Thursday, December 23, 2010

All is calm, all is bright

Dear Mssrs. Gruber and Mohr,

Thank you for writing a beautiful Christmas hymn. Stille Nacht has always been a favorite because of it's beautiful melody and simple statement of reverence for the Savior.  I'm sure I'm butchering the language when I sing it in German, but I'm also sure you don't mind.

Gratefully,
Amanda

Dear Mr. Young,

What is UP with your translation? Thanks to you, I JUST figure out what was "round yon virgin" and that "beams" is a verb. A verb!! Trained musicians, particularly vocalists, look for phrase markings and punctuation marks for their musical phrasing, but even they fall victim to phrasing with the sound of the music, and this song DEFINITELY has distinct musical phrasing. Your translation cuts off the phrase and the meaning of the words doesn't exactly follow it.  "All is bright round yon virgin" is totally different from the way people mindlessly sing it - "All is bright. Round yon virgin" The same problem exists with the third verse, which most sing as "Love's pure light. Radiant beams from thy holy face" instead of "Love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face".  Once again, beams is a verb!? I had no idea.

Fail.

Mostly kidding because I still love this song,
Amanda

Here's a more clear translation of the original German - clicky.  My goal from now on will be to sing this song with the proper phrasing, so that those who hear me sing it will know that beams is a verb.

A verb!

3 comments:

Heidi said...

Thanks to the billion different arrangements of this I've sung since high school, I am one of the musicians who tries to sing it correctly.

Giggles said...

You are very right on the phrasing. Also, who knew we sang versus 1, 6, and then 2? Not me. And you made Brett laugh.

Brad said...

very informative blog! getting hooked to it.. keep up the awesome work! :)

Brad Fallon