#204 Silent Night

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Music only:
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1. Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace;
Sleep in heavenly peace.

2. Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heav’nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

3. Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth;
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Text: Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848; trans. by John F. Young, 1820-1885
Music: Franz Gruber, 1787-1863

-History: (Source: Wikipedia)

Silent Night” (GermanStille Nacht, heilige Nacht) is a popular Christmas carol. The original lyrics of the song Stille Nacht were written in OberndorfAustria by the priest Father Joseph Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber. In 1859, John Freeman Young (second Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Florida) published the English translation that is most frequently sung today.[1] The version of the melody that is generally sung today differs slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber’s original, which was a sprightly, dance-like tune in 6/8, as opposed to the slow, meditative lullaby version generally sung today. Today, the lyrics and melody are in the public domain.

A version recorded by Bing Crosby is one of the fewer than thirty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) copies worldwide.

The carol was first performed in the Nikolaus-Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in OberndorfAustria, on December 24, 1818. Mohr had composed the words two years earlier, in 1816, but on Christmas Eve brought them to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody andguitar accompaniment for the church service.[2]

In his written account regarding the composition of the carols, Gruber gives no mention of the specific inspiration for creating the song. According to the song’s history provided by Austria’s Silent Night Society, one supposition is that the church organ was no longer working so that Mohr and Gruber therefore created a song for accompaniment by guitar. Silent Night historian Renate Ebeling-Winkler Berenguer says that the first mention of a broken organ was in a book published in the United States, The Story of Silent Night By John Travers Moore.

Some [3] believe that Mohr simply wanted a new Christmas carol that he could play on his guitar. The Silent Night Society says that there are “many romantic stories and legends” that add their own anecdotal details to the known facts.[citation needed]

The Nikolaus-Kirche was demolished in the early 1900s as a result of flood damage and because the town’s center was moved up the river to a safer location, with a new church being built in the new town, close to the new bridge. A tiny chapel, called the “Stille-Nacht-Gedächtniskapelle” (Silent Night Memorial Chapel), was built in the place of the demolished church and a nearby house was converted into a museum, attracting tourists from all over the world, not only but primarily in December.[citation needed]

The original manuscript has been lost. However a manuscript was discovered in 1995 in Mohr’s handwriting and dated by researchers at ca. 1820. It shows that Mohr wrote the words in 1816 when he was assigned to a pilgrim church in MariapfarrAustria, and shows that the music was composed by Gruber in 1818. This is the earliest manuscript that exists and the only one in Mohr’s handwriting. Gruber’s composition was influenced by the musical tradition of his rural domicile. The melody of “Silent Night” bears resemblance to aspects of Austrian folk music andyodelling.[citation needed]

Another popular story claims that the carol, once performed, was promptly forgotten until an organ repairman found the manuscript in 1825 and revived it. However, Gruber published various arrangements of it throughout his lifetime and we now have the Mohr arrangement (ca. 1820) that is kept at the Museum Carolino Augusteumin Salzburg.[citation needed]

The carol has been translated into over 44 languages.[4] It is sometimes sung without musical accompaniment.[citation needed]

The song was sung simultaneously in French, English and German by troops during the Christmas truce[5] of 1914, as it was one of the few carols that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew.[citation needed]

The song has been recorded by over 300 artists, particularly successful in hit versions by Enya (sung in Irish), Andrea Bocelli (sung in Italian), Stevie NicksBing CrosbyMahalia Jackson, an acoustic version by American R ‘n’ B group Boyz II Men, and an instrumental version by Mannheim Steamroller. The Mannheim Steamroller backs narratives known as “The God Song” or “God’s Silent Night” which have been distributed to radio stations across the USA. Simon and Garfunkel recorded an ironic version of the song in which a depressing radio news report is overheard in the background. There have also been choral recordings by the King’s College Choir and the Vienna Boys Choir. Other recordings include Linda Ronstadt fromA Merry Little Christmas (2000); Christina Aguilera from My Kind of Christmas (2000), Elvis Presley from Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957); and Tori Amos from Midwinter Graces(2009).[citation needed]

In 1943, the Austrian exile Hertha Pauli wrote the book “Silent Night. A Story of a Song”, in which she explained to American children the origin of the song. The book was illustrated by Fritz Kredel and published by Alfred A. Knopf.[6]

A 1988 dramatised television documentary called Silent Mouse tells the story of the creation of the carol from a mouse’s point of view. It featured Lynn Redgrave as narrator, and Gregor Fisher in one of the leading roles.[citation needed]

Westlife performed the song live in 2001. In 2006, Brad Paisley recorded the song for Brad Paisley Christmas. In 2007, Damien Leith included a recording on a limited special Christmas edition of Where We Land. In 2009 a version by Susan Boyle reached #5 on the US Adult Contemporary billboard chart. Shelby Lynne recorded her version of Silent Night on her 2010 album Merry Christmas.

In 2010 Annie Lennox included this track on her new album “A Christmas Cornucopia