Music/Popular Culture

Today’s Christmas Song–“Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen”

And on to medieval Germany, where so much great Christmas music comes from. In this case, we’ll start out with Michael Praetorius, Germany’s first great composer, who brought us, among other things, Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, which we grew up learning as Lo, how a Rose E’er blooming. Here’s John Eliot Gardner’s Monteverdi Choir doing a lovely version—Praetorius regularly reworked pieces in order to produce versions that could be sung by groups of different sizes.

Next, here’s a version by the 20th century German composer Hugo Distler, very close to Praetorius’s version, in fact. This was by design—Distler is perhaps best known for a work called The Christmas Story, where the nativity story is interspersed with variations on Praetorius’s Ros.

Sadly, YouTube doesn’t have a version of just the Ros variations to pass on (although it does have the entire The Christmas story, which runs about 40 minutes). However, Chanticleer has a lovely Christmas album with soprano Dawn Upshaw that has it complete. Check it out—it’s stunning.

Categories: Music/Popular Culture