Franz Xaver Gruber (25 November 1787 – 7 June 1863),
was an Austrian primary school teacher and church
organist in the village of Arnsdorf. At the same time
he was organist and choirmaster at St Nicholas Church
in the neighboring village of Oberndorf bei Salzburg
and then in later years moved on to Hallein,
Together with Joseph Mohr, a Catholic priest who wrote
the original German lyrics, Gruber composed the music
for the Christmas carol Silent Night. On Christmas Eve
of 1818, Mohr, an assistant pastor at St Nicholas,
showed Gruber a six-stanza poem he had written in 1816.
He asked Gruber to set the poem to music. The church
organ had broken down so Gruber produced a melody with
guitar arrangement for the poem. The two men sang
"Stille Nacht" for the first time at Christmas Mass in
St Nicholas Church while Mohr played guitar and the
choir repeated the last two lines of each verse.
Although this carol was originally created for Chorus
(SATB), I created this arrangement for String Quartet
(2 Violins, Viola & Cello).