One of the most beloved of all the carols is the lovely and elegant, Silent Night. The story behind this carol started way back in 1816 in Austria when a pastor named Joseph Mohr wrote the simple words as a poem. Then, as Destiny would have it, two years later on Christmas Eve, the organ in Pastor Mohr’s church broke down just before the Christmas Mass. Determined that the Mass should not be without music, Mohr gave the poem he had written two years earlier to his organist and friend, Fanz Gruber. Gruber immediately composed the melody and arranged it for two voices, choir and guitar – just in time for the midnight service.
The first two verses of "Away in a Manger" were originally published in a Lutheran Sunday school book in 1885. Two years later, James R. Murray published it as "Luther's Cradle Hymn," thus creating the misconception that Luther had written it. Although some attribute the words to Luther, they are usually considered American anonymous. Some credit the music to Murray; others think he merely harmonized an old German folk song. the words are frequently sung to the tune of the Scottish song "Flow Gently Sweet Afton."
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