What's your least loved Christmas carol

Keyword: Christmas carol

Of Claudia Karner (Celler School 2006)


A small preliminary remark: In the series “Who actually wrote ...?” I introduce lyricists of the 20th century. Every year in December I make an exception and portray a lyricist who gave us a Christmas carol that is still part of the family repertoire that can be singed under the Christmas tree. This is the year Every year again your turn.

"Every year the Christ Child comes down to earth where we are." This is the first stanza of the Christmas classic. As Wilhelm Hey When he wrote the text in 1837, he could not have foreseen that the first three words would be part of the general treasure trove of quotes almost 200 years later, even outside the Christmas period. Every year again! - followed by a deep sigh: And already we know, now there is something inevitable, a regularity that we - regardless of whether it is pleasant or annoying - we cannot escape. The 11.5 million Internet entries that the search engine spits out in 0.31 seconds also speak for themselves.

WILHELM HEY (1798-1854)

Wilhelm Hey was born in 1798 as the son of a Protestant pastor in Leina (Thuringia) and grew up with his brother Karl after the death of his parents. After attending grammar school in Gotha, he studied theology in Jena and Göttingen. He worked as a house teacher and boarding school teacher before he became pastor in Töddelstadt near Erfurt in 1818. (That was also the year in which for the first time Silent night, holy onesTot sounded in Oberndorf near Salzburg.) Hey became court preacher in Gotha, then superintendent in Ichtershausen and distinguished himself through his social commitment to craftsmen, apprentices and working mothers and their children. In 1847 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Heidelberg.


At that time, Hey had already made a name for himself as a fabulous poet. The book Fifty Fables forchildren, theOtto Speckter illustrated, appeared anonymously in 1833 and was therefore initially attributed to the illustrator. The second book Fifty more fables for children appeared in 1837 under Hey's name. They were made by the skill of the publisher Friedrich Pertheswho had a long friendship with Hey, the German picture book of the 19th century. Hey wrote rhymes that were clear, natural, and easy for children to understand. That made the big success. The fables have been translated into numerous languages. Hey also worked as a translator. So he transferred in 1838The Course of Time of Robert Pollokfrom English to German. Who is now interested: Here there is an extensive collection of fables.

On the occasion of Hey's 100th birthday, the magazine said The gazebo: „Countless imitations of Hey's fables have neither achieved nor displaced the masterful models and even if there is hardly a space for a few lines for the poet in most literary stories, his poems themselves ensure that his name is permanently given the place of honor it deserves. "

In 1837 Wilhelm Hey had the idea Every year again. The melody is used by the composer and music educator Friedrich Silcher attributed to them in his song cycle Twelve nursery rhymesthe appendix to Speckter’s fable book published by 1842. Another melody version comes from the composer, organist and teacher Ernst Anschütz, to which we owe another Christmas evergreen: O Christmas Tree.

Do you know how many stars there are?

Wilhelm Hey was married twice. After the death of his wife Auguste in 1827, he married Luise von Axen five years later. He probably sang their son Wilhelm, who was born in 1838, to sleep with his famous lullaby: Do you know how many little stars there are? The author Karlheinz Maess chose the last line of the song as the title for a biography. "... knows you too and loves you." The life of the pastor and friend of the children Wilhelm Heywhich appeared in 1989.

The headquarters of the Friends of Wilhelm Heywho makes it his mission to preserve the memory of the poet, whose songs can also be found in the Evangelical Hymnal. In Töttelstädt, a plaque on the former rectory reminds of his life and work, and a street bears his name. The state regular school in Ichtershausen is named after Wilhelm Hey. The so-called hey school!

Claudia Karner (Celler Schule 2006) Who actually wrote ..? Cellar school, successes, ExCELLEnt, nursery rhyme, lyrics, write lyrics, learn to write lyrics, Christmas carolLeave a comment