A young priest named Joseph Mohr came to St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria in 1817. A year earlier he had written the lyrics to a song he called “Stille Nacht” but had not set it to music. Before Christmas in 1818, Father Mohr took his lyrics to Franz Gruber, the town’s schoolmaster and organist, and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for his simple song. On Christmas Eve 1818, the carol we call “Silent Night” was performed for the first time at St. Nicholas church. Of course, the technology to record the event did not exist at the time but, if you had been in St. Nicholas that night, it probably sounded something like this:
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