Twas the night before Christmas in 1818, Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber created the Christmas Carol "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" Silent Night, Holy Night now the common property of the entire Christian world , was performed for the first time in Austria .
2018 marks the 200th anniversary of this song and may it be played, sung and shared all around the world to unite us in harmony on 24 December 2018.
May we all take a step back in time to reflect on what life was like 200 years ago for those who lived and made such incredible contributions to our society.
All the best to those who are in Austria for this incredible anniversary, I'm sure that there will be many who visit your lovely country singing this hymn in years to come.
Official Website for Commemerations of Stillenacht
The Quiet Hour
"Silent Night, Holy Night"
High up in the Austrian Alps, in the region known as Tyrol - 'the land in the mountians' - we find the brithplace of the "Silent Night, Holy Night." Here the Tyrloean peaks, world famed for their snow-capped grandeur, rise in the lofty simplicity into the cool clear air, guarding little, smiling, peaceful valleys.
"Far up in these Alpine mountian, where a love of music is nature's gift to every child, nestles the remote town of Oberndorf, Austria. Here in 1818 lived a devout young Austrian priest, Joesph Mohr, & his friend, the village school master & church organist, Franz Gruber, who were together destined to give the world this beautiful Christmas hymn. The two men, both great lovers of music, had often talked of the fact that 'the perfect Christmas song had not yet been.
"Mediatating on this thought, Mohr sat in his church study on Christmas Eve 1818.
Outside, the hushed stillness of the night heightened the snowclad beauty of the mountian scene. the pure spririt of those high peaks filled his heart with vision of the radiant peace and joy ofthe first Christmas tidings 'Jesus the Saviour is born'. The thoughts which had long been forming in his mind suddenly found clear, musical expression that night in the song which we have come to know as 'Silent Night, Holy Night'.
"The next morning, Christmas day, Mohr hurried to his friend's home with the manuscript of his precious song. Gruber read it intently, and exclained with uncontrolled enthusiasm, 'Friend Mohr, you have found it - the right song - God be praised'!
"Gruber, thrilled with the spirit of his friend's verses, at once set to work to compose a perfect melody for the 'perfect song'. Fianlly the soft, flowing air we now use came to him. 'It sings itself, you song,' he criued to the delighted priest. Gruber's real contribution to music lies in the beauty and simplicity of the tune, in is perfect blending in spirit with Mohr's verses. the two men then sang the hymn over together, to have it ready for the church service that night.
'Later in the same evening, when the villagers gathered in the gray little mountian church, Mohr and Gruber sang their new Christmas song before its first audience. it touched these listeners deeply, and after the service, they thanked the two friends with tears of joy in their eyes."
Silent Night, Holy Night!
All is calm, all is bright,
'Round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy Infant, so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent Night, Holy Night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories streamfrom heavens afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ, the saviour is born.
Silent Night, Holy Night!
Son of god, Love's pure light,
Radiant beams from Thy Holy face,
With the dawn pf redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Silent Night, Holy Night!
Guiding star, lend thy light,
see the eatern wise men bring,
Gifts and homage to our King,
Jesus, the Saviour is born.
Text courtesy of the National Library New Zealand -Papers Past NZ https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MTBM19391220.2.6
The words of this sacred song were written by Vicar Josef Mohr and the music by school teacher Franz Xaver Gruber, who at it's fiirst performance, on December 24, 1818, accompanied himself on a guitar.
The identical musucial instrument was to be used by Professor Felix Gruber, the grandson of the composer, in singing the carol after the consecration & opening of the chapel at Oberndorf, near Salzburg - text courtesy of Evening Star, Issue 22769, 2 October 1937 Papers Past NZ
Mozart's Grand Piano
When @Lizzie placed online about the Month of Celebration topic, in my wisdom I thought, what can I write about that may be different so I looked up the year "1818", 200 years ago, in Papers Past and have come up with an array of Past, Present and future items I hope we all can take inspiration from, share, reflect, reminisce and reflect on for the betterment of the whole world.
