Stille Nacht

In the Cammy Countdown of Christmas Favorites, Silent Night is, and always has been, number one.  And since it’s my birthday (at least it is on the side of the dateline  where I’m hanging out this holiday season), I find it oddly satisfying to get to discuss one of my favorite pieces of music.

Whether you believe the tale that Stille Nacht came into being because a snow-bound Austrian village suffered a broken pipe-organ and the priest and organist decided to team up and compose a fitting musical tribute to Christmas Eve that could be played on a guitar instead., or that  it was that the priest wanted a song that his congregation could sing in their native German tongue as opposed to the plethora of Latin hymns available, the song is, simply wonderful.

Emphasis on the simply.

It’s really not a complicated melody.  It’s simple, easy, versatile.  I’ll admit that I was shocked when I first learned that it was originally written to be far more upbeat and snappy than the slow lullaby-esque version most of us are familiar with.  It works either way.  Speed it up, slow it down, use a full bodied orchestral arrangement, or strip it down to a single vocalist with an acoustic guitar–musically, it’s the little-black-dress of tunes that works no matter the occasion.

Maybe it’s the flexibility of the tune that’s led to the spread.  It’s been translated in to dozens if not hundreds of languages.  I’ve heard versions in Norwegian, Italian, English and, of course, German.  It’s been a common denominator in a pause on a battle field (“Belleau Wood” by Garth Brooks being a fine musical take off on Silent Night in the Christmas Truce….just try to ignore the fact that the battle of Belleau wood was fought in June).  But mostly?  It gives me the warm and fuzzies like no other piece of music in the world.

So, no matter what your beliefs or non-beliefs, and no matter whether your share Cammy’s obsession with Silent Night, we here at MTV, MPB hope you all get the warm and fuzzies tonight, tomorrow night and every night throughout the winter season (onces it warms up, we only wish you fuzzies, not heat).