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Angelica Women's Chamber Choir | A Rose in Winter

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A Rose in Winter

by Angelica Women's Chamber Choir

This collection of medieval, renaissance, and contemporary music features 13th-century devotional songs from the Cortona Codex and medieval English carols accompanied by portative organ. Angelica is known for its “gorgeous sound, rich sonorities, and transparent harmonies.”
Genre: Classical: Choral Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Altissima Luce
2:00 $0.99
2. Nouvelles, Nouvelles
1:49 $0.99
3. Laude Novella
3:56 $0.99
4. Angelus Ad Virginem
2:39 $0.99
5. Edi Beo Thu Hevene Queen
1:29 $0.99
6. Nowell, Nowell: Tidings True
3:45 $0.99
7. Ave Maria
3:20 $0.99
8. Song of the Nuns of Chester
2:25 $0.99
9. Nova, Nova!
1:56 $0.99
10. The Lamb
3:17 $0.99
11. Maria Durch Ein' Dornwald Ging / Dove Vai Matre Maria
3:08 $0.99
12. Snow
3:45 $0.99
13. I Saw Three Ships
1:33 $0.99
14. There Is No Rose of Swych Vertu
2:23 $0.99
15. Le Sommeil De L'enfant Jesus
2:09 $0.99
16. Deck the Halls (in 7/8)
1:30 $0.99
17. Ave Maria
4:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Recording artists: Marie Caruso, Artistic Director; Melanie Anderson, Claire Collins, Ann Foster, Virginia Kaycoff, Colleen Kiel, Anita Massengill, Kathleen McClafferty, Wilma Messenger, Susan Saslow, Carolyn Summers, and Mary Varchaver.

Altissima luce

The Laudario di Cortona is a collection of 13th-century religious songs discovered in the archives of the Museum of the Etruscan Academy in 1876. Although some 200 such ‘song books’ have survived, only two—the Laudario di Cortona, and the Magliabechiano Codex in the Italian National Library in Florence—contain both the text and the music.
These popular laudes, or “praises,” to the Virgin Mary, the Saints, and Christ’s life were written in the vernacular tongue (here, in Italian rather than the Church’s Latin) by lay communities in the 12th and 13th centuries. Almost all of the compositions are anonymous, and melodies are often borrowed from secular songs.

Altissima luce Most exalted light
di grande splendore, shining with great glory,
in Voi, dolce amore, in You, sweet love,
agiam consolanza. is our consolation.
Ave, regina pulzella amorosa, Hail, queen and maiden full of love,
stella marina the star of the sea
che mai stai nascosa, which does not stay hidden,
luce divina virtù graziosa, divine light, gracious virtue,
bellezza formosa, exquisite beauty,
di Dio sei sembianza. you are the image of God.
Ave Maria di grazia piena, Hail, Mary, full of grace,
Tu sei la via che'a vita ci mena, you are the way which leads us to life;
di tenebria traesti di pena, the early race, which was in great peril,
la gente terrena you have rescued us
ch'è in grande speranza. from darkness and punishment.
Translation: Gavin Bryars, Laude Cortonese

Nouvelles, nouvelles

“Nouvelles, nouvelles” was first published in Noëls and Chansons (Carols and Songs) by M. Nicolas Martin (1556). The collection contains many carols composed by Martin, who had a passion for telling the story of the Nativity. This piece reflects his simple style, conserving the charm of traditional popular carols while keeping the essential Catholic doctrine intact.
Nouvelles, nouvelles, News, news,
au noël nouveau, for Christmastime!
Les vignes sont belles The vineyards are fair
et tous les bledz beaux. and the corn is green.

Pastoureaux en veilles Shepherds at night
avec leurs troupeaux, with their flocks,
Les vignes sont belles (the vineyards are fair
et tous les bledz beau, and the corn is green)
Ouyrent nouvelles t hey heard news
et propos moraulx. and good counsels.
Ont veu extincelles They saw
reluysans flambeaux. shining torches.
Les vignes sont belles ( the vineyards are fair
et tous les bledz beaux and the corn is green)
Ouyrent nouvelles T hey heard news
et propos moraulx. and good counsels.
Ouyrent nouvelles They heard news
et propos moraulx. and good counsels.
Les vignes sont belles (the vineyards are fair
et tous les bledz beaux and the corn is green)
Gloires eternelles and “glory to God”
a dieu aux cieulx haulz. in the high heavens.
Gloires eternelles “Glory to God”
a dieu aux cieulx haulz. in the high heavens.”
Les vignes sont belles (the vineyards are fair
et tous les bledz beaux and the corn is green)
Et paix sans querelles “and peace on earth
aux bons et loyaulx. to men of good will.”