In advance, for those of you reading this topic, I will be posting images that may use up Data on your internet plan so if you are on Limited data save it to read when you are on another device
A time for Reflection - One Tree Hill , Auckland, New Zealand Sheep and lambs that have recently been shorn having a drink and reflective moment under the trees...2018
@Helen427 Thanks, Helen, a very interesting piece about Christmas history!
Growing up, this was always a favourite carol and looking forward to singing them all again next week when we visit our family. Will look up 'Paperspast'
Is Austria where you come from? ;-)
@Βασίλης & AnnI've visited Austria when I went on my big OE and recall all the beautiful painted homes in the rural areas and the delightful lakes.
New Zealand and Austria have long held ties with many Austrian's settling here to do gum digging.
They were/ are incredibly hard workers.
I personally am not from Austria but have met them on my travels both here and around the world
Mince-Pies. — Most people enjoy a mince-pie, and many are content to enjoy it, without asking why we eat it at Christmas time. It is a custom which has come down to us from very early ages, but the first mince-pie was not quite like the one we hope to enjoy this Christmas. It was not round, but was shaped something like a cradle, and was eaten at Christmas in remembrance of the manger of the Infant Christ. The spice 9 inside it represented the gifts of the Three Wise Men, or Magi, as they are sometimes called. It is said that if you eat a mince-pie each day from Christmas Day to Twelfth Night, you may -be sure of 12 months of happiness.
DECREE IN GREECE. PROSECUTION THREAT. ATHENS, December 20. Henceforth Greece will have no more Christmas trees if the decree just issued by the new Minister of Agriculture is enforced. The new decree makes anyone found in the possession of a Christmas tree liable to prosecution. The reason is that Greece, and especially Attica, is largely without trees. They have four enemies—the goat, the caterpillar, the forest fire and the Christmas tree. To muzzle the goat, as the Austrians did in their time in the Bocche di Cattaro, would be in Greece as difficult as to muzzle the Greek politician. But the Christmas tree, which last year was responsible for the destruction of 15,000 trees, can, and should, be prevented. In Greece it is not a national institution, but an importation from Germany. Th& reafforestation of Attica would improve the climate and provide a barrier against the north wind; one night's amusement is a light sacrifice for such an excellent and permanent object. ;
Attica is where the recent tragic forest Fires were in Greece, may we all take time to remember these people at Christmas time x
I read somewhere once that, after the Civil War (our own little revolution in the UK), the Puritans banned Christmas pudding as it was considered a decadent frivolity and that no one had ever bothered to reverse the law. So, technically Christmas puddings are still illegal in the UK, even though you can buy them in every supermarket.
I am not sure if that's true or not, but it made me laugh.
WHAT does "Christmas music" suggest to the average music - lover ? Traditional carols, of course ; perhaps Corelli's Christmas Concerto, Haydn's Christmas Symphony, the Christmas oratorios of Bach and Saint-Saens, possibly even Mendelssohn's "Christmas Pieces," and almost certainly Handel's "Messiah." The staying power of the latter and the vitality of the best Christmas carols alone are enough to raise the level of Christmas music far above that of Easter music. Comparatively Recent r ln contrast to the events of the Nativity, most of the music that I have named is comparatively recent. But then music, as we think of it to-day, is a relatively young art. The "Messiah" celebrated its bicentenarV two years ago. The most ancient English carol that can be dated ("The Boar's Head") goes back to lo'il. - The word carol itself is much older. It contains the same root as the word "chorus," and originally meant a dancing song. The custom of carolling is lire-Christian and, like Christmas cakes and candles, was one of the pagan observances taken over by Christianity The original carol was joyous, it had religious or seasonal significance. It was popular, that is it was sung by the common people; hence a certain simplicity and directness that sometimes merged into crudeness. There was also a pastoral element. In Italy the association of shepherd life" with the Nativity accounts for bagpipe music performed before images of the Virgin. However far removed the soft sweetness of muted strings is from the bagpipes, this was the acknowledged source of Handel's Pastoral Symphony in the "Messiah." It is also probably the source of the pastorale in Corelli's Christmas Concerto. The latter has also been Regarded as a musical counterpart of Botticelli's "Nativity."
