An older church building not far away which was destroyed by floods in the s was actual birthplace of "Silent Night. In , a roving band of actors was performing in towns throughout the Austrian Alps. On December 23 they arrived at Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg where they were to re-enact the story of Christ's birth in the small Church of St. Unfortunately, the St. Nicholas' church organ wasn't working and would not be repaired before Christmas. Note: some versions of the story point to mice as the problem; others say rust was the culprit Because the church organ was out of commission, the actors presented their Christmas drama in a private home. That Christmas presentation of the events in the first chapters of Matthew and Luke put assistant pastor Josef Mohr in a meditative mood. Instead of walking straight to his house that night, Mohr took a longer way home. The longer path took him up over a hill overlooking the village. From that hilltop, Mohr looked down on the peaceful snow-covered village.
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The version sung by Bing Crosby in is the fourth best-selling single of all-time. He had written the lyrics of the song " Stille Nacht " in at Mariapfarr , the hometown of his father in the Salzburg Lungau region, where Joseph had worked as a co- adjutor. The melody was composed by Franz Xaver Gruber , schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass, after river flooding had damaged the church organ.
Sarah Eyerly does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Over the centuries, hundreds of Christmas carols have been composed. Many fall quickly into obscurity. Volcanic ash in the atmosphere caused almost continuous storms — even snow — in the midst of summer. Crops failed and there was widespread famine. So he crafted a set of six poetic verses to convey hope that there was still a God who cared. Mohr, a gifted violinist and guitarist, could have probably composed the music for his poem.