Laude novella

This is another devotional song (No. 2) from the Laudario di Cortona.

Laude novella sia cantata, Let a new song of praise be sung
all’alta Donna encoronata. to the Lady crowned on high.
O dolce pia Verginella, O sweet Virgin maid,
primo fior, rosa novella; first flower, new rose;
tuto il mondo a Te s'appella, all the world appeals to thee,
per la pace ogn'or sognata. for the peace everyone dreams of.
Tu sei la gemma, Tu sei fiore, You are the gem, You are the flower,
Tu sei fonte di splendore You are the source of splendor
voluntà teniamo in core, gladly we hold in our heart,
di venire a Te beata. of coming to you, Blessed Mother
Tu sei rosa, Tu sei gillio, You are the rose, You are the lily,
Tu portasti el dolce fillio. You carried your sweet son,
Pero dona si m'enpillio, Madonna, if you hold me,
de laudare te, honorata. I will sing praises in your honor.

Nulla lingua pò contare No words can tell us
come tu se' da laudare: how worthy you are of praise:
Lo tuo nome fa tremare, Your name makes Satan tremble,
Sathanas a mille fiata. to thousands it speaks.
Laude novella… Let a new song…
Translation: Marie Caruso

Angelus ad virginem
English poet Geoffrey Chaucer mentions this hymn in his "Miller's Tale" (from The Canterbury Tales) written in the 1380s. He describes one character, Nicholas, as owning a splendid psaltery, “on which he made nightly melody, so sweetly that all the chamber rang, and Angelus ad Virginem he sang.” The text is based on the Biblical account of the Annunciation in the New Testament, in which the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:28).
Angelica’s version is based on an arrangement by John A. Parkinson.

Angelus ad Virginem When the angel came secretly
sub intrans in conclave, to the Virgin in her room,
Virginis formidinem soothing her fear,
demulcens, inquit: “Ave! he said: “Hail!
Ave Regina virginum; Hail, Queen of virgins;
Coeli terraeque Dominum the Lord of heaven and earth
Concipies you shall conceive
et paries and bear
intacta while yet untouched by man;
Salutem hominum; Salvation for mankind;
Tu porta coeli facta, You have become the gate of heaven,
Medela criminum.” a remedy for sins.”
“Quomodo conciperem “How can I conceive,
quae virum non cognovi? since I have not known a man?
Qualiter infringerem How can I break the vow
quod firma mente vovi?” I made with firm intent? ”
“Spiritus Sancti gratia “ The grace of the Holy Spirit
perficiet haec omnia; shall bring all this to pass;
ne timeas, fear not,
sed gaudeas, but rejoice,
secura secure that
quod castimonia in the knowledge
manebit in te pura that pure chastity shall remain yours
Dei potentia.” through God's mighty power.”
Ad haec Virgo nobilis To this the noble Virgin
Respondens inquit ei: replied, saying:
“Ancilla sum humilis “I am the lowly handmaiden cont’d...
Omnipotentis Dei. of Almighty God.
Tibi coelesti nuntio, I say to you, heavenly messenger
Tanti secreti conscio, of such a secret,
consentiens, et cupiens knowing and longing
videre to see performed
factum quod audio: what I now hear:
Parata sum parere, I am ready to yield myself
Dei consilio.” to God's design.”
Eia mater Domini, Ah, mother of the Lord,
quae pacem reddidisti who returned peace
angelis et homini, to angels and mankind
cum Christum genuisti: when you bore Christ,
tuum exora filium beg of your Son
ut se nobis propitium that he may show himself
exhibeat, et deleat favorable to us and wipe away
peccata: our sins:
graestans auxilium granting us aid
vita frui beata to enjoy a blessed life
post hoc exsilium. after this exile.

Edi beo thu hevene quene

The 12th and 13th centuries saw an extraordinary growth in the cult of the Virgin Mary in western Europe. It was also the age of chivalry. Influenced by both concepts, this poet wrote a religious love poem. He borrowed numerous phrases (as well as metrical form) from Latin hymns, blending traditions of that religious genre with conventions from secular French poetry, such as ending each stanza in a kind of refrain and declaring himself Mary's knight.

