Tune of the Day: Silent Night
“Silent Night” is likely to be the most popular Christmas carol in the world, but the history behind it is still the source of some disagreement.
The traditional story is that Father Josef Mohr and headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber wrote the carol in Oberndorf, Austria, on Christmas Eve 1818, when they discovered the church organ was broken (different versions say it rusted out, or mice chewed through vital parts); for this reason, Mohr and Gruber created a song for accompaniment by guitar. However, recent evidence indicates this may be only folklore. Some believe that Mohr simply wanted a new Christmas carol that he could play on his guitar. According to Austria's Silent Night Society, there are “many romantic stories and legends” that add their own anecdotal details to the known facts.
And here are the facts: the carol was first performed in the Nikolaus-Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Oberndorf, Austria on December 24, 1818, and it was an instant success. The song has since been translated in over 44 languages, and recorded by over 300 artists; among the most successful we can mention the hit versions by Bing Crosby, Enya (sung in Irish) and Andrea Bocelli.