not so silent night is a reworking of the traditional carol Silent Night. The original carol (Stille Nacht) was written in 1818 by a church organist, Franz Gruber, using lyrics (in German) by a young priest named Joseph Mohr. An English version (Silent Night) with lyrics by John Freeman Young, an Episcopalian priest based in New York City, was published in 1859 and is still widely sung today.
The first half of not so silent night is essentially a shifting collage of phrases and fragments from the carol as we know it: hushed, quiet and slow – but the piece then morphs into something stronger and more powerful. The original German lyrics are actually much punchier than the cosy manger scene suggested by the English version: the hour of salvation “hits us” (Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund`), “all power of fatherly love poured forth” (alle Macht Väterlicher Liebe ergoβ), and the angels“ sounded forth loudly far and near” (Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah). There was really quite a racket going on in those hills.
You might also hear that the piano accompanies the first half (very slowly) with a well known tune!
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