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Silent Night

Featured Song
from album
A Carmel Christmas

Terrence Farrell   *  Guitarist

   Classical Gas, featured song on Boogie Bistro album
Listen to the entire song, Silent Night, performed by Terrence Farrell
(playing time 3 min. 42 sec.)
Or you can listen to a short excerpt
  MP3 selection (50 sec.) 
Go to the Carmel Christmas CD page to hear more selections from the Carmel Christmas CD or purchase the CD.

Besides being one of the great Christmas carols, Silent Night has special meaning for me in several ways. It is particularly appealing to me, as a guitarist, because the first version ever performed and written was with a guitar accompaniment. There are only so many great songs and it is nice the guitar can claim this one. Also, I was born in Salzburg, Austria, birthplace of the lyricist. And Franz Gruber, the composer, was born not far from there. The song is in the great tradition of the Tyrolean folk songs that I learned growing up. The guitar has a long and honored history in that part of the world. Where would the Trapp Family Singers be without it?

The German words for Silent Night were written in 1816 by Fr. Joseph Mohr, a young priest assigned to a church in Mariapfarr, Austria. While Mohr was at his next assignment in Oberndorf, he asked his friend Franz Xaver Gruber, a musician and schoolteacher, to add a melody and guitar accompaniment. At the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in 1918, Mohr and Gruber performed "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!"

Later the song was sung by traveling folk singers, and eventually it became very popular in Europe. The melody changed slightly, becoming the familiar melody we know today.

The manuscript of the original guitar arrangement is missing, but several other Gruber manuscripts of the carol still exist. The manuscript by Joseph Mohr, from around 1820, is for guitar accompaniment, and is probably closest the to original melody and arrangement sung at the 1818 Midnight Mass.

Terrence Farrell   

Websites with more about Silent Night:

  Silent Night History by Bill Egan, Christmas Historian
  Silent Night Museum in Oberndorf
  Silent Night history, Midi files, and more links
  Silent Night sheet music for solo guitar
  Silent Night Web with lyrics in various languages, including some sound files
  International pages about Silent Night
  Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht: German words, literal translation into English, and phonetic interpretation of German words for English-speaking people
  Stille Nacht heilige Nacht German-language website
  Franz Gruber Biography on Wikipedia

TROUBADOUR  Troubadour Recordings  RECORDINGS

P.O. Box 6543, Carmel, CA 93921

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