The story of how and why Silent Night was written captivated me. Each day on my way to school I walked past several churches, a Gothic revival Roman Catholic church, an ultra modern Lutheran church, a mighty stone fortress that was really a Methodist church, all beautifully kept and looking like something out a travel guide. Nearly Christmas one year our teacher told us about the origins of Silent Night, how a pastor in Austria was preparing for Chrismas Eve services when he noticed that the organ wouldn't play, and as he had suspected, mice had eaten the goatskin bellows. So he took out his guitar and began to write words to go with an old folk tune. His parishioners loved the song.
I couldn't image that mice would ever dare to go in those impressive buildings I passed on my way to school, But I liked the story.
|The only surviving autograph of the song by Joseph Mohr |
To those who say German isn't a musical language, I suggest that they listen to "Silent Night" sung in German.
1. Silent night! Holy night!
All's asleep, one sole light, Just the faithful and holy pair, Lovely boy-child with curly hair, Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace!
2. Silent night! Holy night! God's Son laughs, o how bright. Love from your holy lips shines clear, As the dawn of salvation draws near, Jesus, Lord, with your birth! Jesus, Lord, with your birth!
3. Silent night! Holy night! Brought the world peace tonight, From the heavens' golden height Shows the grace of His holy might Jesus, as man on this earth! Jesus, as man on this earth!
4. Silent night! holy night! Where today all the might Of His fatherly love us graced And then Jesus, as brother embraced. All the peoples on earth! All the peoples on earth!
5. Silent night! Holy night! Long we hoped that He might, As our Lord, free us of wrath, Since times of our fathers He hath Promised to spare all mankind! Promised to spare all mankind!
6. Silent night! Holy night! Sheperds first see the sight. Told by angelic Alleluja, Sounding everywhere, both near and far: "Christ the Savior is here!" "Christ the Savior is here!"
~~ written by Joseph Mohr in 1816
for more information and a web cam view of the Christmas Eve performance please follow this link.