This is a beautiful article about Lo How A Rose, which is one of my favorite Advent/Christmas carols.
Most Christmas carols, and most of our popular music generally, exist for the rhythm or melody. Consider how much mileage “Angels We Have Heard on High” gets out of its cascading glorias, or how much of the fun of “Carol of the Bells” springs from its icy intervals or insistent tempo. But Lo How a Rose exists for the chords. There is almost no rhythmic variation: The four voices move together, syllable after syllable, in patient homophony. This is a hymn about beholding and listening. It’s about watching revelation flourish.
It includes several different recordings, and a discussion of just how the musical setting testifies to its subject.
The title of this post is taken from the English translation of this piece, normally tucked away on my “About” page:
And this is the most adorable Christmas pageant ever: