Blog

Stille Nacht

12/15/2018
Stille Nacht

Exactly 200 years ago, a flooded river was behind the creation of the world's best known Christmas Carol.

The Salzach River separating Bavaria from Austria often overflowed its banks at the village of Oberndorf about 15 kilometers outside Salzburg.  After one such flood, the local parish priest was forced to create new musik, since water had inundated the church's organ.  On Christmas Eve 1818, Father Joseph Franz Mohr asked his friend Franz Gruber to set a poem the priest had written to musik.  In just a few hours, Gruber wrote the melody for accompaniment by a guitar.  And at the Christmas Eve service later that day, Silent Night was performed for the very first time.

Later floods destroyed the original church, but a chapel was built (uphill from the original).  It is now one of Austria's most visited sites. 

The first three of the original six verses are below (in German):

 

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!


Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Christ, in deiner Geburt!


Add Comment

 

Read Comments

No Comment Available

    Back