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Silent Night is named UK's favourite carol

By Anthony Barnes

Silent Night has recaptured affections to be named the UK's favourite Christmas carol for the first time in 12 years.

The tune, written to tide over a midnight Mass after mice had put a church organ out of action, has ousted O Holy Night, which has held the position since 2003 but is now ranked second in the annual poll for Classic FM radio.

Silent Night - first translated into English in 1863 - has had a timely return to the top as it was sung between the trenches during the Christmas truce in 1914. The UK has held a number of commemorative events this year to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Legend has it that the carol was written after mice nibbled through the bellows of the organ at St Nicholas Church in Obendorf, Austria.

With no time to fix the instrument for midnight Mass on Christmas Eve 1818, the priest, Father Joseph Mohr, asked friend Franz Gruber to compose music to accompany a poem he had written two years earlier, Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht, and it was arranged for choir and guitar.

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