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The Christmas Carol "Silent Night"

http://www.chinese.cn 17:15, December 20, 2010 Confucius Institute Online

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The Christmas carol "Silent Night" was first sung in Saint Nicholas Church in the village of Oberndorf in Salzburg in 1818. The current Silent Night Memorial Chapel stands on the original site of the church. Every December 24 at 17 o'clock sharp, the chapel will hold a memorial ceremony in honor of the author of the carol. Thousands of people come from around the world and sing "Silent Night" in many languages at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Silent night Holy night

All is calm all is bright

Round you virgin Mother and Child

Holy infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace

Sleep in heavenly peace

The creation of the carol was launched by Joseph Moore. On the Christmas Eve on December 24, 1818, he visited Franz Gruber with one of his poems and asked Gruber to compose music for it. This carol is divided into six sections and has two solo parts accompanied by guitar chords. In its first performance, Moore sang the tenor part and Gruber is responsible for the bass part.

We don't know why Joseph Moore and Franz Gruber created this song, but many legends and romantic stories came down around the birth of the song "Silent Night". One of the sayings is that a hungry rat bit through the organ's leather bellows in the church; therefore a song with guitar chords had to be created for Mass.

The song "Silent Night" quickly spread all over the world from Salzburg. Nowadays this song has many performance versions in the world and has been translated into about 300 languages and dialects. It is probably the most famous Christmas carol in the world.

Joseph Moore who wrote the lyrics of the song was born in Salzburg on December 11, 1792. Now it's a mystery in which house on earth he was born. People only know he had lived on the third floor of Building No. 3 in the romantic Stone Street. He was a bastard of a poor family and his mother wasn't married all her life. What's fortunate is a sponsor found his music talent; otherwise we may not be so happy when celebrating Christmas now. Owing to his past bitter experience, Joseph Moore always cared for the poor and weak. He died on December 4, 1848.

Franz Gruber, the composer of "Silent Night", was born in Upper Austria on November 25, 1787. He created one of the most famous and most successful melodies in the world. Gruber was associated with music from childhood and became a headmaster, sexton and pipe organ player later. He took the first teaching post in the village of Arnsdorf in 1807. In 1816, he served as a pipe organ player in Saint Nicholas Church in the village of Oberndorf three kilometers away. Probably he drew inspiration for the melody of this song when he crossed the snow-capped wilderness in winter. He worked with Moore between 1817 and 1819 and therefore composed the music for the "Silent Night". Gruber left the villages of Arnsdorf and Oberndorf in 1819. His next workplace was the village of Berndorf and he spent 6 years there. In 1835, he went to the city of Hallein and never left. He died on June 7, 1863, after devoting all his life to music.

Searching for the imprint of "Silent Night"

Salzburg is not only a paradise in winter but a paradise at Christmas. Starting from the Advent Week, around a month from December 24, this "venue of Silent Night" began to send out unique romantic charm. Apart from the widely known Christmas market in the city of Salzburg which has a rich Christmas atmosphere and the unique Advent Concert, there are still five places which are associated with the birth of this song, and they are briefed at www.stillenachtland.at, a website in English.

The Christmas celebration ceremony which is held in the Silent Night Memorial Chapel on Christmas Eve every year is broadcast worldwide on line at www.stillenacht.info.