Franz Xaver Gruber (1787 - 1863)
Of relatively humble origin, the Austrian composer Franz Gruber served as choirmaster and organist in several provincial Austrian churches, finally as choirmaster at Hallein.
Gruber is remembered, above all, for his Christmas carol Stille Nacht (‘Silent Night’), now enshrined almost as a folksong. It was written in 1818 in response to a request from one of the parish clergy at St Nikolaus in Oberndorf, where Gruber spent 13 years as choirmaster and organist. He made, otherwise, a fairly prolific contribution to Austrian Catholic liturgical music.