Advent Calendar Day 13: The Crown of Roses (Tchaikovsky)

From one rose to another, and this is a very suitable rose for a Friday, since this carol for Advent has a bit of a Good Fridayish tinge to it.

I first sang this in a school choir in Grade 6 or so, which means that it is embedded in my memory for life.    Though I always thought it was for Easter until I kept on finding it in Christmas Carol anthologies.  Then again, Lent and Advent have a similar (purple!) tinge, to my mind.  (I also can’t help thinking whenever I hear this at Christmas that *of course* it’s a Russian composer who thinks about Christmas and goes straight to the crown of thorns imagery.)

I particularly want to mention the choir in this recording, because their sound is really fantastic – very rich, and perfect for the lushness of Tchaikovsky’s harmonies. The choir of King’s College Cambridge is always excellent, but I think this particular recording is outstanding even for them. And the tenor section is in particularly beautiful voice.

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