Father Sandesh Manuel, the singing priest, is back with a stirring rendition of “Silent Night.” The Franciscan priest, who serves at Vienna’s Franciscan Church, released the recording in December 2020, just in time for Christmas. The work joins dozens of other musical recordings that Fr. Manuel has produced at a prolific pace since November 2019.
There’s something that seems so fitting about a priest in Germany singing “Silent Night.” This may be because it was a German priest who wrote the original lyrics. In 1816, Father Joseph Mohr penned the lyrics and brought them to organist Franz Xaver Gruber, who composed the melody associated with the tune. The writing of the song even took place in the state of Salzburg, where Vienna and Father Sandesh are located.
In his brown Franciscan robes, Fr. Sandesh sings the timeless tune in a gentle, lilting tenor. Supported by his own exemplary guitar work, Fr. Sandesh is joined by a choir of voices. The layered voices were skillfully done and their voice parts were written with very modern chord movement that we didn’t expect. The video has Fr. Sandesh sitting in a cozy room that recalls childhood Christmases before a fire. Overall it’s a wonderfully comforting three minutes of music.
As Fr. Sandesh serves the German-speaking community of Vienna, he sings the tune with the original German lyrics. His diction is impeccable throughout the piece, which doesn’t even really require subtitles, as the song is so well known. Be that as it may, the video was produced with English subtitles so that all can follow along. Enjoy!