Summary Of In Stiller Nacht

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In stiller Nacht Program Notes
Johannes Brahms was a great lover and collector of German folksongs. He owned many published collections and kept a notebook of favorite folk melodies. Brahms made arrangements of at least 108 folk songs, of which over half were for chorus. Most of them were written for specific choirs, which he directed. Brahms created an earlier arrangement of “In stiller Nacht” for women’s voices, titled “Todtenklage” (WoO 36, no. 1), for the Hamburg Frauenchor, which he conducted from 1859 to 1862. He rearranged the song for mixed voices for the Wiener Singakademie, which he conducted for the 1863-64 season. Brahms published the 14 arrangements he made for the Singakademie as Deutches Volkslieder für vierstimmigen Chor in 1864. “In stiller Nacht” is the first song of the second volume and the most popular. Brahms scholars long believed that Brahms composed the melody himself. However, recent research has revealed that he learned the melody in the late 1850s from Friedrich Wilhelm Arnold, an editor of medieval and Renaissance music, collector and arranger of folk songs, and publisher of recent music by Robert Schumann and others. Although the text of “In stiller Nacht” appears to be secular, it is actually based on “Trawer-Gesang von der Noth Christi am Oelberg in dem Garten” (“Song of Mourning over the Distress of Christ in the Garden on the Mount of Olives”) by the Jesuit poet Friedrich Spee (1591-1635). The poem was first published in 1635 and included in
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