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"Script error: No such module "lang"." (German: [oː ˈtanənbaʊm]; "O fir tree") is a German Christmas song. Based on a traditional folk song, it became associated with the traditional Christmas tree by the early 20th century and sung as a Christmas carol.

History

The modern lyrics were written in 1824, by the Leipzig organist, teacher and composer Ernst Anschütz. A Tannenbaum is a fir tree. The lyrics do not actually refer to Christmas, or describe a decorated Christmas tree. Instead, they refer to the fir's evergreen qualities as a symbol of constancy and faithfulness.[1]

Anschütz based his text on a 16th-century Silesian folk song by Melchior Franck, "Script error: No such module "lang".". Template:Interlanguage link multi (1777–1827) in 1819 wrote a tragic love song inspired by this folk song, taking the evergreen, "faithful" fir tree as contrasting with a faithless lover. The folk song first became associated with Christmas with Anschütz, who added two verses of his own to the first, traditional verse. The custom of the Christmas tree developed in the course of the 19th century, and the song came to be seen as a Christmas carol. Anschütz's version still had Script error: No such module "lang". (true, faithful) as the adjective describing the fir's leaves (needles), harking back to the contrast to the faithless maiden of the folk song. This was changed to Script error: No such module "lang". (green) at some point in the 20th century, after the song had come to be associated with Christmas.Template:Year needed

Melody

The tune is an old folk tune attested in the 16th century. It is also known as the tune of Script error: No such module "lang". and of Script error: No such module "lang".. Template:Listen File:OTannenbaumNoten.gif

Lyrics

Anschütz (1824)[2] One English version[3] Another version[4]

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  1. A common variation replaces
    the word "Script error: No such module "lang"." (faithful)
    with "Script error: No such module "lang"." (green).
  2. Or "Script error: No such module "lang"."

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much pleasure!
How oft at Christmas tide the sight,
O green fir tree, gives us delight!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much pleasure!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Forever true your colour.
Your boughs so green in summertime
Stay bravely green in wintertime.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Forever true your colour.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
You fill my heart with music.
Reminding me on Christmas Day
To think of you and then be gay.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
You fill my heart with music.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
How are thy leaves so verdant!
Not only in the summertime,
But even in winter is thy prime.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How are thy leaves so verdant!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!
For ev’ry year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are thy branches!
Not only green when summer's here
But in the coldest time of year.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How lovely are thy branches!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How sturdy God hath made thee!
Thou bidd'st us all place faithfully
Our trust in God, unchangingly!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
How sturdy God hath made thee!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!

Notable other uses

The tune has also been used (as a contrafactum) to carry other texts on many occasions. Some notable uses include:

They Might Be Giants version

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The song was recorded by They Might Be Giants released on a transparent green 7" record to celebrate Christmas of 1993. The title track later appeared on their 2001 compilation EP, Holidayland.

Recording history

"O Tannenbaum" is the first recording by They Might Be Giants to utilise their live touring outfit. The duo had recently expanded to include a live bass player, drummer, and horn section for their Don't Tread on the Cut-Up Snake World Tour 1992 to promote Apollo 18.[10] The song was recorded during a soundcheck at Fairfax High School on 20 November 1992.[11] "Christmas Cards", which also utilises a live drummer and bassist, was recorded on 5 July 1993 at Excello Studio in Brooklyn.[12]

"O Tannenbaum" is sung entirely in German by John Linnell. The recording only includes the first verse. According to John Flansburgh, the band was provided with a phonetic transliteration from a German-speaking friend.[13]

Packaging

The cover artwork for the EP was illustrated by Amy Sillman.[12] The songs are pressed on either side of a transparent green 7" record. The labels use an Elektra Records logo recreated by John Flansburgh and Barbara Lipp for the Apollo 18 album.[14]

Track listing

Template:Tracklist

Personnel

Other notable recordings

References

  1. Script error: No such module "Citation/CS1"."O Tannenbaum" (p. 5)
  2. "O Tannenbaum": Originalhandschrift im Stadtarchiv Leipzig" by Birgit Horn-Kolditz, in Sächsisches Archivblatt, no. 2 2008, p. 3, State Archive of Saxony Template:De icon
  3. 1970s?
  4. 1910s?
  5. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  6. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  7. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  8. Saint Bonavenure University website http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/football/Cheers.htm . Accessed 2014 January 3.
  9. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  10. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  11. They Might Be Giants in Holidayland (Album notes). Restless Records. 2001.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 "O Tannenbaum" (Release notes). Elektra Records. 1992.
  13. Seattle Weekly interview with John Flansburgh, December 2001. Accessed 2012-08-05.
  14. Apollo 18 (Album notes). Elektra Records. 1992.
  15. O Tannenbaum EP at This Might Be A Wiki
  16. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".

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  • Tobias Widmaier: "O Tannenbaum" in: Populäre und traditionelle Lieder. Historisch-kritisches Liederlexikon des Deutschen Volksliedarchivs (2007).

External links

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