The Original “Silent Night” (SATB/SSAA/TTBB) – English or German

By | December 24, 2014

Here is an arrangement of the beloved carol “Silent Night” that attempts to recreate how it might have been performed for the first time on Christmas Eve 1818 in Oberndorf, Austria. It is based on an undated manuscript by Franz Gruber (1787-1863) known as “Gruber – Autograph VII.” It begins with a duet that can either be sung by soloists, small ensembles, or choir sections.  The choral parts in the Tutti section have been added. This edition provides all six stanzas in their original order with the carol’s original melody in a new English translation. Up to twelve soloists can be involved in one performance, so this piece is a great way to involve yours singers in a church service or a concert.

Accompaniment can vary depending on available resources. This edition includes Gruber’s own keyboard accompaniment as well as guitar chords. Parts for instruments are currently being developed. A Reprint Edition is also available if directors would like to print the text and Refrain in a bulletin or program so that a congregation or audience can follow and sing along (see below). A Reprint License is required for that purpose. All proceeds go to charity.

I have found the original text and melody to be quite refreshing. The elegance of the original melody is delightful and the original order and fullness of the original text is more profound. I especially like Stanza 6 which says that the shepherds first proclaimed the Good News because of the angels’ “Alleluia!” and then, with the imperative “Tönt es,” tells us all to also proclaim, “Jesus, the Savior is here! Jesus, the Savior is here!”

This arrangement is available in three different voicings and in either English or German. Each edition can be performed by small or large ensembles. Follow the links below for review copies or more information.

Mixed ChoirReview Copy (English)   •   Review Copy (German)  •   Ordering Information

Treble Choir – Review Copy (English)   •   Review Copy (German)  •   Ordering Information

Male Choir –  Review Copy (English)   •   Review Copy (German)  •   Ordering Information

Reprint Edition – Review Copy (Letter Full)   •   Ordering Information