Monday, December 2, 2013

Countdown-to-Christmas - Silent Night by Casting Crowns

When you think about Christmas carols, you likely think about the classic, Silent NightAccording to Wiki, Silent Night was, "composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village on the Salzach river. The young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had already written the lyrics of the song 'Stille Nacht' in 1816 at Mariapfarr, the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region, where Joseph had worked as a coadjutor.

The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service. Both performed the carol during the mass on the night of December 24. In 1859, the Episcopalian bishop John Freeman Young published the English translation which is most frequently sung today. The version of the melody which is generally used today is a slow, meditative lullaby, differing slightly (particularly in the final strain) from Gruber's original, which was a sprightly, dance-like tune in 6/8 time
Today, the lyrics and melody are in the public domainThe carol has been translated into about 140 languages. The song was sung simultaneously in French, English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914 during World War I, as it was one carol that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew."
There is excellent reason for Silent Night to be a classic Christmas carol - and it is likely to remain as a song people around the world sing each year as they think about the amazing Gift God gave us which slept as a tiny baby in a manger 2000 years ago!
While Silent Night is a very popular song for singers to record when they make a Christmas album, one of my favorite recordings of it is from Casting Crowns. Enjoy!

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