Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
|"Es ist ein Ros entsprungen"|
|German Christmas hymn by Michael Praetorius|
First printed in the 1599 Speyer Hymnal
"Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" (lit., "A rose has sprung up"), is a Christmas carol and Marian Hymn of German origin. It is most commonly translated in English as "Lo, how a rose e'er blooming", and is sometimes known as "A Spotless Rose" or "Behold a Rose of Judah". The rose in the text is a symbolic reference to the Virgin Mary, and the hymn makes reference to the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah which in Christian interpretation foretell the Incarnation of Christ, and to the Tree of Jesse, a traditional symbol of the lineage of Jesus. Because of its prophetic theme, the song is popular during the Christian season of Advent.
The hymn has its roots in an unknown author prior to the 17th century. It first appeared in print in 1599 and has since been published with a varying number of verses and in several different translations. It is most commonly sung to a melody which was harmonized by the German composer Michael Praetorius in 1609.
The song's popularity endures today; it has been recorded by modern artists such as Mannheim Steamroller and Sting, and it has appeared in a variety of feature film soundtracks, including Love Story (1970) and The Time Traveler's Wife (2009).[not verified in body]
The hymn was originally written with two verses, which express the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah, foretelling the birth of Jesus. It emphasises the royal genealogy of Jesus and Christian messianic prophecies. The first verse describes a rose sprouting from the stem of the Tree of Jesse, a symbolic device that depicts the descent of Jesus from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David. The image was especially popular in medieval times and it features in many works of religious art from the period. It has its origin in the Book of Isaiah:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots
The second verse of the hymns, written in the first person, then explains to the listener the meaning of this symbolism: that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the rose that has sprung up to bring forth a child, who is represented as a small flower ("das Blümlein"). The text affirms that Mary is a "pure maiden" ("die reine Magd"), emphasising the doctrine of the Virgin birth of Jesus.
Since the 19th century other verses have been added, in German and in translation.
The poetry of Isaiah's prophecy has featured in Christian hymns since at least the 8th century, when Cosmas the Melodist wrote a hymn about the Virgin Mary flowering from the Root of Jesse, "Ραβδος εκ της ριζης", translated in 1862 by John Mason Neale as "Rod of the Root of Jesse". The text of the German hymn "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" dates from the 15th century and is by an anonymous author. Its earliest source is in a manuscript from the Carthusian Monastery of St Alban at Trier, Germany — now preserved in the Trier City Library — and it is thought to have been in use at the time of Martin Luther. The hymn first appeared in print in the late 16th century in the Speyer Hymnbook (1599). The hymn has been used by both Catholics and Protestants, with the focus of the song being Mary or Jesus, respectively. In addition, there have been numerous versions of the hymn, with varying texts and lengths. In 1844, the German hymnologist Friedrich Layriz added three more stanzas, the first of which, "Das Blümelein so kleine", remained popular and has been included in Catholic and Protestant hymnals.
During the Nazi era, many German Christmas carols were rewritten to promote National Socialist ideology and to excise references to the Jewish origins of Jesus. During Christmas in Nazi Germany, "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" was rewritten as "Uns ist ein Licht erstanden/in einer dunklen Winternacht" ("A light has arisen for us/on a dark winter night"), with a secularised text evoking sunlight falling on the Fatherland and extolling the virtues of motherhood.
The tune most familiar today originally appeared in the Speyer Hymnal (printed in Cologne in 1599), and the familiar harmonization was written by German composer Michael Praetorius in 1609. A canon version for four voices also exists, based on Praetorius's harmony and sometimes attributed to his contemporary, Melchior Vulpius. The metre of the hymn is 76.76.676.
In the modern era, the melody has been used by a number of composers, including Hugo Distler who used it as the base for his 1933 oratorio Die Weihnachtsgeschichte (The Christmas Story). Arnold Schoenberg's Weihnachtsmusik (1921) for two violins, cello, piano and harmonium is a short fantasy on Es ist ein Ros entsprungen with Stille Nacht as a contrapuntal melody. In 1990, Jan Sandström wrote Es ist ein Ros entsprungen for two a cappella choirs, which incorporates the setting of Praetorius in choir one.
Well-known versions of the hymn have been published in various English translations. Theodore Baker's "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" was written in 1894 and appears in the Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church in North America) and The United Methodist Hymnal (American United Methodist Church).
The British hymn translator Catherine Winkworth translated the first two verses of the hymn as "A Spotless Rose", and in 1919 the British composer Herbert Howells set this text as an SATB anthem. The composer stated that:
I sat down and wrote A Spotless Rose...after idly watching some shunting from the window of a cottage in Gloucester which overlooked the Midland Railway. In an upstairs room I looked out on iron railings and the main Bristol to Gloucester railway line, with shunting trucks bumping and banging. I wrote it and dedicated to my mother – it always moves me when I hear it, just as if it were written by someone else.
