Silent Night

Classical Academy | On This Day...


"Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, All is bright". These simple words have become synonymous with the spirit of Christmas eve as people across the world listen to this beautiful carol in one its many versions. It is, in fact, the first carol ever written.


The story goes that in on Christmas Eve in 1818 an Austrian priest by the name of Joseph Mohr discovered that the church organ had broken. Saddened by the prospect of a Christmas without glorious music, he took some lyrics that he had written to the composer Franz Gruber who penned the tune with a guitar accompaniment. Later that night, the choir and people of that little Austrian Church sang 'Stille Nacht' for the first time. Inspired by the musical tradition of his rural home, Gruber's melody resembles aspects of Austrian folk music and yodelling.


On this recording, American folksinger Andrew Rowan Summers sings Silent Night accompanied by his traditional mountain dulcimer. This authentic, antiquated style of playing has a simple beauty and delicacy that recalls that moment when this carol was first performed in Austria nearly two hundred years ago.