Caruso sings Cantique de Noël; A Gift from 1916

Enrico Caruso, around 1910, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-61510 (b&w film copy neg.), Library of Congress

Enrico Caruso, around 1910, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-61510 (b&w film copy neg.), Library of Congress

Need a three minute holiday gift for yourself? Indulge in a short listen to Enrico Caruso! This opera legend left a legacy of many early recordings that showcase his rich voice and the highlight of this blogpost – the French carol, Cantique de Noël [O, Holy Night] – is a great example. Recorded in 1916, it has remained well preserved in audio form.

In addition to his vocal talents Caruso was an avid cartoonist and his exuberant sketches are highly collected in the modern market. Over the last twenty years or so I have been told by different people that several cartoon sketches were made of Edith Vail Ross Eisler by Caruso, But… I have never seen one. so…, if you ever do run across one, snag a picture, let me know where it is – ANYTHING!

Here is an action shot of Caruso sketching at a charity event in Southampton, Long Island, New York:

Enrico Caruso, 1873-1921, drawing caricature sketches in booth at charity fair in Southampton, L.I., from right of sitter, onlookers in background. Digital ID: (digital file from b&w film copy neg.) cph 3b09197 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b09197 Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-61527 (b&w film copy neg.) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Enrico Caruso, 1873-1921, drawing caricature sketches in booth at charity fair in Southampton, L.I., from right of sitter, onlookers in background.
Digital ID: (digital file from b&w film copy neg.) cph 3b09197 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b09197
Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-61527 (b&w film copy neg.)
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

And onto the musical highlight! Here is another Holiday gift of voice, Enrico Caruso, a friend of Edith and Paul Eisler, singing Cantique de Noël:

Placide Cappeau’s Cantique de Noël

Minuit, chrétiens, c’est l’heure solennelle,
Où l’Homme Dieu descendit jusqu’à nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d’espérance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.
Peuple à genoux, attends ta délivrance.
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur!
De notre foi que la lumière ardente
Nous guide tous au berceau de l’Enfant,
Comme autrefois une étoile brillante
Y conduisit les chefs de l’Orient.
Le Roi des rois naît dans une humble crèche:
Puissants du jour, fiers de votre grandeur,
A votre orgueil, c’est de là que Dieu prêche.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur.
Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave:
La terre est libre, et le ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n’était qu’un esclave,
L’amour unit ceux qu’enchaînait le fer.
Qui lui dira notre reconnaissance,
C’est pour nous tous qu’il naît, qu’il souffre et meurt.
Peuple debout! Chante ta délivrance,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur!

About Guenevere Crum

Guenevere Crum is an artist and a great granddaughter of Edith and Paul Eisler. She has been actively sleuthing her Eisler - Vail Ross heritage since 1999.
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