Puer natus in Bethlehem a12 (Michael Praetorius)

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  • (Posted 2016-07-12)   CPDL #40300:      Instrumental parts:  
Editor: David Millard (submitted 2016-07-12).   Score information: Letter, 38 pages, 311 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Original notated pitch and note values. Full score with complete editorial apparatus. The zipped folder contains a complete set of instrumental parts.
  • (Posted 2016-07-12)   CPDL #40301:   
Editor: David Millard (submitted 2016-07-12).   Score information: Letter, 25 pages, 220 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Choral score with keyboard reduction for CPDL #40300
  • CPDL #27938:     
Editor: Adrian Wall (submitted 2013-01-01).   Score information: A4, 14 pages, 1.41 MB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Transposed up a minor 3rd from original written pitch; with figured bass for continuo. Includes a simple English-texted setting of the chorale for congregational (or audience) use.
  • CPDL #27939:   
Editor: Adrian Wall (submitted 2013-01-01).   Score information: A4, 12 pages, 1.04 MB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: String parts for use with #27938: 3 violins + 'cello (with optional 4th violin, editorially supplied)

General Information

Title: Puer natus in Bethlehem a12
Composer: Michael Praetorius

Number of voices: 7vv   Voicing: SSB.SATB
Genre: SacredChorale

Language: LatinGerman
Instruments: String ensemble, basso continuo

First published: 1619 in Polyhymnia caduceatrix et panegyrica, no. 12

Description: Praetorius published twenty volumes of music, most of it intended for use in Lutheran church services. This stirring setting of Puer natus in Bethlehem, one of several settings that he published of this chorale, comes from Praetorius' 1619 collection, Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica ("Polyhymnia – the Muse of sacred poetry – Herald and Praise-giver"), which contains some of his largest-scale works, for up to 21 voices or instruments, arranged in up to 6 choirs. The piece is in 12 parts: 3 solo voices, a 4-part choir, 4-part strings and basso continuo, and shows off Praetorius’ fascination with both rhythmic and ensemble variation, revealing a delight in playing with tonal colour and texture. The verses, in Latin, are interspersed with a ritornello, in German. The composer suggests that the congregation should sing verses of the chorale to a simple setting, at the end of each half.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin and German.png German text

Puer natus in Bethlehem, unde gaudet Hierusalem. Alleluia.
Singet, jubiliret, triumpiret unserm Herren dem König der Ehren.

Reges de Saba veniunt, aurum, thus, myrrham offerunt. Alleluia. Singet…
Hic jacet in praesepio qui regnat sine termino. Alleluia. Singet…
Mein Herzens Kindlein, mein liebstes Freundlein, O Jesu.

In hoc natali gaudio benedicamus Domino. Alleluia. Singet…
Laudetur sancta Trinitas, Deo dicamus gratias. Alleluia. Singet…
Lobt ihn mit Schalle ihr Christen alle.

English.png English translation

A boy is born in Bethlehem, whence Jerusalem rejoices. Alleluia.
Sing, rejoice, triumph for our Lord the King of Glory.

Kings of Sheba came, offering gold, incense and myrrh. Alleluia. Sing…
Here lies in a manger he who reigns without end. Alleluia. Sing…
Child of my heart, my dearest little friend, O Jesus.

In this birthday, let us joyfully bless the Lord. Alleluia. Sing…
The holy Trinity be praised. Let us give thanks to God. Alleluia. Sing…
Praise him with sound, all you Christians.