Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming

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;
To show God's love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

O Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious splendour
The darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death now save us,
And share our every load.

Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming is an English translation of a German hymn from the late 16th century titled Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.  The song has been used by both Catholics and Protestants, with the focus of the song being Mary or Jesus, respectively. In addition, there have been several versions of the hymn, with varying words and lengths.

Although it has been covered by many people from Linda Ronstadt  to Sting,  I had never heard it  (or rather noticed it) as a Christmas song. My inspiration for this arrangement though, comes from a wonderful pastoral musician by the name of Rick Modlin.  Rick has an absolutely beautiful version of this song that somehow I have on my ipod.   Whenever it comes up on my Christmas playlist,  I always wonder two things:

1)  What is it doing there?  I don't recognize it as any of the regular jazz Christmas songs
2)  Who the heck arranged it and is playing it -  because it is awesome!

This year I decided that I should really look into it.  I found that it is this cat named Rick Modlin who is a very talented pianist and composer  who specializes in church and spiritual music.   All that I can say is that the spirit is really moving him on this song.  It has become one of my favorites,  and it translates very well to listening in non-Christmas mode also.

Rick Modlin

In case I don't get another post out before Christmas...

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Geek Alert

Don't expect to download the music to Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming and expect to get anything near this arrangement.  It took a while to figure out what Rick was doing here.  I ran his MP3 through band-in-a box chord analyzer to get a head start on what he  might be doing, and worked with Ed to fill in the blanks from there.

I tried to give a sense of the up-and-down flow during solo sections that the arrangement calls for,  while only having a fraction of the skill required.   You should listen to Rick's recording to hear a really well executed up-and-down flow.

I kind of like the sound of the single church bell with wind blowing through during the vamp sections.   I think  it gives kind of a religious feel, but not that overbearing.  What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. This is sensitive, creative, spiritual, nurturing, peaceful and a major accomplishment.
    Church bell is a terrific addition!
    Beautifully done,