There is no rose of such virtue

Carol setting for SSAATTBB chorus a cappella

forces: SSAATTBB Choir
duration: 5'20"
2012
published by: Novello

Erratum:

In the published score of this work, bar 5, tenor part, the fourth note should be a C#, not a B as printed.

Composers' Note

There is no Rose of Such Virtue [2011] is an anonymous mediaeval text, already well known through beautiful settings by Britten (in his Ceremony of Carols), John Joubert and others. The poem is ‘macaronic’ (it presents a verse in English, followed by a varying Latin refrain).This new version follows the illustrious examples above by remaining strophic and presenting broadly the same music in a succession of slightly different guises. The first verse is a straightforward 4-part setting, the second gives the melody to the tenors and surrounds them with hushed, wordless writing for the other parts, and the third explores a freely canonic relationship between the tenor and soprano lines before carrying the previous verse-endings to a higher, more exalted pitch and mood. The fourth verse then expands its texture in a free climactic passage evoking the songs of praise sung by the angels. This subsides towards the final verse, where the texture of the music attenuates again to four parts and canonic writing (based on the first four notes of the original melody) permeates all of them. This slightly extended statement leads to a hushed final cadence.

Francis Pott, 2012

Composers' Note