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German pastor Philipp Nicolai wrote the words and tune of this classic Christmas hymn in 1599. His intent was to instill comfort and hope in his parishioners as they experienced the devastating plague that killed so many. J.S. Bach provided the harmonization in 1731.This arrangement works fine with seven C flutes. The optional addition of Eb flute, alto flute, and bass flute on parts 2, 5, and 6 provides not only a fuller sound, but also a much richer and varied tonal quality.