Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

Program Notes:

Probably the most famous German Christmas melody ever, this beautiful and familiar carol takes on a special lustre in this new arrangement by Vancouver composer Stephen Smith. For Catholics, the “rose” is traditionally interpreted as Mary, the mother of Christ. For Protestants, it is considered to refer to Christ.

Conductor Notes:

This stunning arrangement by Vancouver composer and pianist Stephen Smith is for SSAA a cappella (some divisi). The ranges are moderate to low, in keeping with the subdued mood of the piece, which makes this best suited to senior high school, college-aged, or community choirs. The four parts weave in and out of each other, often overlapping phrases of text, with a line here and there popping forward in the texture to claim our attention. The piece is written and sung successfully in F major, although we opted to record it a semitone higher.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.





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.

This flower whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air
Dispels with glorious splendour
The darkness ev’rywhere.