“Silent Night” was originally a poem written in 1816 (in German) by Joseph Mohr, a young priest in Mariapfarr, Austria.
Two years later on Christmas Eve he journeyed to the home of his friend musician and schoolteacher Franz Gruber. He showed his poem to Gruber and asked him to create a melody with simple guitar accompaniment, so that it might be sung at midnight mass that evening.
And so it was: “Stille Nach, Heilige Nacht” was first heard in that year, in a little country town in Austria.
Karl Mauracher, a master organ builder from the Ziller Valley, heard Silent Night when he visited to work on the church organ. He obtained a copy a few years later and spread it in the various locations where he worked his trade.
The beautiful but simple carol, now deeply beloved world-wide, began its journey around the world, known first by the name “A Tyrolean Folk Song.”