Howells' carol is through-composed, switching between 7/8, 5/4 and 5/8 time signatures, unconventional for a carol of this era. The plangent final cadence ("On a cold, cold winter's night"), with its multiple suspensions is particularly celebrated. Howells' contemporary, Patrick Hadley reportedly told the composer "I should like, when my time comes, to pass away with that magical cadence". Winkworth's translation was again set to music in 2002 by the British composer and academic Sir Philip Ledger.
Another Christmas hymn, "A Great and Mighty Wonder", is set to the same tune as this carol and may sometimes be confused with it. It is, however, a hymn by St. Germanus, (Μέγα καὶ παράδοξον θαῦμα), translated from Greek to English by John M. Neale in 1862. Versions of the German lyrics have been mixed with Neale's translation of a Greek hymn in subsequent versions such as Percy Dearmer's version in the 1931 Songs of Praise collection and Carols for Choirs (1961).
|German original||Literal translation||Baker's version||Winkworth's version||Spaeth's translation with Mattes' 5th verse||Catholic Liturgy of the Hours|
Es ist ein Ros entsprungen,[n 1]
A rose has sprung up,
Lo, how a rose e'er blooming,
A Spotless Rose is blowing,
Behold, a Branch is growing
Behold, a rose of Judah
Das Röslein, das ich meine,
The little rose that I mean,
The Rose which I am singing,
Isaiah hath foretold it
Isaiah has foretold it
The shepherds heard the story,
Das Blümelein, so kleine,[n 2]
The floweret, so small
O Flower, whose fragrance tender
This Flow'r whose fragrance tender
O Saviour, Child of Mary,
- 1599 Speyer version, in modern German
- This is the first verse of three added by Friedrich Layriz in 1844.
In popular culture
Some performances by contemporary popular artists include:
- Liebergen, Patrick M. (2005). Singer's Library of Song: A Vocal Anthology of Masterworks and Folk Songs From the Medieval Era Through the Twentieth Century : Book Medium. Alfred Music Publishing. ISBN 9780739036600. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Pfatteicher, Philip H. (2013). "2. Advent". Journey into the Heart of God: Living the Liturgical Year. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199997145. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- Whitburn, Joel, ed. (2007). Joel Whitburn presents the Billboard albums (6th ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wis.: Record Research. p. 653. ISBN 9780898201666.
- "Lyrics : Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming". sting.com. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "Hymns of the Eastern Church". Christian Classic Ethereal Library. p. 77. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- Roth, Nancy (2001). "Hymn 81: Lo How a Rose e'er blooming". Praise, My Soul: Meditating on Hymns. Church Publishing, Inc. p. 11. ISBN 9780898693744. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "Lo How A Rose Eer Blooming - Notes". hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "Gotteslob Online - gotteslob.katholisch.de". katholisch.de. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- Evangelisches Gesangbuch, no. 30, and Gesangbuch der Evangelisch-reformierten Kirchen der deutschsprachigen Schweiz (Swiss Reformed Church hymnal), no. 399
- Schwind, Elisabeth (23 December 2016). "Lieb aus deinem göttlichen Mund". Südkurier (in German). Retrieved 29 November 2017.
- "Stile Antico" (PDF). The Friends of Chamber Music. the friends of chamber music endowment early music series. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- "11 Chorale Preludes, Op.122 (Brahms, Johannes) - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music". imslp.org. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Owen, Barbara (2007). The Organ Music of Johannes Brahms. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 104. ISBN 9780195311075. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Bloom, Julius (1946). "The Year in American Music". Allen, Towne & Heath, Inc.: 497. Retrieved 25 November 2017. Cite journal requires
- MacDonald, Malcolm (2008). Schoenberg. Oxford University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780198038405. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- "Psalter Hymnal (Gray) 351. Lo, how a rose e'er blooming - Hymnary.org". hymnary.org. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- Palmer, Christopher (1978). Herbert Howells: a study. p. 16.
- "Phillip Cooke » On Herbert Howells's 'A Spotless Rose'…". www.phillipcooke.com. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- Spicer, Paul (1998). Herbert Howells. p. 67.
- "Sir Philip Ledger". sirphilipledger.com. Archived from the original on 14 April 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2011-12-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Winkworth, Catherine (1869). Christian singers of Germany. London: Macmillan. p. 85.
- "Jul med tradition" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1975. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.|
- List of all verses in German, from The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
- Free sheet music of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" for SATB, Cantorion.org
- "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" (Praetorius): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) (IMSLP)
- 11 Chorale Preludes, Op. 122 (Brahms), No. 8: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, IMSLP
- Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, Melchior Vulpius (IMSLP)
- MP3 of Sissel Kyrkjebø singing at a 2005 Christmas concert in Moscow, Internet Archive