The poem ÔÇÿOf a Rose, A Lovely RoseÔÇÖ, depicting the birth of Christ, is found in an anonymous 15th century manuscript now in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Perhaps most famously set to date by John Rutter as part of his ÔÇÿMagnificatÔÇÖ, the text comprises eight stanzas, each of four lines. One of the peculiarities presented by the poem is that, line by line, the stress patterns are irregular. In order to create a flowing melody throughout I have grouped together two or more verses at a time, using bracketed notes to underlay the text as sensitively as possible.
Evoking images of medieval England, the musical language is modal in feel; at the same time, the aim is to provide a lyrical, singable setting for SA+Men, making this a carol that should be well within the capabilities of choirs of limited resources.
The descant towards the end may be sung by a soprano soloist or by a small group.