Did you know that……..
……. the period in which the song was composed was one of pure hardship and war?
By Christmas 1818, Europe had already been in a crisis
for decades. Political changes, war and hunger had drained the people of the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg, the Habsburg Monarchy and Bavaria. Napoleon had waged wars and devastated entire regions. The Congress of Vienna lasted from 1814 to 1815 and sealed the end of the Napoleonic era.
…. Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber only knew each other very briefly?
In 1817 Joseph Mohr came to Oberndorf as an assistant priest. He became friends with Franz Xaver Gruber who was 5 years older and a teacher from the neighbouring village of Arnsdorf. The following Christmas, Mohr asked his friend to compose a suitable melody for the poem he had already written in 1816 in Mariapfarr. After the Christmas mass in 1818 ended, the song “Silent Night, Holy Night” was performed for the very first time.
…… “Silent Night, Holy Night” was even sung in the trenches of World War I?
Right after the beginning of the war in 1914, an amazing spectacle took place in the form of a temporary Christmas truce signifying the brotherhood of different nations. As a sign of peace
on 24 December, soldiers placed illuminated Christmas trees on the upper edges of the trenches. Fighters then laid down their weapons and sang “Silent Night, Holy Night” on both sides of the front in Flanders.
……“Silent Night, Holy Night” became a successful hit very early on in America?
The song holds the record for the top-selling sheet music in the USA – and that already back in the mid 19thcentury. Since its very first vinyl recording by the American “Haydn Quartet” in October 1995, it is by far the best-selling Christmas carol in the world. Alone Bing Crosby’s recording from 1935 reached an estimated 10 million by 2003.