The mere birth of the text and the melody of "Silent Night, Holy Night" is a miraculous Christmas story. This simple song is a captivating song whose verses have been translated into more than 300 languages and dialects.
The most famous Christmas song in the German-speaking world has its origins in gloomy post-war periods in Austria. When the boatmen of the river Salzach had a very short life, the bakers had to stretch the bread with sawdust and the babies died in rows. Under these circumstances, Salzburg's father Joseph Mohr and Professor Franz Xaver Gruber of Upper Austria sang the Christmas song of 1818 for the first time in St. Nikola's church in Oberndorf near Salzburg. From the Zillertal, the families of Tyrolean singers Rainer and Strasser soon made their journey to Europe and the whole world. Thanks to its worldwide distribution, it was declared an intangible national heritage of Unesco in 2011.
Mohr's godfather was the last executioner in Salzburg
The fascination with music continues in Salzburg – especially now in the anniversary year. Steingasse in the middle of the old town is the birthplace of Joseph Mohr. The fifth son of a knitter and a soldier saw the light of day there in 1792. His godfather was the last executioner of Salzburg, who is known. Mohr became assistant pastor in Oberndorf, was dedicated to people and very helpful. Out of inner need, out of desire for peace and security, he wrote the comforting and simple words to the Christmas song first as a poem. He knew about the situation, the political turmoil, and the natural disasters of his time.
Max Gurtner, director of the museum in Arnsdorf, tells the story of the life of Franz Xaver Gruber, an organist and teacher born in 1787, who moved to Arnsdorf in an impressive ocher-colored house directly in front of the pilgrimage church. His teacher's table has a place of honor at school, the oldest in Austria. In his apartment Gruber, a friend of Mohr, wrote the song for the poem. She should be easy, Mohr wished. A melody for two voices, chorus and simple guitar accompaniment. To the heart, a message of peace.
The seasons of life of the two composers Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr are widely celebrated by regional tourism. There are more and more memorials, especially now for the 200th anniversary. Many places in the area, which are closely related to the history of music, show both artists' memorabilia and explain the world back then.
A melody for two voices: the composition of Franz Xaver Gruber. Image: Getty Images
Mariapfarr's parish and pilgrimage museum is one of the most interesting and memorable places. There is a place in honor of Joseph Mohr, a Fountain of the Silent Night and the museum in the vicariate. Bernhard Rohrmoser, who wrote a book about Mohr, likes to emphasize the strong emotions and power that make up the music. In the Mohr hall of the museum, there is an oversized crib with 100 figures from the 18th century, beautifully restored. And a part of the Gothic altarpiece of the parish church shows the boy Jesus as "Holden boy with curly hair". Again and again, he pulls Rohrmoser into the parish church. He wonders why Mohr wrote the text with these words. "He probably went to church on a dark winter night to meditate," says the pastor. "And he must have electrified and inspired the blonde Wuschelkopf in the dark."
The tomb of Joseph Mohr in Wagrain is also very popular with tourists. Especially on the day of his death, when a concert and the Silent Night Song are performed. Mohr, who led a restless life, suffered from a congenital lung disease and died on December 4, 1848, at only 56 years of age.
The tomb of Franz Xaver Gruber is located in Hallein. The small town was the most important place for Gruber's musical work. Here he was able to perceive himself. He brought it to prosperity, as his old home furnishings made of heavy wood furniture with old pink velvet covers, own designs and an expensive piano shows. Just in time for the anniversary, a generous new museum was dedicated to it. Actor Heiko Thiel walks disguised as Gruber disguised by the museum.
Japanese invade the chapel not only on Christmas Eve
Art and commerce are hardly distinguishable. This is especially evident in Oberndorf, the center of the Silent Night boom, where everything is taken to extremes. It is true that the Silent Night Society makes an honest effort to research, history and cultivate authenticity. But today we name everything after the Silent Night: district, chapel, square, museum that offers guided tours in all languages. Not just on Christmas Eve, the Japanese attack the small chapel. Even long queues and nasty jerks happen.
There is no stopping when Tobias Regner, a rock singer and former winner of the "Deutschland sucht den Superstar", who sings Christmas songs in a simple arrangement of the original version. Tears flow of emotion. A little confused by all the fuss, you soon get caught up singing along – you can hardly escape the power of music.
Six verses were written by Joseph Mohr. Almost never all are sung, usually only the second and sixth. These are the ones that everyone knows.
The trip was supported by Österreich Werbung (Sunday newspaper)
Created: 10/11/2018, 20:23 clock