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There Is No Rose of Such Virtue (cello carol)

by Betsy Tinney

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This year's carol is another ancient one: "There is No Rose of Such Virtue" (in Middle English, "Ther is no rose of swych virtu"). It's one of thirteen carols from the Trinity Carol Roll, a 15th-century parchment scroll that is the earliest surviving example of polyphonic music written in English. "There is No Rose of Such Virtue" was written around 1420, and like many carols of that period, its lyrics alternate between Middle English and Latin.

My version of this lovely carol includes just cello and guitar, and therefore completely lacks lyrics (in any language). It also includes a lot of space: picture yourself in a medieval cathedral at night, illuminated only by candles. The cathedral's many corners collect echoes and shadows, while the center of the nave resonates with melody and light.

As the dark days of winter lengthen, I hope you will also be surrounded by melody and light!

credits

released December 1, 2022
Cello & guitar: Betsy
Arrangement by Betsy, based on a 15th-century melody from the Trinity Carol Roll
Recorded & mixed by Betsy
Cover photo by Chernetskaya; licensed via Dreamstime.com
Graphic design by Betsy

Image description: A single white candle burns against a black background, illuminating three cream-colored roses lying in front of it. The title "There is No Rose of Such Virtue" and "Betsy Tinney, cello" appear against the black background in cream/gold uncial lettering.

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Betsy Tinney Seattle, Washington

Betsy is a cello storyteller. Using her cello and an electronic looper, she weaves rich, complex and varied tapestries of sound; her original cello compositions paint pictures and tell tales, from thunderstorms and skeletal mice to dancing elephants and humpback whales. ... more

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