Manage episode 315155825 series 3011593
It is hard to imagine a midnight Mass on Christmas Eve without Silent Night. Musicians may treat it differently—singing it a cappella, with spare chords on the organ in the background, or to the gentle picking of a guitar as its creators intended—but it is universally cherished. Its basic three-chord structure makes it a cinch to play and its lilting rhythm is perfect to soothe a congregation and lull a baby to sleep—even to sing to a president breathing his last. But it has also been usurped for evil.
Join host Maggi Van Dorn on this final episode of “Hark!” as she plumbs the historical and emotional depths of this Austria-born classic with Jesuit priest Ed Schmidt and Rusty McDermott, the songbird mother of another Jesuit. To pull apart the chords and arpeggios of Silent Night, we invited back Colin Britt, the composer and conductor we spoke to in episode three about “Hark! the herald angels sing.”
Special thanks to the Liturgy Arts Group at Boston College, One Hope Project, Harpa Dei, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir; Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir, Convivium Records and the Ignatian Schola for allowing us to play their recordings of Silent Night.
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Ed Schmidt's article for America: Is ‘Silent Night’ the greatest Christmas song ever?
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