O Holy Night

In some circles, Adolphe Adam is known as a 19th-century music critic, pedagogue, and composer of French ballet. For most of us, though, his Christmas carol Cantique de Noël overshadows the rest of his work by an order of magnitude. It has been adapted into every style from opera to country, and in 1906, it became the first music ever broadcast over radio. Its combination of reverence and drama make it viscerally effective, and it’s one of my favorites. I wrote a pretty straightforward arrangement for trombone and piano that I like to play when the occasion arises during the season.