Winner of the Bach Choir Carol Competition, premiered at the Royal Albert Hall during their Christmas Concert, 1995.

Programme Note

There is no Rose was premiered at the Bach Choir's Christmas Concert in 1995 at the Royal Albert Hall (the carol was joint winner of the Bach Choir Carol Competition).

There is No Rose, for unaccompanied SATB choir, is among the earliest works that Frances-Hoad acknowledges (she was only 14). Winner of the Bach Choir Carol Competition of 1995, it was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall during their Christmas Concert of that year. Despite its immediate attractiveness, this is no simple carol but a partsong that meditates upon its text. What impresses about this rather magical piece, apart from its appealing melodic writing, is Frances-Hoad's unhackneyed control of diatonic harmony, sometimes with modal, sometimes with slightly bluesy implications, and the deft way she negotiates between the poem's English and Latin elements. In the final page, as English falls away and we are left with a collection of the salient Latin phrases, the music rises to a kind of matter-of-fact ecstasy.

© Malcolm MacDonald

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