|Title:||VOM HIMMEL HOCH|
|Composer:||Martin Luther (1535)|
|Incipit:||17675 67111 55345|
|Source:||Geistliche Lieder, by Valentin Schumann (Leipzig, Germany: 1539)|
Initially Luther used the folk melody associated with his first stanza as the tune for this hymn. Later he composed this new tune for his text. VOM HIMMEL HOCH was first published in Valentin Schumann's Geistliche Lieder in 1539. Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) used Luther's melody in three places in his well-known and loved Christmas Oratorio. VOM HIMMEL HOCH is a simple but spritely melody. Try having either a soloist (with an angelic voice) or a small choir, in harmony and unaccompanied, sing stanzas 1-4. The entire group or congregation could then sing stanza 5 in unison. Add strong accompaniment, possibly using one of the elaborate Bach harmonizations.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988