The Music Plays On, Beyond the Stage

By Donato Cabrera│medium.com/@donatocabrera
December 16, 2020

Autograph score 1860

St. Nicholas Church. After a series of floods in the 1890’s, the church was eventually demolished and moved to the center of town.

On Christmas Eve, 1818, Joseph Mohr, a catholic priest at St. Nicholas, showed Gruber a six-stanza poem, Stille Nacht that he had written in 1816 and asked Gruber if he could set it to music. Gruber returned the following day with the melody and for Christmas Mass, Mohr and Gruber sang in harmony, with Gruber playing the guitar as the organ had been damaged in a series of floods. The choir repeated the final two lines of each stanza. This very faithful recording uses Joseph Mohr’s guitar. For the German lyrics, please go to the end of this blog.

Gruber would later make many versions of Stille Nacht including this beautiful version he created while working in the city Hallein.