The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Quem Pastores laudavere

For Christmas

Words: The Latin carols of Quem Pastores laudavere and Nunc Angelorum gloria.

Music: Michael Praetorius (1571 – 1621)

Source: Michael Praetorius, Puericinium (Wolfenbüttel, 1621)

1. Quem pastores laudavere,
quibus Angeli dixere
absit vobis jam timere.
natus est rex gloriae.

Nunc Angelorum gloria
hominibus
resplenduit in mundo.
Novi partus gaudia
virgo mater produxit,
at sol verus in tenebris illuxit.
Christus natus hodie ex virgine,
sine virile semine est natus rex.

2. Ad quem Magi ambulabant,
Aurum, thus, myrrham portabant,
immolabant haec sincere
leoni victoriae.

Culpae sic datur hodie
remissio;
laetatur homo reus.
Lux de coeli claruit,
pace jam reparata
et genetrix permansit illibata.
Christus natus hodie ex virgine,
sine virile semine est natus rex.

3. Exultemus cum Maria
in coelesti hierarchia;
natum premant voce pia,
dulci cum melodia.

Magnum est nomen Domini
Immanuel
quod est nobiscum Deus;
redemptori Domino
redempti jubilemus:
hic est dies et annus jubilaetus;
pueri concinite et psallite.
Voce pia dicite et plaudite.

4. Christo Regi Deo nato,
per Mariam nobis dato,
merito resonat vere
laus, honor et gloria.

Pastores palam dicite
in Bethlehem
quem genuit Maria.
Laus honor et gloria
sit Deo in excelsis,
hominibus pax bonae voluntatis.
Christus natus hodie ex virgine,
sine virile semine est natus rex.

Note:

This very popular arrangement by Michael Praetorius is often sung by a single boy soprano alternating with a massed chorus. Frequently, four boys will be used, one at each corner of a church, each singing a single line of each verse of Quem Pastores, with the massed choirs singing the verses of Nunc Angelorum. In other cases, the boys may be placed in the loft above the congregation. A number of different placements has been used in the past.

In some arrangements, only the first verse of Nunc Angelorum is used after each verse of Quem Pastores.

Sheet music of Michael Praetorius, “Quem Pastores laudavere,” Puericiniu, Vol. 19, from Friedrich Blume, ed., Gesamtausgabe der musikalischen Werke: Michael Praetorius (Möseler, 1621), pp. 17—22.

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Praetorius' version includes four verses of "Quem Pastores laudavere" and four verses of "Nunc Angelorum gloria" as the chorus.

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