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The assistant priest at St. Nicholas' Church in Oberndorf, a small village near Salzburg, was worried about a Christmas celebration without music. The church organ had broken down again and it would be months before it could be repaired. The 26-year old Father Joseph Mohr, took a poem he had written to his friend, Franz X. Gruber, a school teacher and the church organist, asked him to set it to music so that they could sing it together, to guitar accompaniment at the midnight service celebrating the birth of Christ.

Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night)
Words by Joseph Mohr. Music by Franz X. Gruber.The translation is traditional.

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 kund gemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja
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 schägt die rettende Stund’
Christ, in Deiner Geburt!
Christ, in Deiner Geburt!

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.


Max Kade German-American Center
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
401 East Michigan Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
(317) 464-9004 Office
(317) 630-0035 Fax

Created: 4 December 2005, SJS
Updated: 13 December 2005, BAS
Comments to: IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center, mkgac@iupui.edu
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