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A spotless rose

author of text
14th century 'Es ist ein Ros entsprungen'
translator of text

Philip Ledger was Organist of King’s College, Cambridge from 1974-82. His A spotless rose (2002) is, like Chilcott’s The Shepherd’s Carol, a beautiful modern example of highly effective word painting. The unharmonised antiphonal lines of its bright B major opening suggest delicate purity. Then, the combination of simple monody and homophonic textures is only broken once, over the carol’s three loudest central bars beginning “to light…the dark…”, set in the tender key of B flat. The spotless rose finally unfolds by means of a series of scrunched chords widening out eventually to return to B major for the clean, bright closing triad.

from notes by Charlotte Gardner © 2016


Christmas with St John's
Studio Master: SIGCD458Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 6 on SIGCD458 [2'00] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD458 track 6

Recording date
10 January 2016
Recording venue
St John's College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Chris Hazell
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Christmas with St John's (SIGCD458)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: November 2016
    Download only
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