Edi beo thu, hevene quene, Blessed be you, heaven's queen,
folkes froure and engles blis, men’s comfort and angels' bliss,
moder unwemmed and maiden clene, mother unblemished and maiden clean,
swich in world non other nis. such in world no other is.
On thee hit is wel eth sene, In you it is easily seen
of all wimmen thu havest thet pris. of all women you have the prize.
Mi swete levedi, her mi bene My sweet lady, hear my prayer
and reu of me yif thi wille is. and have pity on me if it is thy will.
Thu asteghe so the daigh rewe You ascend like the ray of dawn
the deleth from the deorke nicht, That separates the dark night;
of the sprong a leome newe Of thee sprang a new light
that al this world haveth ilight. That has lit all this world.
Nis non maide of thine heowe, There is no maid of thy complexion,*
swo fair, so schene, so rudi, swo bricht. So fair, so beautiful, so fair, so beautiful,
Swete levedi, of me thu reowe Sweet lady, have compassion for me
and have merci of thin knicht. And have mercy on your knight.
* demeanor

Nowell, nowell: Tidings true

English Carols were meant to be predictable: the verses were sung by soloists, while the “burden,” or chorus, was sung by the group. Sometimes the burdens were quite rousing, which allowed the whole congregation to participate. This carol tells the story of the Annunciation.

Nowell, nowell, nowell, this is the salutation of th’angel, Gabriel.
Tidings true there be come new sent from the Trinity,
By Gabriel to Nazareth, city of Galilee: a clean maiden and pure virgin
Thro’ her humility hath conceived the person second in deity. Nowell...
When he first presented was before her fair visage,
In the most demure and goodly wise he did to her homage
And said: “Lady, from heaven so high, that Lordës heritage
From which of thee born would be, I am sent on message.” Nowell...
Suddenly she, abashed truly, but not all thing dismayed,
With mind discreet and meek spirit to the angel she said:
“With what manner should I child bear, the which ever a maid
Have lived chaste all my life past and never man assayed?” Nowell...
Then again to her certain answerëd the angel:
“O lady dear, be of good cheer, and dread thee never a del;
Thou shalt conceive in thy body, maiden, very God himself,
In whose birth heaven and earth shall joy, called Emmanuel.” Nowell...
Then again to the angel she answered womanly:
“Whatever my Lord command me do I will obey meekly.
Ecce, sum humillima ancilla Domini;
Secundum verbum tuum,” she said, “fiat mihi.”
[I am the handmaid of the Lord;
Be it done unto me according to Thy word.] Nowell...

Ave Maria

Hungarian composer, conductor, and educator Miklós Kocsár has won numerous awards & honors, including being named a Merited Artist of the Hungarian Republic. He composed this setting of the Roman Catholic Church’s prayer to the Virgin Mary on commission by the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition in 1998.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Hail Mary, full of grace,
Dominus tecum; the Lord is with thee.
benedicta tu in mulieribus, Blessed art thou amongst women
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Holy Mary, Mother of God,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, pray for us sinners,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Song of the Nuns of Chester

This anonymous carol and lullaby was a processional sung by the Benedictine nuns of St. Mary-on-the-hill in Chester, England. The processional was part of the religious/theatrical plays that were common in certain convents throughout Europe. The plays told religious stories and became a popular form of learning and entertainment among the nuns and their guests. Both the text and the tune were found in the nunnery’s Processional, which dates back to the 15th century.
Angelica's arrangement is inspired by New York’s Ensemble for Early Music.

Qui creavit coelum, Lully, lully, lu. He who created the sky, Lully…
Nascitur in stabulo, By, by, by, by. Sleeping in a manger, By, by…
Rex qui regit saeculum, Lully… King who rules the age, Lully…
Inter animalia, Lully… Among the animals, Lully…
Jacent mundi gaudia, By, by… Spreading joy to the world, By, by…
Dulcis super omnia, Lully… Sweet above all things, Lully…
Roga mater filium, Lully… Mother, ask your son, Lully…
Ut det nobis gaudium, By, by… To reveal joy to us, By, by…
In perenni gloria, Lully… In lasting glory, Lully…
In sempiterna saecula, Lully… For everlasting ages, Lully…
In aeternum et ultra, By, by… For eternity and beyond, By, by…
Det nobis sua gaudia, Lully… Reveal joy to us, Lully…

Nova, nova!

