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Christmas by themes: Rose theme

Dear Listers

Thanks for the rapid and helpful response to my request for Christmas
pieces about roses. "A Spotless Rose" is set by Herbert Howells,
originally published by Stainer & Bell, reissued by Galaxy. Gorgeous piece.

Here are the other responses I received--thanks for all of them! It's a
veritable musical bouquet!

Kirin Nielsen

A friend of mine has composed a carol suite based on the traditional nine
carol texts found in carol services each Christmas. One of the nine is
"Lo, how a Ros" and a second is "There is no Ros." The suite is for
unaccompanied mixed choir. The musical language is fresh but still tonal.
The settings are gorgeous and, as yet, unpublished (they are set in
Finale and are beautifully printed). I suggest you call him and ask for a
His name and contact numbers:
Dr. William Stevens
Bill and I both live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Good luck.
Dr. Donald Armitage, Cantor
Augsburg Lutheran Church
845 West Fifth Street
Winston-Salem, North Carolin 27101

At one point I was considering a Christmas Program entitled "Christ, the
Christmas Rose." The repertoire I had gathered included:

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming (the standard Oxford arrangement)
King Jesus Hath a Garden
A Spotless Rose (H. Howells)
Jesu Bambino (P. Yon) -specifically mentions the "Christmas Rose"
There is No Rose of Such Virtue (Britten- Ceremony of Carols)
There is a Flower (from the Oxford 100 Carols for Choirs-- don't remember
the composer)
What is This Lovely Fragrance? (not sure if this is specifically
flower-related, but might fit the theme)

I think there is some wonderful potential with this idea. The Oxford 100
Carols for Choirs would be a good resource if you can get your hands on one.
Most of the arrangements are available individually and most have some
alternate orchestration. I would be curious to see what others suggest if
you would care to make a compilation or send them my way.

Thanks. Best regards,

Stephen J. Mulder
The Concert Singers of Cary (NC)

Consider the "Snow-White Dove" (which references roses in one stanza) by
Johannes Brahms (C.F. Peters), a "Spotless Rose" by Herbert Howells
(Stainer & Bell) and a lovely piece by Alan Hovhaness, "A Rose-Tree
Blossoms" (also C.F. Peters) Canadian composer Healey Willan has done a
setting of "Maria Walks amid the Thorn" (Concordia) as has the American,
Walter Ehret. An alternative to the Praetorius setting of "Es ist ein
Ros' entsprungen" is to use the chorale verses from Hugo Distler's
"Christmas Story," with interpolations of organ settings by various
composers. I did it as follows Praetorius I-Johannes Brahms II-Distler
III, etc. it could be expanded as necessary. Flor Peeters has also done
a very nice organ setting of "Es ist ein Ros."

I'm off to work now, but I'll see if I can unearth more information and
ideas for you. I once conducted a concert under the title, "A Christmas
Rose," that went over very well.

Ben Baldus

Howells and Britten, too, I believe, have written on "A Spotless Rose"
Also, I think (!) Sir Rodney Bennett...? This is off the top of my's too early to have browsed through my music....I guess I need
my morning cup of coffee first.

Good luck.

Sharon L. Hettinger, DMA


There is no rose - Jim Leininger- Trebel Choir and handbells. Simple but very

Ah, the CHristmas Rose! Howells A Spotless Rose. Earthsongs
publishes a charming little arrangement of Maria ging durch... I've
done it several times with much success (ie, everyone likes it).
Earthsongs is on the web now,, I think. There's
also a wonderful set of carols, also from eathsongs, by Andres Jansons
(spelling??). Actually, it's two sets, Three LAtvian Carols in each,
and one of them is Christmas Rose, and it's lovely, and in English and
Latvian. John Paynter's The Rose. Robert Young's "There is no Rose"
is incredible! Gentry.
David Griggs-Janower


Heinrich Kaminski's "Maria durch einen Dornenwald ging" is a lovely
arrangement, altho. I believe it's SSATBB. I don't have copy at hand
to know publisher. Check Choral Music in Print or Pepper Music's dbase
for details.

Bruce MacIntyre, Brooklyn College/CUNY

Who has set a German
>carol with a title similar to "Maria ging durch Dornwald"? --Distler set
>"Maria durch ein Dornwald ging," as have several other composers, I

Rodney A. Wynkoop
Dir. of University Choral Music
Duke University

There is a LOVELY setting of "There is no Rose" by Joel Martinson but I
unfortunately don' t remember the publisher at this hour of the morning. It
mixes English and Latin.
thanks and good luck!

Charles Bruffy
Kansas City Chorale

Does it have to be "a cappella"? I have a setting of I Am the Rose of
Sharon. It is for contralto, SATB and organ with solo violin obbligato. It's
a bit on the longer side but quite lovely (at the end I quote the "Est ist
ein Rose" chorale).
I'd be happy to send you a copy if you'd like. Please provide me with your
"snail mail" address if interested.
Thomas F. Savoy, organist/composer

Thank you for the many generous contributions to my query about music on Rose and/or Christmas themes. I have tried to compile the suggestions into a useful format.

