Quempas, the collection of Christmas carols first published in 1930, is a legend in the history of Bärenreiter-Verlag which had an impact far beyond the company’s publishing programme. To counter the kitsch and sentimentality of the 19th century and return to a “fitting commemoration of the birth of Christ” (as Karl Vötterle wrote in his book Haus unterm Stern), at Vötterle’s suggestion, Wilhelm Thomas and Konrad Ameln compiled the first small with 39 old carols for Christmas. The title derives from the first syllables of the old Latin Christmas carol “Quem pastores laudavere” (“Shepherds came, their praises bringing”). Its success exceeded all expectations. Alongside the melody edition, choral and instrumental books quickly followed. In 1962 the Quempas-Buch was published with a larger number of carols, including pieces from the 20th century. The combined editions of have now sold well over three million copies.
2012 sees the publication of Der neue Quempas, edited by Antje Wissemann. The 41 carols for Advent and Christmas offer an inspired blend of the most beautiful old Christmas carols and the most popular songs of recent years. At the same time as the melody edition (BA 7550), editions for chorus, instrumental quartet, piano, and piano with instruments are published. The settings are by Ingo Bredenbach, and the illustrations in the melody edition are by Hilde Schwenn.