Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

An unexpected gospel rendering of the traditional German carol.  The duple meter of the original is stretched into 3/4 time, allowing for a few new arcs to add grace to the carol’s melody.  Michael Praetorius’ beautiful traditional harmonization is, for the most part, retained throughout.

This score is published by Boosey & Hawkes. Press “Order Score” or click here to view and listen.

Available as: SATB piano, saxaphone (advanced) | SATB piano, sax (intermediate)



In 1997, needing to “air out” at a family Christmas, I stepped out onto my grandma’s back porch — cool enough to be the storage area for all of her Christmas candies — divinity, fudge, and the like.  I felt like singing, and took up my sister’s favorite carol, “Lo, How a Rose,” — but slowly, on long tones.  Over the course of a half hour, I just sang the ancient melody, and found myself adding passing tones, and slipping into 3/4 time.  Without intending to, I had discovered a gospel retelling of this Renaissance carol.  Its “premiere” was as part of the CBS Christmas Eve special “Enter the Light of Life” for which I served as music director, in a duet version sung by Ryan Harrison and Kim Murray Shahbazian.  The year after the CBS special, I was commissioned by the Juniata College Concert Choir to write a CD’s worth of Christmas arrangements, and the “fancy” version of “Lo, How a Rose” with a full-blown gospel choir back-up parts on the third verse was created.  So, there are two versions now — the Juniata version, and an “intermediate” version (both vocally and pianistically) that harmonizes the main melody, without gospel counterpoint.

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