In this Annunciation carol, the refrain embodies the popular medieval conceit that the Virgin Mary was the new Eve—that Eve’s sin had been transformed. Gabriel’s ‘Ave Maria’ signals the end of man’s domination by Eve’s sin.
Nova, nova! ‘Ave fit ex Eva.’
News, news! Ave [the Virgin Mary] is made from Eve.

Gabriell off hye degre,
he cam down from Trinite,
to Nazareth in Galile:
He met a maydn in a place;
He knelyd down afore hir face,
he seyd: “Heile, Mary, ful of grace!”

When the maiden herd tell off this,
sche was full sore abashyd [afraid] iwis,
and wened [thought] that sche had don amysse.

Then seid the angell: “Dred not thue,
Ye shall conceyve in all virtu
a Chyld whose name shall be Jhesu.”

It is not yit syx month agoon
sen Elizabeth conceyved John,
as it was prophysed beforne.
Then seid the mayden verely,
“I am youre servaunt right truely.
Ecce, ancilla, Domini!”
[Behold the handmaid of the Lord!]

The Lamb

Sir John Tavener was born in England in 1944 and is a direct descendant of the 16th century composer John Taverner (despite the different spelling). Drawn to mystic and religious subjects, he evinces a highly individual style derived from such wide-ranging influences as the music of Olivier Messiaen and chants of the Russian Orthodox Church.
He composed The Lamb from seven notes in a single afternoon. The poem is from William Blake's collection entitled Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789), throughout which the figure of the lamb symbolizes innocence. Tavener has set the poem simply, using a one-bar melodic phrase repeated almost in litany-fashion, while continually varying the harmonic and chordal textures. The effect is one of both tenderness and transcendence.

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild,
He became a little child.
I, a child, and thou, a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging / Dove vai Matre Maria

Songs evolve and transform as they travel over time from country to country. In this piece, Angelica has combined two songs based on the same melody.
The German hymn, taken from the Katholische Geistliche Gesangbuch, or Catholic Sacred Songbook (Andernach, 1608), indicates that this traditional hymn was universally known. The use of the words “Kyrie eleison” (“Lord have mercy”) indicates that it originated in the first period of the creation of German religious folk songs during the Middle Ages. Between the second and third verse we have added the Italian version of the same melody, which is a 13th-century traditional Umbrian hymn from a collection of popular songs.

Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging Mary walked through a thorny forest,
Kyrie eleison! Lord have mercy!
Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging, Mary walked through a thorny forest,
der hatte in sieb'n Jahr'n which hadn't had leaves
kein Laub getrag'n for seven years.
Jesus und Maria! Jesus and Mary!
Was trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen? What did Mary carry under her heart
Kyrie eleison! Lord have mercy!
Ein kleines Kindlein ohne Schmerzen A small boy who feels no pain
das trug Maria unterm Herzen! is what Mary carried under her heart!
Jesus und Maria! Jesus and Mary!
Dove vai Matre Maria Where are you going, Mother Mary,
desolata per questa via? all alone on this road?
Vo cercando l'mio figliolo I am looking for my son;
son tre di it has been three days
che non lo trovo! that I cannot find him!
Le risponde Maddalena: Magdalena responds:
“O Maria de grazia piena, “O Mary, full of grace,
L'ho trovato su quel monte, I found him on that hill,
con le man legate e giunte!” with his hands bound together!”
Da hab'n die Dornen Rosen getrag'n, There the thorns began bearing roses.
Kyrie eleison! Lord have mercy!
Als das Kindlein As the child
durch den Wald getrag'n was carried through the wood,
da haben die Dornen Rosen getrag'n. there the thorns began bearing roses.
Jesus und Maria! Jesus and Mary!
Translations: vv.1-2, Minako Watanabe; v. 3, Marie Caruso; v.4, A Pittsburgh Wassail, Pittsburgh Camerata, 2002.


Archibald Lampman (1861–1899) is considered one of Canada’s most highly regarded poets of the 19th century. His poetry often depicts Canada’s rural life and the beauty of nature. Canadian singer, songwriter and musician Loreena McKennitt adapted Lampman’s poem “Snow” as a song, aiming to capture the spirit of winter through sparse sounds. Angelica was inspired by Loreena’s composition and created an arrangement for women’s voices.

