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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Advent Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

For the fourth Sunday in Advent, enjoy this a capella arrangement of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," a Sixteenth Century German carol emphasizing prophecies about our Lord's Incarnation:

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

This Flow’r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.


  1. AOW,

    My mother was German. When she wed my father after the war ended she came to America. Shortly thereafter, my parents arranged for her mother to join them here. Both became naturalized citizens. No one was prouder to be a American than my mom and grandmother.

    In our home, all the traditions of Christmas came with them. I grew up with carols like the one you've shared here. One of my favorites will always be "O, du Fröhliche and "Schlafe, Mein Prinzchen, Schlaf Ein".

    Enjoy this Christmastime. May it be filled with joyous memories.

    1. Froeliche Weinachten und beste Wuenschen fuer den neuen Jahr!

    2. Möge Ihre Weihnachtszeit mit Freude über das Kommen des Christkindes erfüllt sein.

    3. Curmudgeon and Franco,
      I studied German years ago -- over 50 years now -- but can't really speak it now.

      That said, I can read and typically understand written German. I appreciate your well wishes for this Holy Season. Danke schön!

    4. Right back at ya my friend. Give my best to Mr. AOW.

  2. Wonderful selection AOW. Easy to miss this beautiful work this time of year.

    1. Bunkerville,
      We don't hear this lovely Christmas hymn often enough, IMO.

      Merry Christmas to you.

  3. An exceptionally beautiful, heartfelt performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They are never less than excellent, but rarely have they achieved such depth of feeling, understanding of text, and beauty of musical expression as they have here.

    During my many years as an organist and choirmaster I usually had few singers capable of blending harmoniously singing in tune, but there were always one or two notable exceptions, tank Heaven.

    One year I composed a two-part arrangement of this ancient tune for two gifted sopranos –– a mother and daughter as it so happened. Each verse for the two equal voices was was subtle different. The effect was an ethereal beauty rarely experienced in humble parish churches. We followed the unaccompanied singing with Brahms's famous chorale prelude for organ on this same tune written near the end of the composer's life.

    A quiet, reverent, prayerful way to begin a Christmas Eve Service.

    I've had great joy in performing music for the church –– first as an eight-year-old boy soprano, later as an adult chorister, organist and composer of custom-crafted liturgical music specifically designed for the various churches i served.

    However, the Christmas Eve when we performed the special arrangement of Lo, How Rose E'er Blooming stays in my memory as on of the grestest high points in a modest-but-very-satisfying career.

    Happy Christmas to Everyone, and a healthy measure of SERENITY and an enriched store of WISDOM in the New Year!

    1. Franco,
      I love "the Back Chorale sound."

      I chose this particular rendition of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" after listening to several different renditions. It does indeed lift the soul.

      Merry Christmas, my friend.

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  5. _______ A Magic Word: Nowell ______

    Don't let dark, dreary forces drag you down..
    Don't let ill-natured Others make you frown.
    Remember every single Lovely Thing
    That made your heart feel urgent needs to sing.
    Each depressing enervating thought
    Uttered by vexatious spirits fraught
    With ugly agitating, bitter things
    Must be countered by a heart aloft on wings.
    Resist the fiends who'd drag you down to Hell
    Resist by singing joyously "Nowell!
    Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!
    Born is the King of Israel"

    ~ Kris Kringle

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    1. Rejoice! rejice! Rejoice greatly . . .
      Behold thy King cmeth unto thee

      He is the righteous Savior
      And He shall seek peace unto the heathen.

      Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice greatly . . .
      SHOUT! [for joy]. . .
      Behold, thy King cometh unto thee.
      Behold, thy King cometh unto thee.

      !~ Soprano aria from MESSIAH by G.F. Handel

  7. I wonder as Iwander out under the sky
    How Jesus, our Savior, was brought forth to die
    For poor orn'ry people like you and like I?
    I wonder as i wander out under the sky.

    When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall
    With Angels and Wise Men, and Shepherds and all
    But high in God's Heaven a Starlght did fall
    And the Promse of Ages it then did recall.

    I wonder as i wander out under the sky
    How Jesus, our Savior, was brought forth to die
    For poor orn'ry people like you and like I
    I wonder as i wander out under the sky? . . .

    ~ Appalachian folk song, collected by John Jacob Niles

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    1. O Holy night! the stars are brightly shining.
      tt is the night of our dear Savior's Birth,
      Long lay the world in sin and error pining
      till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.

      A thrill of hope
      Tthe weary world rejoices
      For yonder breaks
      a new and glorious morn.

      Fall on your knees
      h her the angel voices
      O night divine!
      O night wen Christ as was born!
      O night, O holy night, O night divine! . . .

      ~ Adolphe Adam


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