I am leafing through pages from Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Fifth Edition with 1971 Supplement. This is inspired by a book I just discarded (I left it at a thrift shop having read about 2 pages) in which the author read the Oxford English Dictionary and commented on the pursuit by filling a book with comments and observations on the words he encountered during this journey through over 21,000 pages. I will randomly look through pages of Baker’s and see what I will learn.
Franz Xaver Gruber. 1787-1863. As far as I can tell he wrote one piece of music, that being none other than the immortal song Silent night, Holy Night. That is certainly a beautiful song for which to be remembered but seeing his name in Baker’s prompted me to look around and see if Gruber composed anything else. I cannot find even a reference to anything else he might have written, though folklore-like stories of the famous song’s creation abound. There is actually a Silent Night Museum in Austria. Interestingly (but not surprisingly) the original melody differs somewhat from what is sung today. Find audio of the original melody here.