The story of the song “Silent Night” began in Salzburg, but the song became famous thanks to a Tirolean singer: Ludwig Rainer. Already during his lifetime he was a star who inspired people from Russia to America – and finally retired at the most beautiful place in the world (quote Rainer), Lake Achensee.
Rainer – the pop star
His career began at the age of 17 when a family friend took him on tour. From Munich, where they often performed in front of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, the journey continued across Germany. The success of the musicians had spread and so the “Rainer Singers” were booked for an American tour. They gave numerous concerts, and at Christmas they sang in front of the Alexander Hamilton Monument. Among other songs they played “Silent Night”. The Rainer singers were so successful that their American tour lasted four years, they toured from New York to New Orleans, mostly by ship and horse carriage.
Rainer’s Seehof at the Achensee
When Ludwig Rainer returned from his travels in 1869, he settled at Lake Achensee. The businessman built the Seehof on the eastern shore of the lake. Furnished with a touch of urbane chic, the Seehof – hotel, inn and cafe – opened its doors in 1870. Guests came from all over Europe: musicians, composers, writers, singers and dancers, from Scotland to Constantinople, from Paris to St. Petersburg. The Seehof Chapel can still be visited today as well as the gravesite of the famous singer in Achenkirch. “Much suffered, much travelled and much sung” are the words he chose for his tombstone.
Silent Night – Holy Night
Today, the song “Silent Night! Holy Night” is an international cultural and musical heritage which 200 years later is sung by people in over 300 languages around the world. Information about the guided tour “Silent Night, Holy Night – Following in the footsteps of Ludwig Rainer” can be found here.