The Story Behind the Carol: Silent Night

YouTube Preview Image

On Christmas Eve of 1818 the young priest of St. Nicholas parish church in Obendorf faced disaster. The organ had been incapacitated by mice. The chance of fixing the instrument before the evening service was nil. Father Joseph Mohr was not a man to just give up however. He pulled out a poem he had written several years before called “Stille Nacht”. Mohr took his poem to the schoolmaster and organist of a nearby town, Franz Xaver Gruber. He asked that Gruber write a melody to accompany the poem on guitar. In several hours, Gruber had the music done and the carol was played for the first time that night at the Christmas Eve service.

The song was not translated into English for another 50 years. Episcopalian bishop John Freeman Young published the English translation that is most frequently sung today in 1859. The writing of the song is unique enough but one other interesting factoid makes this carol special. In 1914, during the Christmas truce, the song was sung in French, English and German simultaneously. It was apparently the one song that all the soldiers on both sides knew.

What are your favorite Christmas Carols? Do you know the story behind them?

- Maggie AAR

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “The Story Behind the Carol: Silent Night”

  1. LeeB. says:

    Hmm, never knew that story.

    I have SOOOOOOOOOOOO many favorites. I’ll go with John Berry’s version of O Holy Night. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQDPo32DwbI

  2. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the
    net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed
    while people consider worries that they just don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out
    the whole thing without having side effect ,
    people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks