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The Quempas is an early modern compilation of three Latin Christmas carols , namely Quem pastores laudavere and Nunc angelorum gloria , to which an extension (" trope ") occurs on the melody of Resonet in laudibus .

Today's Quempas singing is based on the musical traditions of Michael Praetorius


The oldest sources, including the Hohenfurt manuscript Ms. 28 , date from the 15th century; The individual songs are likely to be older, well probably the custom that in Christmas church services ( Midnight Mass , Christmas vespers or Mass on Christmas Day ) the first song (sometimes the second) line by line (solo and unanimously) alternating with students or student choirs (also polyphonic ), which were set up in all four corners of the church (“The Quempas is about”).

German versions have been documented since the 16th century, the best known being that of Michael Praetorius , Musae Sioniae 1607, with the German text "Den die Hirten praise sehre" by Matthäus Ludecus and "Today to be the dear angels" by Nikolaus Herman . In this version, the two songs are sung alternately in stanzas, each followed by the trope.

The custom of chanting Quempas also included other songs in addition to the original combination of songs and was an integral part of Christmas customs in many places , both in church services and on streets and squares.

Today the Quempas singing, which varies from region to region, is mostly no longer performed on Christmas morning, but on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning in the late Advent period. In the Erzgebirge the custom of "singing around" in the Christmas mass on Christmas morning has still been preserved. In some villages their own traditional melodies from the 17th and 18th centuries have been preserved until today.

Via the Erzgebirge composer Rudolf Mauersberger (1889–1971), this tradition also found its way into the liturgy of Christmas mass and Christmas vespers of the Dresden Kreuzchor .

In 1930 Wilhelm Thomas and Konrad Ameln published a collection of old Christmas carols under the title Das Quempas-Heft ( Bärenreiter-Verlag , Kassel, artistically designed by Helmuth Uhrig ) and thus stimulated the Quempas singing anew.

Original text

In the following full text, the three different song sources are indicated by indentation.

Latin text

Quem pastores laudavere,
Quibus angeli dixere:
Absit vobis iam timere,
Natus est, Rex gloriae.

    Nunc angelorum gloria
    Resplenduit in mundo,

    Novi partus gaudia
    virgo Mater produxit,
    Et Sol verus
    in tenebris illuxit;

        natus hodie ex virgine,
        Sine virili semine
        est natus Rex.

Ad quem magi ambulabant,
Aurum, thus, myrrham portabant,
Immolabant haec sincere
Leoni victoriae.

    Culpae datur hodie
    Laetetur homo reus.

    Lux de caelo claruit
    pace jam reparata,
    Et genitrix
    permansit illibata.

        natus hodie ex virgine,
        Sine virili semine
        est natus Rex.

Et exsultemus cum Maria,
in caelesti hierarchia,
natum promant voce pia,
dulci cum melodia.

    Magnum nouns Domini,
    Quod est: nobiscum Deus,

    Redemptori Domino
    redempti jubilemus;
    Hic est dies
    et annus jubilaeus.

        Pueri, concinnite
        et psallite,
        Voce pia dicite
        et plaudite.

Christo Regi Deo nato,
Per Mariam nobis dato,
Merito resonet vere
Laus, honor et gloria.

    Pastores palam dicite
    in Bethlehem,
    qui genuit Maria.

    Laus, honor et gloria
    sit Deo in excelsis,
    hominibus pax
    bonae voluntatis.

        Sion lauda Dominum
        cum plausibus
        salvatorem hominum
        in saecula.

German text

Whom the shepherds praised
and the angels much more,
never fear more,
you are born a king of honor.

    Today the dear     little angels appeared
    in a bright light
at night to
    the shepherds, who     guarded their little sheep
    in the moonlight
in the wide field.
    We want to reveal great joy and good fairy tales to you,
    which are
    to happen to you and all the world ."

        God's Son was born
        man, was born man,
        has reconciled the anger of
        the father, the anger of the father.

To whom the kings came ridden, they brought
gold, frankincense and myrrh in the middle.
They fell on their knees:
Praise be to you, Lord, here.

