How many verses of SILENT NIGHT do you know by heart? (#2)

Why are only 3 verses generally known?

In my last blog I gave you an idea of what I want to tell you for the coming blogs. Today still some more basic thoughts: 

SILENT NIGHT, this Christmas carol touches you, doesn’t it? How many verses do you know by heart? I hear you saying: three. And how many verses are there originally? You have to think, right?

There are six verses. In the German version the people normally know the first, second and sixth. And what about the other verses, are they not so important?

I say the opposite! In the 3rd, 4th and 5th verse there is the core that makes up the song!

I will give you thoughts on this in the next blogs, verse by verse.

For today the following: the three well-known verses are the ones which appeal more to our feelings – feelings which, however, have their origin in the other, less-well known verses! Amazed? Curious? Good! Let us first look at the whole around:

Silent Night must have been written under special historical and deeply personal circumstances: in 1816 in Mariapfarr, when the young priest Joseph Mohr wrote the text, and 1818 in Arnsdorf/Oberndorf, in the encounter with the teacher Franz Xaver Gruber, who created the melody for it. More about this later.

Why do only three verses touch us and why have the others almost been forgotten? They did not disappeare, they have only made themselves invisible behind the melody, they have virtually withdrawn into the depths of the human „emotional kitchen“ – but from there they powerfully steer our world! – often hidden and covered under legends! Let’s leave the legends aside, so we can look into the depths and in a new horizon to better understand what the song is all about. As I said: more detailed in later blogs.

As far as I can tell, the many translations of Silent Night into other languages often have little to do with the original text in German. It is the melody that moves many people all over the world. And nobody asks about when, where and how it was created! Strangely enough, everyone simply takes it for granted and feels it as their own. So music is the universal language into which Franz Xaver Gruber translated the song and thus opened it to the whole world. Silent Night just touches ALL people! – what was going on in Gruber and Mohr?

When did the three „emotional verses“ become detached? Silent Night was printed in Leipzig in 1832, as „true Tyrolian folksong“! – even then with only the three verses mentioned. The Strasser singers from the Zillertal had included Silent Night into their repertoire on their tours and thus made it popular in the German-speaking world – these Strasser singers, in their traditional costumes, self-confidently respected Tyrolean singers, were also merchants. And those verses, which appealed more to the emotions, could simply be sold better! And that works apparently so similarly until today.

In the next Blog I’ll talk about the first verse.

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