White are the far-off plains, and white
The fading forests grow;
The wind dies out along the height,
And denser still the snow,
A gathering weight on roof tree,
Falls down scarce audibly.
The meadows and far-sheeted streams
Lie still without a sound;
Like some soft minister of dreams
The snow-fall hoods me round;
In wood and water, earth and air,
A silence everywhere.
Save when at lonely intervals
Some farmer's sleigh, urged on,
With rustling runners and sharp bells,
Swings by me and is gone;
Or from the empty waste I hear
A sound remote and clear;
The evening deepens, and the gray
Folds closer earth and sky;
The world seems shrouded far away;
Its noises sleep, and I,
As secret as yon buried stream,
Plod dumbly on, and dream.

I saw three ships

The words of this English carol were first published in 1666, and the bouncy tune in 6/8 is thought to be a traditional English melody. Some historians attribute it to Derbyshire. The three ships were a religious metaphor meant to represent the three wise men (camels were known as the ships of the desert), but they later came to symbolize the Holy Family.
I saw three ships come sailing in, on Christmas day, on Christmas day,
I saw three ships come sailing in, on Christmas day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three? On Christmas day…
Our Saviour Christ and his lady, on Christmas day …
And all the bells on earth shall ring, on Christmas day …
And all the souls on earth shall sing,, on Christmas day …
And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing, on Christmas day …

There is no rose of swych vertu

This setting of this anonymous 15th century English carol was adapted from Katherine Blake’s composition found on the Medieval Bæebes album The Rose. The poem embodies a common medieval thought of identifying the Virgin with a rose, and it follows the old custom of mixing Latin with the vernacular. Blake’s composition retains a medieval mood while adding some harmonies that are uniquely modern.
There is no rose of swych vertu
as is the rose that bare Jhesu.
For in this rose conteynèd was
Heven and erthe in lytle space.
Res miranda. [Marvelous thing.]
By that rose we may weel see
there he is God in persones three,
pares forma. [equal in form.]

Le Sommeil de l′Enfant Jésus
(The Slumber of the Infant Jesus)

Françoise Auguste Gevaert’s father was a baker, and Françoise was intended for the same profession, but better councils prevailed and he was permitted to study music. Though a successful composer—he wrote numerous operas, cantatas, songs, and other works—he was happier as a teacher, historian, writer, and lecturer on music. His many works include the well-known Treatise on Instrumentation.

Entre les bœuf et l'âne gris, Among the oxen and gray donkeys,
dors, dors, dors le petit fils. Sleeps, sleeps, sleeps the little son.
Mille anges divins, mille seraphins A thousand angels and seraphim
volent à l'entour de ce grand Dieu d'amour. soar above the great Lord of love.
Entre les roses et des lys, Among the roses and lilies,
dors, dors... Sleeps, sleeps…
Entre les pastoureaux jolis, Among the pretty little shepherds,
dors, dors... sleeps, sleeps…

Deck the Halls

The tune of this traditional Yuletide and New Years' carol is from the 16th-century Welsh winter carol “Nos Galan.” The “fa-la-la” refrain is typical of the Renaissance ballett, which was cultivated in England. The ballett song form was predictable—mostly homophonic in texture, with the melody appearing mainly in the highest voice. This arrangement by McKelvey is meant to be unpredictable!

Ave Maria

American composer William Hawley began his creative life primarily as an instrumental composer, but he gradually found his work assuming deeper expression in vocal music. He seeks to reintegrate the emotional and spiritual elements of pre-20th-century Western classical music with the technical and conceptual acquisitions of Modernism. This piece was commissioned by the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir and premiered in 1997.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Hail Mary, full of grace,
Dominus tecum; the Lord is with thee.
benedicta tu in mulieribus, Blessed art thou amongst women
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Jesus. Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Holy Mary, Mother of God,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, pray for us sinners,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. now, and in the hour of our death.

Marie Caruso, Artistic Director; Melanie Anderson, Claire Collins, Ann Foster, Virginia Kaycoff, Colleen Kiel, Anita Massengill, Kathleen McClafferty, Wilma Messenger, Susan Saslow, Carolyn Summers, and Mary Varchaver.



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