    “His 'son, who divine majesty gave
    let become a' man.
    A Virgin has given birth to him
    in the town of David,
    because you will find him
    lying in eim manger
    naked, naked and miserable,
    that he all the miseries of
    you turn. "

        God's Son geborn man
        geborn is man,
        reconciled has the father's anger,
        the father's wrath.

Rejoice today with Mary
in the heavenly Hierarchia,
as the angels are singing
high up in heaven all over the place.

    Then the angels sang:
    “Give praise
    and glory to God alone in heaven.
    United will be peace on earth,
    the solln to rejoice
    all men, honor
    and a pleasure han:
    The Savior has come,
    has you bear with
    . The meat taken it "

        God's Son geborn man,
        man is geborn,
        has reconciled the Father anger ,
        the father's wrath.

Praise, all of you human beings,
Son of God from the kingdom of heaven;
Give him now and always more
praise and praise and thanks and honor.

    The shepherds said: “Well then,
    let us gawk
    and experience these things
    which the Lord has made known to us;
    let the cattle go,
    he will keep
    in the meantime . ” Then they found the little child wrapped in a handkerchief,
    which fills all the world
    with his grace.

        God's Son was born man, was born
        has reconciled the anger of
        the father, the anger of the father.

Literal translation

He, whom the shepherds praised, to
whom the angels said:
“Do not be afraid!”,
He was born, the King of glory.

    Now the shine of the angels has     shone on
on earth.

    virgin mother brought forth the joys of new birth .
    And the true sun
    shone in the darkness.

        Christ, born
        today of the virgin
        without male seeds, was
        born a king.

The wise men went to him,
brought gold, frankincense and myrrh,
and sacrificed them heartily to
the lion of victory.

    Forgiveness of guilt is
    granted today .
    Let the sinner rejoice!

    Light from heaven shone,
    since peace
    had already been restored,
    and the mother was unharmed.

        Christ, born
        today of the virgin
        without male seeds, was
        born a king.

    The name of Lord
    Immanuel is great ,
    which means: God is with us.     Let us cheer

    the Lord the Savior
as the redeemed.
    This is the day
    and the year of grace .

        Boys, ring out
        and sing,         proclaim and praise
        with a pious voice

Christ, the newborn King and God, given to
us through Mary,
resound truthfully and worthy
praise, honor and glory.


  • Konrad Ameln : Quem pastores laudavere . In: Yearbook for Liturgy and Hymnology . 11, 1966, pp. 45-88, JSTOR 24193586 , Facsimile Plate VII.
  • Konrad Ameln, Wilhelm Thomas: The Quempas is going around. Past and future of a German Christmas rite . Bärenreiter, Kassel 1965.
  • Andreas Marti : Listen, it sings and sounds with noise (Quem pastores laudavere) . In: Ecumenical song commentary on the Catholic, Reformed and Christian Catholic hymns of Switzerland. Freiburg CH / Basel / Zurich 2001–2009, unpag.
  • Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann : The book of Christmas carols. Schott, Mainz 1982, ISBN 3-7957-2061-3 , pp. 123-130.
  • Antje Wissemann [Ed.], Hilde Schwenn [Illustr.]: The new Quempas. Advent and Christmas carols . Bärenreiter, Kassel 2012, ISMN 979-0-006-52957-5 (search in the DNB portal) (editions for various occupations).

Other media

  • Wolfgang Schneider, Torsten Seegert: Pomeranian Christmas - Review & rediscovery in a contemplative time , with the film DVD Rummelsburger Quempas . Heimat-Bild-Verlag, Gifhorn 2012, ISBN 978-3-942926-17-1 .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Friedrich Blume (Ed.): Michael Praetorius. Complete edition of the musical works. Volume 7: Musae Sioniae. T. 7, (1609). Georg Kallmeyer Verlag, Wolfenbüttel-Berlin 1937, p. XI u. 173–177 ( online : sheet music and audio files in the International Music Score Library Project ).
  2. a b Evangelical Hymnal , Song No. 29.
  3. ^ Heinz Grosch, Johannes Thomas:  THOMAS, Wilhelm. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 29, Bautz, Nordhausen 2008, ISBN 978-3-88309-452-6 , Sp. 1425-1433.
  4. Rev 5.5  EU