|by Franz Xaver Gruber|
|Native name||Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht|
|Performed||24 December 1818|
"Silent Night" (German: Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht) is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011. The song has been recorded by a large number of singers from every music genre. The version sung by Bing Crosby is the third best-selling single of all-time.
The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria. A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had already written the lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" in 1816 at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region, where Joseph had worked as a co-adjutor.
The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service. Both performed the carol during the mass on the night of December 24.
The original manuscript has been lost. However, a manuscript was discovered in 1995 in Mohr's handwriting and dated by researchers at c. 1820. It shows that Mohr wrote the words in 1816 when he was assigned to a pilgrim church in Mariapfarr, Austria, and shows that the music was composed by Gruber in 1818. This is the earliest manuscript that exists and the only one in Mohr's handwriting.
The contemporary version, as in the choral example below, is:
In 1859, the Episcopal priest John Freeman Young, then serving at Trinity Church, New York City, published the English translation that is most frequently sung today, using three of Gruber's original six verses. The version of the melody that is generally used today is a slow, meditative lullaby or pastorale, differing slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber's original, which was a "moderato" tune in 6
8 time and siciliana rhythm. Today, the lyrics and melody are in the public domain.
Choral version performed by the United States Army Chorus
"Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht"
Soprano solo performed by Ernestine Schumann-Heink
Instrumental version played on piano by Kevin MacLeod in 2000
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Several theatrical and television films depict how the song was written.
- The Legend of Silent Night (1968) TV film directed by Daniel Mann
- Silent Night, Holy Night (1976) animated short film by Hanna-Barbera.
- Silent Mouse (1988) television special directed and produced by Robin Crichton and narrated by Lynn Redgrave.
- Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night (1998) direct-to-video animated featurette
- Stille Nacht (2012) directed by Christian Vuissa
- The First Silent Night (2014), documentary narrated by Simon Callow
- "Österreichische UNESCO-Kommission – Nationalagentur für das Immaterielle Kulturerbe – Austrian Inventory". Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "BBC Religion & Ethics". BBC. 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- "Silent Night" revisited by Norbert Müllemann, G. Henle Verlag, 24 December 2012
- Underwood, Byron Edward, "Bishop John Freeman Young, Translator of 'Stille Nacht'", The Hymn, v. 8, no. 4, October 1957, pp. 123–132.
- Meredith Ellis Little (2001). Siciliana. Grove Music Online. ISBN 978-1561592630.
- Gerlinde Haid (1994). Siciliano als Typus weihnachtlicher Volksmusik. 175 Jahre "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" (in German), p.135–146. Salzburg.
- Ronald M. Clancy, William E Studwell. Best-Loved Christmas Carols. Christmas Classics Ltd, 2000.
- "Silent Night". Silent Night Web.
- Stanley Weintraub Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914. New York: Free Press, 2001.
- "Silent Night, Holy Night", The United Methodist Hymnal, number 239, translated by John F. Young (stanzas 1–3) and anon. (stanza 4), hymnsite.com
- "Silent Mouse (1988)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Buster and Chauncey's Silent Night". TCM. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- First Silent Night, The, production details
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|German Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Media related to Stille Nacht at Wikimedia Commons
- Free arrangements for piano and voice from Cantorion.org
- Text and music, Stille-Nacht-Association, Salzburg
- Silent Night Chapel, origin of song