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Anon, 15th century English

One of the best-loved carols of the season is “Ther is no rose of swych vertu,” a beautifully stark and simple piece of polyphony that alternates in three- and two parts. The source of the piece is the Trinity Carol Roll, now preserved in the archives of Trinity College, Cambridge (MS O.3.58), and it appears as a vellum roll that includes the earliest surviving examples of English polyphonic carols.

Text and tune of the original carol have been fodder for a multitude of contemporary arrangements including a segment of Benjamin Britten’s well-known Ceremony of Carols. Our simple and transparent performance of “Ther is no rose of swych vertu” is sensitively arranged for the historically-appropriate combination of solo voice and lute.

lyrics

Ther is no rose of swych vertu
As is the rose that bare Jhesu.

For in this rose conteynyd was
Heuen and erthe in lytyl space,
Alleluya

The aungelys sungyn the shepherdes to:
‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’.
Res miranda.

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Mignarda Danby, New York

Mignarda specializes in thoughtful programming illuminating the vibrant mingling of renaissance music & poetry. Noted for awakening modern audiences to an appreciation for historical music, their work encompasses concertizing, teaching & recording, with ten critically-acclaimed CDs, a series of 12 music editions, scholarly articles, reviews and the internationally-popular blog, Unquiet Thoughts. ... more

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