Monday, 24 December 2018

stille nacht

Composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber and set to lyrics by Father Joseph Mohr in Oberndorf bei Salzburg and first performed in the parish church of Saint Nikola on Christmas Eve two centuries ago, residents are expecting twice the number of holiday tourists to descend on their town for this anniversary spectacle of Silent Night.
Declared an intangible work of cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011, schoolmaster and amateur organist Gruber was only rehabilitated and acknowledged for creating the melody of the carol in 1995 when the lost, original manuscript was recovered, credit having been traditionally attributed to more famous Austrian composers like Haydn or Beethoven. The venue this year’s concert is not exactly made clear as the original choir was demolished around 1890 after a devastating flood sweep through the area, but the chapel curiously (or predictably) was rebuilt as a full-sized replica in the city of Frankenmuth, Michigan, a place settled by a group of disaffected Lutherans from Fürth, near Nürnberg—which bills itself as the Christmas capital of the world. Most of the over three hundred different languages versions of the song are more or less true to the German original though “Round you Virgin Mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild” is better translated “Round yon godly tender Pair, Holy Infant with curly hair”—Nur das traute hoch heilge Paar, Holder Knab’ im lockigen Haar