The lyrics to the old carol, "O Holy Night," were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. Cappeau was a wine seller by trade, but was asked by his parish priest to write a poem for Christmas. He obliged and penned "O Holy Night." Cappeau's friend, Adolphe Charles Adams, composed the music.
In 1961, Leontyne Price joined forces with Herbert von Karajan—and the silky Vienna
Philharmonic—and recorded the fabled Christmas Songs for RCA Living Stereo. The album includes her incomparable "O Holy Night." I was raised on this Price recording, and it makes me weep every time I hear it. This lyric is especially moving to me:
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
There isn't a convenient postable YouTube link (or its equivalent) to this gorgeous recording, but you can easily download it here. I can't imagine the holidays—or this special night—without Leontyne's transcendent gift.
:leontyne price, o holy night; christmas songs