Winter in Oberösterreich

A composition that swept.
Upper Austria.

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Did you know that...

...the composer of "Stille Nacht" (Silent Night) was born in Upper Austria?

Franz Xaver Gruber was born in Hochburg-Ach in 1787. His parents were linen weavers and Franz Xaver too was intended for this profession. However, his teacher secretly encouraged his musical talent. At the age of twelve, Franz replaced his sick teacher on the organ. It went so well that his father agreed to let him train as a teacher and organist. Thereafter Franz became a teacher in the Salzburg town of Arnsdorf and later took on the post of organist in Oberndorf in 1816, where he met assistant priest Josef Mohr. It was a meeting that would change things forever...

On the trail of F. X. Gruber

Upper Austria and the Silent Night

The house where Franz Xaver Gruber was born was torn down in 1927. However, the Franz Xaver Gruber Memorial House in Hochburg-Ach is a historical property that is very similar to the original birthplace. Among other things, it houses a pianoforte on which Gruber played and a weaving loom on which he worked. The pageant "Die Suche nach der Stillen Nacht" (Seeking Silent Night) is performed here every year at Christmas. The audience is plunged into Gruber's childhood, into the hard everyday life of the time, and into the longing for peace in a hostile age.

The Franz Xaver Gruber Peace Path with its five stations around Hochburg aims to strengthen the global message of peace captured in this Christmas hymn. Five sculptures depict the continents supported by angel wings; verses from the hymn and from the Bible can be read on them.

Silent Night

Sung by the St. Florian Boys' Choir

The St. Florian Boys' Choir is one of the oldest institutions in Upper Austria's musical landscape. It has been around since 1071, when the Augustinian Canons first took over St. Florian's Abbey.

Over the centuries, the St. Florian Boys' Choir has produced some outstanding musicians. Perhaps the best-known "Florianer" to date is the composer Anton Bruckner.

Pictures of the St. Florian Boys' Choir are available in the choir web shop.

Boys' Choir web shop
The "Asia" station on the Franz Xaver Gruber Peace Path in Hochburg-Ach in winter, with the sculpture shaped like the continent; wooden instrument and information panel

A song that swept the world

Shortly before Christmas Eve in 1818. The organ in the church at Oberndorf isn't working. So assistant priest Josef Mohr gives his organist, Franz Xaver Gruber from the Upper Austrian region of Innviertel, a poem he wrote. His task: to set the lines to music in such a way that the song can be accompanied by the guitar.

Tyrolean organ builders take the new song home and it spreads quickly among their fellow countrymen. First in the German-speaking world, then in America. Soon the hymn has embarked on a journey from continent to continent, as the Franz Xaver Gruber Peace Path in Hochburg-Ach depicts.

Today, "Silent Night" is sung all around the world and has been translated into more than 300 languages.