This is a medley of two historic Christmas carols: the Austrian “Stille Nacht” (1855 version, written in 1818 by Franz Gruber) and the Italian “Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle. (Literally, “Thou descended from the stars.”)
The 2008 Mascioni organ in the little church at Giubiasco, near Lugano, in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, has a Zimbelstern, a beautiful rotating star at the top which sounds little bells. I used it throughout these carols, for which I used soft stops so you can better hear the bells.
“Tu scendi dalle stelle” was written around 1732 by Saint Aphonsus Liguori in the southern part of Italy (near Naples), and, as I have watched over the past few years, it is the final number in the Pope’s midnight mass in St. Peters, when he (or someone else) carries the Baby Jesus to the manger. I also learned from an Italian missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with whom we were serving in Italy for 18 months, that in his home in Bari, they have a tradition of having the youngest child, who could walk, carry the Baby Jesus from the farthest place in the house, leading a family procession, to lay Him in the manager in their family presepio (Nativity set, which nearly all Italian families have), while they all sang “Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle.”
Anyway, I feel the Christmas Spirit when I hear these sweet historic carols.