A short playlist today but one that's well worth your while. It features two performances of the late medieval German carol "Maria durch ein dornwald ging" ("Maria walked through a forest of thorns") It's not known who wrote this beautiful old German carol or when they wrote it, but it's known to have been sung in Thuringia (Thüringen) during the fifteenth century. If you like carols, early music, or both, then you'll probably like this carol. It's got a very simple almost child-like melody and its lyrics, which to modern ears sound no less naive, tell of a Christmas miracle. Of how as Mary was wandering through a forest, thorny rose bushes that hadn't flowered for seven years burst into flower as she passed by clasping the Infant Jesus to her breast.
The image of the rose was, as we saw in some of the early English carols that I posted earlier, very popular in medieval poetry and carols. So it's not surprising that it should appear in a fifteenth-century German folk carol. The barren thorn-wood is a reference to Genesis 2:9 (KJV, New Advent) and Genesis 3:18 (KJV, New Advent) of the world fallen into sin while the flowering of the rose trees that were barren for a very long time ("seven long years" rather like "forty days and forty nights" denotes a long period of time) as a result of the presence of the Christ-child is a reference to the redemption that Christ will bring to the world. There are two performances of it in the playlist that you'll find below fold one by the Thomanerchor Leipzig (St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig) and the other by the Wiener Sängerknaben (Vienna Boys' Choir). Sadly they only give the first three verses but I've included the text to all seven verses and a translation below the fold. Enjoy :-).
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