Musical Advent Calendar: Days 7&8

This weekend I have enjoyed singing on two occasions with friends from the Colla Voce Singers in London. One of the carols we performed at our concert on Saturday was a beautiful arrangement of the famous German carol, Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.

The Text is based on Isaiah 11.1: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

The hymn expresses the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah, foretelling the birth of Jesus. It emphasises the royal genealogy of Jesus and Christian messianic prophecies.

The Music is a familiar tune, first appearing in 1599 in the Speyer hymnal in Cologne. The version best known to us is the harmonisation of the tune by Michael Praetorious in 1609.

Before you listen to the arrangement I've chosen, remind yourself of the familiar chorale here.

The arrangement I've chosen is by Swedish composer Jan Sandstroem (1954- ). He sets one verse of the text (sung by a 4-part semichours), with a lush accompaniment provided by the remainder of the singers.

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen,

aus einer Wurzel zart,

wie uns die Alten sungen,

von Jesse kam die Art

Und hat ein Blümlein bracht

mitten im kalten Winter,

wohl zu der halben Nacht.

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