Advent Carol for December 21: A Spotless Rose

I have mixed feelings about this one, actually, because while I think it is heart-stoppingly beautiful, for most of us it’s one to admire, rather than to join in with. We had our usual family carols yesterday and attempted several numbers that I’d never heard before, or at least never paid attention to, and I realised anew that it is not possible to read music and words at the same time and get both right. So listening to this now is making me feel a bit anxious.

This is, of course, because it’s a twentieth-century carol – dating from around 1919 – and they’re often a little tricksier than their older relatives. Stick with it, though, for a cameo from a baritone whom you’ll recognise as our solo Balthazar back on December 12th. I wonder what he’s doing now?