Silent Night is one of the most popular of all Christmas carols. The carol dates back to the early 1800’s and has been translated into over 150 languages. It has been recorded by numerous singers including Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber. The recording of Silent Night by Bing Crosby is one of the best-selling records of all time.
The lyrics of Silent Night were written by Father Joseph Mohr in 1816 when he was serving as a priest in Mariapfarr in the state of Salzburg in Austria. The carol was written at a time of great upheaval in Europe following the Napoleonic Wars. In 1817 Fr Mohr was transferred as curate, over 130km away to the parish of St Nicholas in the town of Oberndorf. It is said that preparations for Christmas were disrupted due to flooding in the town in December 1818. During the flooding the church organ had been damaged.
On December 24th 1818 Fr Mohr brought the poem he had written to the home of the church organist Franz Gruber. Franz Gruber lived in the nearby village of Arnsdorf where he was the local schoolmaster. Since the church organ was not working, Fr Mohr asked Gruber to compose a melody which could be accompanied by a guitar in order that it could be sung later at midnight mass. Gruber composed the melody and later that evening Franz Gruber and Fr Mohr, backed by the church choir, sang silent night while Fr Mohr played the guitar.
Silent Night (Stille Nacht) was performed for the first time at midnight mass on Christmas Eve in St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria in the year 1818 On This Day.
Silent-Night-Chapel in Oberndorf
by schun.oi on 2014-12-25 10:21:27
Fr Josef Mohr by didier.bier on 2009-08-12 11:36:08