Tuesday, December 25, 2018

200 years, tonight, in celebration of 2018 years of Christmas!

200 years ago .... 🎄🌹🙏🏻

OBERNDORF, small Austrian village on the banks of the Salzach River, Salzburg region, the eve of Christmas 1818.

Father Joseph Mohr was desperate because the organ of the chapel had broken. The Christmas "cantata" would be a fiasco.

 He asked God for guidance and recalled that two years before he had written a simple poem, also on Christmas Eve, after a walk through the forests of the mountains of the region.

He found the manuscript of the poem in a drawer in the sacristy. He ran to the house of a humble teacher and musician, named Franz Gruber, and asked him if he could muster his lyrics so that everyone could sing later at the "Midnight Mass".

Franz looked and said yes, because the lyrics were simple and would allow an easy melody. But it would have to be played on the guitar because there would not be time for something more elaborate. It was not a problem because there was no organ available.

Father Mohr thanked and ran back to finish organizing the details of the mass.

In the evening, Franz Gruber came to the chapel with the violin and gathered the choir to teach the improvised hymn.

What music was it, after all?

Stille Nacht (Silent Night, in the original German) translated into Spanish as Noche de Paz, Portuguese Noite Feliz, and the version sung by Bing Crosby is the third best-selling single of all-time.

On that Christmas night of 1818, the participants of the Mass in the chapel of Oberndorf sang astonished that simple and profound hymn that would become the best-known Christmas song in the world, today being sung in more than 50 languages.

How did it spread?

A few weeks later, the technician who came to fix the organ heard the story and asked to play the music. 

He was impressed with the melodic richness of the composition that he decided to spread to all the churches through which he passed, until it reached the ears of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia; to New York in 1838 and actively disseminated also by the German emigration that was current at that time.

It's the story of the Christmas hymn Night of Peace. What began as a moment of panic and perspective of a fiasco, ended as an eternal Christmas gift for all Humanity in the form of music.

Merry Christmas to all. 

And remember that God may use us to turn apparent Fiascos to Sublime encounters with him.



Johannes Braunias said...

Thanks for the nice story from my hometown, Mario! <3
Even I learnt something new now :-D
By the way, the link on Google Maps is the correct one, only the title (Oberdorf im Burgenland, Silent Night Chapel, 7501, Austria) is wrong. Correct: 5110 Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria

Cheers and see you somewhere on this world!

Anonymous said...

Excellent. Happy Christmas to you !!!