Adolphe Charles Adam (24 July 1803 – 3 May 1856) was a French composer and music critic. A prolific composer of operas and ballets, he is best known for his Christmas carol Minuit, chrétiens! (1844), later set to different English lyrics and widely sung as "O Holy Night" (1847).
He was born in Paris, to Jean-Louis Adam (1758–1848), who was a prominent Alsatian composer, as well a professor at the Paris Conservatoire. When Adam was 17 he was permitted to study at the Paris Conservatoire.
By age 20, he was writing songs for Paris vaudeville houses and playing in the orchestra at the Gymnasie Dramatique, where he later became chorus master. Like many other French composers, he made a living largely by playing the organ.
His Christmas carol "Cantique de Noël", translated to English as "O Holy Night", is an international favorite, and has been widely recorded. "Cantique de Noel" is based on a poem written by M. Cappeau de Roquemaure. Adam subsequently crafted a melody for the tune that was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1813 - 1893).
This fine transcription was done William J. Westbrook (1831-1894), organist, conductor, teacher and composer. He was born in London and for nearly forty years was organist at St. Bartholomew's, Sydenham. He the degrees of Bachelor and Doctor of Music from Cambridge, and for many years was examiner in music in connection with the College of Preceptors and the London College Music. He made numerous arrangements for the organ, wrote text-books for the instrument, composed many organ-pieces, services, anthems, and oratorios.
This is a piece that I used to pretend to hate, as I felt it was "beneath my Anglican dignity." I've grown to MORE than accept it, and am always moved by a fine performance of it.
The score is attached, as well as photos of Adam.
Tomorrow: "Christmas" - Arthur Foote
"The Maker of the sun and moon" - Geistliche Nachtingall, Vienna 1649
Blessings of the season and peace to ALL!