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Oh come little Children! Myth – History – World success of the well-known Christmas carol

Europe: Heritage Lived Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg

Oh come little Children! Myth – History – World success of the well-known Christmas carol

The State and City Library Augsburg, one of the 10 regional state libraries in Bavaria, is a regionally orientated research library with emphasis on the city of Augsburg and the region of Swabia, and the history of the Renaissance and the Early Modern Age. Its Intention is to provide both citizens and scholars with literature, information, and overall insight into the library's stocks and treasures.

The library presents its treasures to the public in exhibitions, during guided tours, during open house, and through its digital archives. In addition, the holdings of the State and City Library Augsburg are coveted as loans to exhibitions of other institutions in Germany and abroad.

To mark the 250th birthday of the famous Christoph von Schmid (1768–1856) – a Catholic clergyman from Dinkelsbühl, active in Swabia (Nassenbeuren, Seeg/ Allgäu, Thannhausen, Oberstadion) and from 1827 as Domkapitular in Augsburg – an exhibition in the Augsburg State and City Library will be held, which celebrates his most famous written work: The Christmas carol “Ihr Kinderlein kommet”/“Oh come, little Children”, known and sung worldwide.

"Ihr Kinderlein kommet" is probably the most famous German Christmas carol. Next to the Austrian "Silent Night,” "Ihr Kinderlein kommet" is part of almost every Christmas mass of all Christian churches and Christmas celebrations in Christian homes. There are several musical scores for the text by Christoph von Schmid, which all can be seen in the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue via QR-Code. However, the most famous melody was and continues to be that of a spring song by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz (1747–1800), which the Protestant elementary school teacher Friedrich Hermann Eickhoff (1807–1886) in Gütersloh used as a musical score for the text of this Christmas song: the beginning of ecumenical world success.

Above all, the song has been popular first throughout Germany and areas with German-speaking population: Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol, in Alsace, formerly in the Czech Republic (Sudetenland), Hungary, the Banat and Serbia. Later, however, the song spread throughout Europe and was translated into Italian, French, Spanish, English or Russian and many others.

The exhibition "Oh come little Children! Myth – History – World success of the well-known Christmas carol" runs from November 14 to December 21, 2018, Monday to Friday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, in the Lower Cimelia Hall of the State and City Library Augsburg, which holds the oldest known autograph of the lyrics among their treasures.

Exhibition catalog:
Ihr Kinderlein kommet! Mythos – Geschichte – Welterfolg des bekannten Weihnachtsliedes. Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink, 2018 (Cimeliensaal 4).
ISBN 978-3-95976-174-1