Advent Calendar Day 15: There is no rose of such virtue – Maconchy

I thought I’d finish this sequence with a 20th century arrangement by a woman composer, Elizabeth Maconchy. Maconchy was born in 1907 in Hertfordshire, England, and seems to have written mostly for string quartets and chamber orchestras, though she wrote a handful of operas for children.

There aren’t a lot of women composers out there, mostly because performing music is a cooperative endeavour, and so eras when a woman’s sphere was supposed to be the home, it was far harder for a woman to get her work performed and into the public eye than it was for, say, a woman writer or artist, who could work alone (and publish under a male name if necessary).  So I’m inclined to feature women composers when I see them.

Having said that, I would have picked this out of all the modern arrangements of this text simply for the high, lively ‘allelulias’ at the start, which sound to me like a particularly delighted chorus of angels.  I like the lightness and delicacy of this piece very much, and it’s easy to see how Maconchy’s style would adapt itself to chamber ensembles.




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