Die Könige (Peter Cornelius)

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Editor: Joseph Svendsen (submitted 2020-09-11).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 143 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Poetic English translation listed below original German.
  • (Posted 2018-03-19)  CPDL #49073:     
Editor: Nikolaus Hold (submitted 2018-03-19).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 82 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes: German text and English translation by Mabelle Shapleigh: Three kings have come from the eastern land from Breitkopf und Härtel edition P.C. 47.
  • (Posted 2008-07-12)  CPDL #17530:  IMSLP.png
Editor: Hans-Peter Beer (submitted 2008-07-12).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 125 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Scroll down to 3. Die Könige.

Choral arrangements

In original German

  • (Posted 2017-12-18)  CPDL #48082:     
Editor: Nikolaus Hold (submitted 2017-12-18).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 118 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes: Original song with additional SATB arrangement of the accompanying chorale.
Arranger: Nikolaus Hold
  • (Posted 2017-11-21)  CPDL #47635:       
Editor: Andrew Sims (submitted 2017-11-21).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 101 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: To the original German text, this version is arranged for TTBB (v1) and then SATB (v2), with baritone solo. Listed on website as Die Könige.
Arranger: Andrew Sims

In English translation: Three Kings from Persian lands afar

  • (Posted 2020-05-15)  CPDL #58630:       
Editor: James Wetzel (submitted 2020-05-15).   Score information: Letter, 5 pages, 63 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Baritone solo, with SATB chorus.
  • (Posted 2017-12-18)  CPDL #48083:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2017-12-18).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 61 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Baritone solo, with SATB chorus.
  • (Posted 2008-12-10)  CPDL #18490:  Network.png
Editor: Rod Mather (submitted 2008-12-10).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 40 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Voicing for SATB Choir and Tenor (or Soprano) Solo. Includes the Chorale "How brightly shines the morning star!"

General Information

Title: Die Könige
Work: Weihnachtslieder Op. 8, No. 3 [No. IIIb]
Composer: Peter Cornelius
Lyricist: Peter Cornelius

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Solo low
Genre: SecularLied

Language: German
Instruments: Piano

First published: 1870

Description: The piano accompaniment, a harmonization of the Chorale Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, easily lends itself to choral transcription. An early but posthumously published setting of the poem is sometimes numbered Opus 8 IIIa.

External websites:

Original text and translations

German.png German text

Drei Könige wandern aus Morgenland;
Ein Sternlein führt sie zum Jordanstrand.
In Juda fragen und forschen die drei,
Wo der neugeborene König sei?
Sie wollen Weihrauch, Myrrhen und Gold
Dem Kinde spenden zum Opfersold.

Und hell erglänzet des Sternes Schein:
Zum Stalle gehen die Kön’ge ein;
Das Knäblein schaun sie wonniglich,
Anbetend neigen die Könige sich;
Sie bringen Weihrauch, Myrrhen und Gold
Zum Opfer dar dem Knäblein hold.

O Menschenkind! halte treulich Schritt!
Die Kön’ge wandern, o wandre mit!
Der Stern der Liebe, der Gnade Stern
Erhelle dein Ziel, so du suchst den Herrn,
Und fehlen Weihrauch, Myrrhen und Gold,
Schenke dein Herz dem Knäblein hold!

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
voll Gnad und Wahrheit von dem Herrn,
die süße Wurzel Jesse.
Du Sohn Davids aus Jakobs Stamm,
mein König und mein Bräutigam,
hast mir mein Herz besessen;
lieblich, freundlich,
schön und herrlich,
groß und ehrlich,
reich an Gaben,
hoch und sehr prächtig erhaben.

English.png English translation

Three Kings from Persian lands afar
to Jordan follow the pointing star:
and this the quest of the travellers three,
where the new-born King of the Jews may be.
Full royal gifts they bear for the King;
Gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

The star shines out with a steadfast ray;
the kings to Bethlehem make their way,
and there in worship they bend the knee,
as Mary’s child in her lap they see;
their royal gifts they show to the King;
gold, incense, myrrh are their offering.

Thou child of man, lo, to Bethlehem
the Kings are travelling, travel with them!
The star of mercy, the star of grace,
shall lead thy heart to its resting place.
Gold, incense, myrrh thou canst not bring;
offer thy heart to the infant King.

How brightly shines the morning star!
With grace and truth from heaven afar
our Jesse tree now bloweth.
Of Jacob’s stem and David’s line,
for thee, my Bridegroom, King divine,
my soul with love o’erfloweth.
Thy word, Jesu, inly feeds us,
rightly leads us, life bestowing.
Praise, O praise such love o’erflowing.