is also of French origin.

"Silent Night" was originally written in German and is of Austrian origin.

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing" was written by Charles Wesley, the younger brother of John Wesley. The Wesley brothers started the Methodist church.

"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" was written by Edmund Hamilton Sears, an American pastor, in 1849.

The music of "O Little Town of Bethlehem" was written by an American organist, Lewis Redner, in 1868.

"We Three Kings" was written by Reverend John Henry Hopkins, an American, in 1857.

"O Come All Ye Faithful" was written by an English hymnist, John Francis Wade.

"What Child Is This?" is also known as "Greensleeves." It was written by William Chatterton Dix, an Englishman, and is based on a traditional English melody.

The music of "Joy to the World" was written by Lowell Mason, an English composer of church music. It is believed that the melody was partly based on the work of George Frideric Handel, especially the oratorio "Messiah."

Many famous Christmas carols are of European origin but a number of them are also American. They are now sung in several different languages. For example, "Silent Night," originally sung in German, has been translated into numerous languages. Merry Christmas!

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