Tracing the song „Silent Night” at Lake Achensee
The story of "Silent Night" began in Salzburg, but the song became famous thanks to the Tirolean singer Ludwig Rainer. A legend in his own lifetime, Rainer was a star who inspired people from Russia to America until he retired at the most beautiful place in the world (quote from Rainer), Lake Achensee.
Rainer’s career began when he was 17 and 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 many 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.
When Ludwig Rainer returned from his travels in 1869, he settled at Lake Achensee and built the Seehof on the eastern lakeshore. Furnished with a touch of urbane chic, the Seehof - hotel, inn, and cafe - opened its doors in 1870. Guests came from all over Europe, from Scotland to Constantinople, from Paris to St. Petersburg: musicians, composers, writers, singers, and dancers.
The Seehof chapel and the gravesite of the famous singer in Achenkirch can still be visited today. "Much suffered, much travelled and much sung" are the words he chose for his tombstone. Visitors can explore these special places self-guided or on organized guided tours.