Traditional Christmas song. Half Medieval German, half Latin. Dating back to at least 1328 when it was mentioned by mystic Heinrich Seuse. 'Covered' by both Bach (BWV 608, 368 and 729) and Liszt (melody of Die Hirten an der Krippe from song cycle Weinachtsbaum - 1875). In 1837 Robert Lucas de Pearsall translated the German part to English. This bording school choir from Leipzig (Thomas Alumnat) holds the oldest recording. Johann Sebastian Bach was their choir leader between 1723 and 1750. Reissued on cd Weihnachten bei Arm und Reich.
English Singers [on the American Roycroft label]
Mike Oldfield [following the Pearsall arrangement; Top 5 UK]
Herman Van Veen [on the German version of an album with Christmas songs]