By A, C. KEYS
A pastoral unto of a diU'erem kind is found Hardy's "Under the Greenwood Tree," where the old string players and village choir of Melstock go out un a frosty Christmas Eve and make their time-honoured round This outdoor tradition is perpetuated even in
this country by brass bands of widelyvarying proficiency. Our oldest English carol has a secular rather than a religious background. As the steward of Queen's College, Oxford, entered the dining hall bearing a large tray he sang The boar's head in hand bear 1, Bedecked with bays and rosemary. But the more usual type of carol, which lias now come to mean rather a Christmas hymn, dwells more appropriately on the less material aspects of the festive season. As Christinas is a period of goodwill among men, it is fitting that many of our best carols are of foreign origin. The very word "Nowell," so common as a refrain that it is almost a synonym for carol, is simply the French word for Christmas. "0 come all ye faithful" is known to millions by its opening Latin words "Adeste fideles." Hut the Latin words were in all probability composed in the 17th century by a 1< ranchman. The tune is probably English. One of the loveliest of carols is another French one sung to the English words "Whence conies this goodly fragrance." Equally beautiful is'"Holy Night," often regarded as a German folk song, though it is also found in books of French songs. Its dual nationality may be due to the fact that both words and music appear to be of Alsatian origin. Like many other German "folk songs." this is relatively recent. It dates from 1818. Eighteenth Century The words of "When ■ shepherds watched their flocks" are the work of the poet Nahutn Pate (1702), though the time is a century older. Also of the 18th century is "Christians Awake!" The other well-known Christmas hymn "Hark! the herald angels sing" helongs to Charles Wesley and Mendelssohn, but the well-known tune was composed almost exactly a century after the words Since the days of the Puritans carols have tended to become more serious and less joyous. Hut modern carols hy such musicians as Peter Warlock, Arnold Bax and Vaugliau Williams are a great advance on the later 19th century efforts. Only the passing of tuna mi decide whether the best of these e:i ii take their place alongside those that have already become an integral part of the Christmas tradition.
3 Ingredient Christmas Cake
|1 kg||Dried fruit, mixed|
|2¾ cups||Self raising flour|
|1 sprinkle||Icing sugar, optional Directions|
Anyone up for making one of these pies for Christmas?
I understand that Sir Henry Grey was not a direct ancestor but belonged to the same Northumbrian family of Lord Grey and is an ancestor of Earl Grey who make Earl Grey tea
(By Hugh Elliott.) Whatever our forefathers of past centuries lacked, they certainly had plenty of tempting Christmas fare, and the appetite to eat it. Take, for example, the dinner to which Pepys sat down on Christmas Day, 1658, which consisted of "a dish of marrow bones, a leg of mutton, and a loin of veal; three pullets and a dozen - larks, all in a great dish. Also a great tart, a neat’s tongue, a dish of anchovies and prawns and cheese.” And what hungry Briton of to-day would not hail a Christmas pie like that provided for his guests in 1770 by a Sir Henry Grey? “It was,” we read, “nine feet in circumference, weighed 1651 b., and contained among other inredients four geese, layo turkeys, two rabbits, four wild duck, two snipe, seven blackbirds, and half-a-dozen pigeons.” This leviathan pie, we are told, “was brought round a I table on a four-wheeled truck specially constructed for the purpose.” A few years earlier the gave a Christmas supper, the principal feature of which was a colossal cake crowned by the presentment in sugar of a chaise and six horses, with coachmen and footmen, and Lady Yarmouth seated inside. A Frenchman who visited England a couple of centuries ago waxes eloquent over his Christmas pie, which seems to have been in high favour as a Yuletide delicacy. This delicious “nostrum,” as he calls it, was a “most learned mixture of neats’