Saturday, 24 December 2011
A Spotless Rose
Like many people around the world, I'll be listening later to the Carols and Readings from King's College, Cambridge which are so much part of Christmas Eve. Here's my very favourite carol, A Spotless Rose composed by Herbert Howells in 1919.
I always find this breathtakingly beautiful. The echoes of the English Renaissance drift into a perfect marriage of words and music. If you are lucky enough to hear it live, especially in one of the Cambridge college chapels, the sound swells up into the high stone vaults and seems to swirl around like so many leaves in the wind. I first heard it at school in Sussex, where the choirmaster had been a choral scholar at King's and had brought all his passion and expertise to the music there. Then, when I went to Cambridge as a student, this was the song I always longed to hear by candlelight at Trinity.
A very Happy Christmas to you all!