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Silent Night

Silent Night is a popular Christmas carol. The original lyrics of the song Stille Nacht were written in German by Joseph Mohr and the melody was composed by Franz X. Gruber.

It is believed that the carol has been translated into over 300 languages around the world, and it is one of the most popular carols of all time. It is often sung without musical accompaniment. It is given special significance in the Lutheran church.

The carol was first performed in the Church of St Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria on December 25, 1818. Mohr had composed the words much earlier, in 1816, but on Christmas Eve brought them to Gruber and asked him to compose a guitar accompaniment for them. The reason for this is unclear - perhaps Mohr simply wanted a new carol for the Midnight Mass, but tradition has it that the organ at St Nikolaus was not working that night (a popular version of the story claims that mice had eaten out the bellows). The story of the rushed composition may also be apocryphal, as a manuscript was discovered in 1995, apparently in Mohr's hand and dated 1816, already identifying Gruber as the composer.

Another popular story claims that the carol, once performed, was promptly forgotten until an organ repairman found the manuscript in 1825 and revived it. However, both Mohr and Gruber published various arrangements of it as early as 1820.

English Lyrics

Silent night Holy night
All is calm all is bright
'Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born;
Christ the Savior is born.

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth;
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Original German Lyrics

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 Hallelujah,
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!