Lo, how a rose

After several posts of ‘lighter’ music, we return to something a bit more satisfying to the ear.

The tune of Es ist ein Ros entsprungen most familiar today appears in the Speyer Hymnal (printed in Cologne in 1599), and the familiar harmonization was written by German composer Michael Praetorius in 1609. We in the English speaking world of course know this carol as Lo how a rose e’er blooming and the English translation we sing is really quite nice and I do not feel jostled about by bad world stresses as I normally do when singing translations.

The video I have chosen simply could not be any more German. Here is the Tölzer knabenchor (boys choir) with a lovely rendition. The literal German translation follows below.

1. A rose has sprung up,
from a tender root.
As the old ones sang to us,
Its lineage was from Jesse.
And it has brought forth a floweret
In the middle of the cold winter
Right upon midnight.

2. The rosebud that I mean,
Of which Isaiah told
Is Mary, the pure,
Who brought us the floweret.
At God’s immortal word,
She has borne a child
Remaining a pure maid.

3. The floweret, so small
That smells so sweet to us
With its clear light
Dispels the darkness.
True man and true God!
He helps us from all trouble,
Saves us from sin and death

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