Gruber, Franz Xaver

Composer

b Unterweizburg, nr Hochburg, Upper Austria 1787, d Hallein, nr Salzburg 1863. As a boy he worked at the loom with his family of weavers. His parents were unwilling for him to develop his musical talents, but he went secretly to the village schoolmaster and organist who taught him to play the violin and organ and compose for them. At the age of 12 he stood in for his teacher when the latter was taken ill, which moved his father to a change of heart. The lad then left home to study with Hartdobler, the organist at Burghausen. From 1807 to 1829 he taught in the village church (RC) school at Arnsdorf nr Salzburg, and from 1816 was also organist and cantor at Oberndorf. In 1829 he moved to Berndorf as Headmaster, then in 1833 was appointed to Hallein as organist and choirmaster, founding the Hallein Choral Soc. Most of his sacred music and German songs, although rediscovered in the 1980s in a local printer’s archives, remains unpublished. See also Silent Night, Holy Night, ed A Schmaus and L Kriss-Rettenbeck, Innsbruck, 1968. No.377.