Weekend Writing Prompt #34: Christmas – Silent Night
A word and photo prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend. The prompt is “Christmas.” – Sammi Cox
“Silent Night” (German: Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht) is a popular Christmas Carol. The lyrics were written by Joseph Mohr in Salzburg, Austria. 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. The first performance of the carol was on December 24, 1818, in the Christmas Eve mass.
Over the years, because the original manuscript had been lost, Mohr’s name was forgotten and although Gruber was known to be the composer, many people assumed the melody was composed by a famous composer, and it was variously attributed to Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven. However, a manuscript was discovered in 1995 in Mohr’s handwriting and dated by researchers as c. 1820. It states that Mohr wrote the words in 1816 when he was assigned to a pilgrim church in Mariapfarr, Austria, and shows that the music was composed by Gruber in 1818. This is the earliest manuscript that exists and the only one in Mohr’s handwriting.
I selected this version of the Silent Night sung by Plácido Domingo. He has been the hero of my music endeavor.
By January 21, 2018, Domingo will be 77 years old. His singing and conducting performances are all scheduled for 2018. His motto, he claimed, was “If I rest, I rust.”
Domingo has been described in the international press as “the King of Opera.” He is well known for his versatility, regularly performing in Italian, French, German, Spanish, English, and Russian in the most prestigious opera houses in the world.
Domingo served as the artistic director (1996–2011) and general director (2003–11) of the Washington D. C. Opera, and from 2000 he was the general director of the Los Angeles Opera. In the early 2010s, he transitioned from the tenor repertory into almost exclusively baritone parts. He has sung – as of 2015 – over 3,800 performances of 147 roles.
Wow, at 70s years old, he continues to memorize singing in new roles!