Christmas Posts 2016 part 7

I’m not religious – but I do enjoy a fair amount of what might be termed religious music. As well as choral works, singing Christmas carols is kinda fun, just as much musically part of Christmas to me as much of the music I have posted here over the last few weeks.  And my absolute favourite Christmas carol of all is ‘Silent Night.’

There’s an article over on Wiki about how the song was first written and performed in Austria on Christmas Eve 1818, by a priest, Father Joseph Mohr, and Franz Xaver Gruber. Mohr had first written the words in 1816, which makes it 200 years old this year. (I idly wonder how much of the music I have featured on the blog over the last ten years will be listened to in 200 years’ time.) Written in German, the original version is Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht. According to Wiki, during the famous Christmas Day Truce in 1914, it was sung by both British and German troops simultaneously as it was one carol both sides knew.

It has been performed by many, many artists over the years. Sinead O’Connor, above, (who has apparently just turned fifty) recorded a version for the 1991 TV film The Ghosts Of Oxford Street.

The carol has reportedly been translated into over forty languages, and that includes Gaelic. Enya originally recorded a version in the late 1980s:

The quintessential Christmas record of the last twenty years is Low’s Christmas album. It could almost have been written with them in mind…

Meanwhile, Sufjan Stevens’ version is as ethereal as Low’s – but much more trippy…

 

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