Silent Night

A transcendent setting of the beloved carol. Commemorating the very first performance of this classic carol — when the organ was broken, and they made do with guitar — the opening verse is sung very simply in two parts, with the piano accompaniment mimicking a finger-picked guitar.  In the ensuing verses, richness of harmony and instrumentation builds to a transcendent peak in the final verse, where the sopranos rise like angels above the rest of the choir.


This score is published by Boosey & Hawkes. Press “Order Score” or click here to view and listen. Available as: SATB piano with optional flute, oboe and strings.

Additional instrumentation for brass, woodwinds, and percussion is available. To get these parts, please contact



Some things in life really do turn out perfectly, such as the melody of Silent Night.  Its graceful arcs unfold in a unusually satisfying way; its six phrases take the listener on a very complete little journey, using every note in a span of an octave and a half, yet feeling perfectly natural as it does so.  (If one counts the number of times each note is used, one discovers an almost perfect “bell curve” distribution of incidence, with the middle notes receiving the most usage, and the highest two and lowest two notes only being used once.)  God bless Franz Gruber for this inspiration that blesses and will continue to bless for centuries.

This arrangement was created as part of the finale for the 2004 CBS Christmas Eve Special “Enter the Light of Life.”  It was such a highlight to be involved in that project, and I’ll enjoy a short trip down memory lane to credit the wonderful musicians who brought it to life. Ryan Harrison sang the opening solo, joined by Kimberly Murray Poli on the alto harmony (and the final descant).  The Juniata College Concert Choir, led by Russell Shelley, provided the choral textures, with Christine Wilkinson (violin), Deanna Brown (viola), Erin Flory (oboe), and Emily Tyler (flute) adding their beautiful instrumental lines.  Accompaniment was contributed by Steve Kinzie (guitar), Jacob Jolliff (mandolin), Marilyn Sexton Mason (organ), and yours truly (piano).

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