Es ist ein Ros entsprungen

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Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
German Christmas hymn
Speyerer Gesangbuch Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.jpg
First printed in the 1599 Speyer Hymnal
Genre Hymn
Occasion Christmas
Language German

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 sometimes as A Spotless Rose. 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.[1][2]

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.[1]

The song's popularity endures today; it has been recorded by modern artists such as Mannheim Steamroller and Sting,[3][4] 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]

Meaning[edit]

The hymn evokes the symbolic use of the rose to describe Mary sprouting from the Tree of Jesse as the Mother of God (altarpiece, St. Lambrecht's Abbey)

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:[1]

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.

History[edit]

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".[5][6] 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 (de) at Trier, Germany — now preserved in the Trier City Library (de) — 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 (de) (1599).[6] The hymn has been used by both Catholics and Protestants, with the focus of the song being Mary or Jesus, respectively.[7] In addition, there have been numerous versions of the hymn, with varying texts and lengths. In 1844, the German hymnologist Friedrich Layriz (de) added three more stanzas, the first of which, Das Blümelein so kleine, remained popular and has been included in Catholic[8] and Protestant hymnals.[9]

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.[10]

Musical compositions[edit]

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.[7] A canon version for four voices also exists, based on Praetorius's harmony and sometimes attributed to his contemporary, Melchior Vulpius.[11] The metre of the hymn is 76.76.676.

Later works[edit]

In 1896, Johannes Brahms used the tune as the base for a chorale prelude for organ, one of his 11 Chorale Preludes Op.122, later transcribed for orchestra by Erich Leinsdorf.[12][13][14]

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).[1] 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.[15] 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).[16]

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.[7] Considered to be one of Howells’s most well-known works, A Spotless Rose is noted for its skillful use of harmony.[17] Winkworth's translation was again set to music in 2002 by the British composer and academic Sir Philip Ledger.[18]

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).[19]

Lyrics[edit]

German original Literal translation Baker's version Winkworth's version[20] Spaeth's translation with Mattes' 5th verse

[n 1]Es ist ein Ros entsprungen,
aus einer Wurzel zart,
wie uns die Alten sungen,
von Jesse kam die Art
Und hat ein Blümlein bracht
mitten im kalten Winter,
wohl zu der halben Nacht.

A rose has sprung up,
from a tender root,
As the old ones sang to us,
Its strain came from Jesse
And it has brought forth a floweret
In the middle of the cold winter
Well at half the night.

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.

A Spotless Rose is blowing,
Sprung from a tender root,
Of ancient seers' foreshowing,
Of Jesse promised fruit;
Its fairest bud unfolds to light
Amid the cold, cold winter,
And in the dark midnight.

Behold, a Branch is growing
Of loveliest form and grace,
as prophets sung, foreknowing;
It springs from Jesse's race
And bears one little Flow'r
In midst of coldest winter,
At deepest midnight hour.

Das Röslein, das ich meine,
davon Isaias sagt,
ist Maria die reine
die uns das Blümlein bracht.
Aus Gottes ew'gem Rat
hat sie ein Kind geboren
und blieb ein reine Magd.
or: Welches uns selig macht.

The little rose that I mean,
Of which Isaiah told
Is Mary, the pure,
Who brought us the floweret.
At God’s eternal counsel
She has borne a child
And remained a pure maid.
or: Who makes us blessed.

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.

The Rose which I am singing,
Whereof Isaiah said,
Is from its sweet root springing
In Mary, purest Maid;
Through God's great love and might
The Blessed Babe she bare us
In a cold, cold winter's night.

Isaiah hath foretold it
In words of promise sure,
And Mary's arms enfold it,
A virgin meek and pure.
Thro' God's eternal will
This Child to her is given
At midnight calm and still.

[n 2]Das Blümelein, so kleine,
das duftet uns so süß,
mit seinem hellen Scheine
vertreibt's die Finsternis.
Wahr Mensch und wahrer Gott,
hilft uns aus allem Leide,
rettet von Sünd und Tod.

The floweret, so small
That smells so sweet to us
With its bright gleam
It dispels the darkness.
True man and true God,
It helps us from all trouble,
Saves us from sin and death.

O Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious splendour
The darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death now save us,
And share our every load.

The shepherds heard the story,
Proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of Glory,
Was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped
And in a manger found him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flow'r whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness ev'rywhere.
True Man, yet very God;
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens ev'ry load.

O Saviour, Child of Mary,
Who felt our human woe;
O Saviour, King of Glory,
Who dost our weakness know,
Bring us at length we pray,
To the bright courts of Heaven
And to the endless day.

  1. ^ 1599 Speyer version, in modern German
  2. ^ This is the first verse of three added by Friedrich Layriz in 1844.

In popular culture[edit]

Modern interpretations[edit]

  • Chorale Prelude on "Es ist ein Ros" by contemporary composer Jonathan Santore, 1987.[21]


Some notable performances by contemporary popular artists include:

In film[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d 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. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel, ed. (2007). Joel Whitburn presents the Billboard albums (6th ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wis.: Record Research. p. 653. ISBN 9780898201666. 
  4. ^ a b "Lyrics : Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming". sting.com. Retrieved 29 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "Hymns of the Eastern Church". Christian Classic Ethereal Library. p. 77. Retrieved 29 November 2017. 
  6. ^ a b 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. 
  7. ^ a b c "Lo How A Rose Eer Blooming - Notes". hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  8. ^ "Gotteslob Online - gotteslob.katholisch.de". katholisch.de. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  9. ^ Evangelisches Gesangbuch, no. 30, and Gesangbuch der Evangelisch-reformierten Kirchen der deutschsprachigen Schweiz (Swiss Reformed Church hymnal), no. 399
  10. ^ Schwind, Elisabeth (23 December 2016). "Lieb aus deinem göttlichen Mund". Südkurier (in German). Retrieved 29 November 2017. 
  11. ^ "Stile Antico" (PDF). The Friends of Chamber Music. the friends of chamber music endowment early music series. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  12. ^ "11 Chorale Preludes, Op.122 (Brahms, Johannes) - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music". imslp.org. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  13. ^ Owen, Barbara (2007). The Organ Music of Johannes Brahms. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 104. ISBN 9780195311075. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  14. ^ Bloom, Julius (1946). "The Year in American Music". Allen, Towne & Heath, Inc.: 497. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  15. ^ MacDonald, Malcolm (2008). Schoenberg. Oxford University Press. p. 266. ISBN 9780198038405. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  16. ^ "Psalter Hymnal (Gray) 351. Lo, how a rose e'er blooming - Hymnary.org". hymnary.org. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  17. ^ "Phillip Cooke » On Herbert Howells's 'A Spotless Rose'…". www.phillipcooke.com. Retrieved 25 November 2017. 
  18. ^ "Sir Philip Ledger". sirphilipledger.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  20. ^ Winkworth, Catherine (1869). Christian singers of Germany. London: Macmillan. p. 85. 
  21. ^ http://jonathansantore.com/esisteinrose.html
  22. ^ "Jul med tradition" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1975. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 

External links[edit]