Silent Night

I love Christmas music. Not that there aren’t plenty of reprehensible Christmas songs, and terrible versions of wonderful songs, but music has the power to transcend time and Christmas is the only time that some of us get to hear Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Joseph Mohr, and Franz Gruber. If you haven’t heard of those last two, let me tell you about them and about my favorite Christmas Carol, which they wrote.

In 1816, a priest in Austria named Joseph Mohr wrote these simple yet elegant lyrics:

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht

which Google translates as:

Silent Night, holy Night, 
Everything is sleeping; lonely wakes
Silent Night Chapel in Austria, on the site where the song was first performed

It is usually translated a little differently, but you get the idea. Two years after the priest wrote those lyrics he asked the organist of a nearby church, Franz Gruber, to compose a melody for them. And two hundred years later that melody, and those lyrics, are as sweet and touching as they were on Christmas Eve in 1818 when the song was first performed in the St. Nicholas parish church.

Here’s my take on it. Merry Christmas 2020…

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