Lee Kesselman


Specific Titles:

A rose touched by the sun's warm rays - Berger - Augsburg
I Am the Rose of Sharon -- Billings
There is no Rose – Britten (Ceremony of Carols) (Boosey)
A Red, Red Rose" – Matthew Brown Santa Barbara Music
Virga Jesse Floruit – Bruckner
Lo How a Rose – Noble Cain
There is No Rose SATB Rene Clausen Cello & harp, opt. piano.
Lo How a Rose – Matthew Culloton
O my love's like a red, red rose – Dave Dickau
Lo How A Rose/Es Ist Ein Ros -- Hugo Distler
Who is that fat child? David Earnest
'There is no Rose' by Gary Garcia with piano Walton
The Flower -- Arr.: Bruce Greer Music by: Bruce Greer
Words by: Ken Bible, publ Lillenas
Kiss by a rose (Vocal Jazz) - Hasman - UNC Jazz Press
A spotless Rose by Herbert Howells
The Christmas Rose - -from Latvian Carols Andres Jansons
"The Christmas Rose" as the middle piece.
Maria Walks Amid the Thorn SATB Ron Jeffers
There is no Rose- John Joubert (Novello)
There is no rose -- SATB Robin John King Kelman Hall Publishing
Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses)" by Jack Klebanov
Chansons des Roses Morton Lauridson
John Leavitt's Christmas Cantata "Lo How A Rose" for
SATB and String Quartet
There is no rose - Jim Leininger - Alliance
There is no rose -- Joel Martinson
Wide, Wide in the Rose's Side - Moertinson - Paraclete Press
Go, Lovely Rose - Chris Moore – Heritage
A Spotless Rose - Graeme Morton - Augsburg Fortress 0800676629 - SATB
A Red, Red Rose - Mulhulland
The Rose-John Paynter
Lo How a Rose -- Praetorius
Red, Red Rose (from Songs of Scotland) – Alton Rinker – Broude
I see his blood upon the rose - Hugh Roberton - Curwen
Days of Wine and Roses (Vocal Jazz) - Robonson - Warner Bros
Lo How A rose – Wayland Rogers
Five Spanish Carols arranged by Gregory Rose
Qualis ergo est infans iste? – MaryanneRumancik
John Rutter's Magnificat has a good setting of "Of a Rose, a lovely rose"in it.
There is a Flower (Rutter)
A Red, Red Rose - Scholz - Mark Foster
A Red, Red Rose – Stroope
There is no Rose – Clyde Thompson
'Es is ein Ros'. 2pt canon by Vulpius from Concordia
Thistle and Rose (For Junior High) - White - Heritage
There is no Rose of such Virtue- Robert H. Young Gentry/Hal Leonard

Other information or comments:

Advent carol: People Look East; one of the verses... "People look East and sing today, Love, the Rose, is on the way."

I have composed a setting of Thee is No Rose with
brass accompaniment. It is one of a group of four carols about
Mary - I would be glad to send you There is no Rose - or the
whole set of four, if you wish. The vocal score has a keyboard
accompaniment which is a transcription of the instruments -
a pianist with a sense of humor could probably turn it into
a piano accompaniment, if brasses aren't handy.
Brian Holmes

you must contact Craig Hella Johnson of Conspirare for his arr. of The Rose/Lo How A Rose- (yes the Bette Midler song!)

There is no rose of such virtue. SA and optional handbells (one ringer) with accompaniment. Kornelis has written a very simple but effective carol based on the Medieval hymn of the same name. Each verse in English ends with the traditional Latin responsory for that verse with an Alleluia: Res miranda, pares forma, and transeamus. A performance suggestion is to play the treble of the accompaniment on a solo instrument, such as a violin or flute, throughout. Difficulty level: 1+ Duration: 3'30' Contact Ben Kornelis directly at: benk(a)

The Winter Rose. SATB with optional piano or organ. The accompaniment may be used or not, lending greater versatility to this piece. It is quiet, highly melodic, and can be utilized by small choirs easily, too. Each voice has its turn singing melody, so all singers will enjoy their time in the spotlight. The text is in the form of a conversation, and begins as follows:---In December, Christmas comes, and mankind remembers love again. Warmth and friendship flowers and grows like a lovely winter rose. ---Winter rose, you say! Can that be? Is there such a thing in this world of ours? ---Such a rose was grown for me, long ago in Galilee. This piece is a good companion or alternate piece for the well-known "Lo, how a rose e'er blooming." Difficulty level: 2+ Duration: almost 3 minutes Contact Wallace De Pue directly at: wdepue(a)

There is a song by a Christian group Selah called Rose of
Bethlehem. I'm not sure if there is a choral arrangement to it but it
is a beautiful piece.

And this lovely program, which reminds me that a search on MUSICA will yield great results:

15 décembre 2002 »
Temple Neuf, 16 heures 30

Ensemble Vocal Allegro de Strasbourg,
Direction : Jean Sturm

« Roses de Noël »

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)

There is no rose of such virtue Anonyme (env.1420)

Maria durch ein Dornwald ging Harm : Jan Valkestijn (né en 1928)

La terre est froide Harm: Bernard Lallement (né en 1936)

King Jesus hath a garden Harm. : Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Légende (L’enfant Jésus est au jardin) Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Adapt.française : Francis Corpart (E.V.Allegro)

Bogoroditse dievo Sergeï Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Noël ukrainien Anonyme

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen Harm. : Hugo Distler (1908-1942)

There is no rose of such virtue Harm : Ernest White

Entre les roses et les lys Harm: Marie-Claire Alain (née en 1926)
(Entre le bœuf et l’âne gris)

Es blühn drei Rosen auf einen Zweig Harm.: Hilger Schallehn (1936-2000)

The holly and the ivy John Rutter (né en 1945)

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen Harm. : Carl Orff (1895-1982)

Am Weyhnachtsabend Harm. : Carl Orff

A boy was born Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

A spotless rose Herbert Howells (1892-1983)

Aleluya Nonoy Diestro (né en 1963)

There is no rose of such virtue Kenneth Mahy

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen Jan Sandstroem (né en 1954)

Stille Nacht (2001) Harm: Wolfram Buchenberg (né en 1963)

Plateau au profit de l’Association Altiplano
(soutien de projet pédagogique et sanitaire au Pérou)

the entire Distler/Die
Weihnachtsgeschichte is theme and variations on 'Es ist ein Ros'.

Lee Kesselman