Tune of the Day: O Christmas Tree
This old folk tune comes from Germany. In German, a Tannenbaum is a fir tree (die Tannen) or Christmas tree (der Weihnachtsbaum). Although most Christmas trees today are Fichten (spruce) rather than Tannen, the qualities of the evergreen have inspired German musicians to write several “Tannenbaum” songs over the years.
The first known “Tannenbaum” song lyrics date back to 1550, while the best known version was written in 1824 by the Leipzig organist, teacher and composer Ernst Anschütz. There are at least a dozen English versions of the carol.
The tune has also often been used to carry other texts, most notably:
- “Maryland, My Maryland”, the official state song of Maryland;
- “The Song of Iowa”, the official state song of Iowa;
- “The Red Flag”, anthem of the British Labour Party;
- “Gift of Love”, recorded in 1962 by pop singer Jack Jones.