Quotable quotes
Music, the speech of angels

"Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine."
-Thomas Carlyle
(1795-1881), Scottish-born English historian and essayist who was a leading figure in the Victorian era.

"All the sounds of the earth are like music."
-Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), American lyricist who wrote the scripts and lyrics for serveral popular muscial comedies, including South Pacific and Oklahoma.

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
-Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), English novelist and essayist whose reputation was firmly established by his first novel, Crome Yellow.

"Music...can name the unnamable and communicate the unknowable."
-Leonard Bernstein
(1918-1990), American composer, conductor, author and lecturer who had a dramatic impact on audiences' appreciation of classical music

"Music - the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."- Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German composer who went deaf and became a recluse in later years.

"Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body." - Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935), United States Supreme Court justice for more than 30 years.

24 December 1818

The birth of Silent Night

Varsity File Photo
Christmas lights give color to Christmas Eve.


On 24 decemeber 1818, the famous Christmas carol Silent Night was sung for the first time in German, in St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria. The song was a mixed work of Fr. Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber.

The lyrics were a poem written by Fr. Joseph in 1816, when he was a young priest. The poem was a moving expression of faith, putting the miracle of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ as a human child into simple words that folks could understand.

Two years later, on Christmas Eve, Mohr went to Mr.Gruber's home. Mr. Gruberwas a friend of Fr. Joseph and also a music teacher. Fr. Joseph shared the poem with Mr. Gruber and asked him to give it a melody so that it could be sung at the midnight service, celebrating the birth of Christ.

Later that evening, the two men, together with the choir stood in front of the main altar in St. Nicholas Church and sang the new boen carol. At that time, one could hardly imagine the impact that the carol would have on the world.

Weeks later, master organ builder Karl Mauracher obtained a copy of the composition when he was fixing the St. Nicholas Church organ and took it home. There, two well-known families of folk singers - the Rainers and the Strassers - incorporated the song into their Christmas season repertoire. The Strasser sisters spread the carol throughout northern Europe. In 1834, following their performance of Silent Night for King Frederick William IV of Prussia, he ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas Eve.

Silent Night now has been translated into nearly 300 languages. The message of heavenly peace sets the theme for Christmas celebrations. The song has crossed all borders and language barriers of the world.