And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

mandag 26. desember 2016

A rose from the root of Jesse - a Christmas song in Norwegian and German

One of my favourite Christmas songs is the German song Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, a text of an unknown author. The music is a traditional German composition, and it was arranged for choral use by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621). The song is regularly performed during the Advent and Christmas season in my village, but then of course in its Norwegian rendition, "Det hev ei rose sprunge", which was translated by Peter Hognestad in the period 1919-21. The text of the song is a meditation on the birth of Christ as a fulfillment of Isaiah 11:1, where it says that a shoot will spring up from the root of Jesse, i.e. Christ. Jesse is the father of King David, and since the Gospel of Luke emphasizes that Joseph was of the house of David, Christ is seen as belonging to the branch of Jesse and thus fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy.

Below are two renditions, one in Norwegian and one in German.

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