Advent Calendar Day 7: There Is No Rose of Such Virtue

Given that I’m coming up with a post a day during Advent, I was going to put my Friday Fun on hiatus… but on reflection, that didn’t sound like much fun at all, so instead, I’m going to devote Fridays in Advent to interpretations of carols that are just plain weird.  And what could be weirder than Sting singing medieval Advent Carols?

Answer: Sting singing weird middle-eastern interpretations of medieval Advent Carols, that’s what.  And do you know what’s really scary about this?  He’s done a whole *bunch* of them.

I have to admit, I don’t like Sting’s interpretation at all – the middle-eastern  instrumentation and style is actually really interesting, but his singing drives me right up the wall.  But I somehow couldn’t let this discovery go by without sharing it, especially not now that I’ve been sitting here giggling and wincing at the awfulness of these songs for the last half hour.  (Andrew, who has sitting next to me and being appalled did point out that it was unreasonable for me to sit here saying  ‘make them stop’ when I am in fact the one in control of the mouse.  He also says that they are both interesting and terrible and should be better than they are.  Which is pretty much my critique, too, though I think he likes Sting more than I do.

Anyway, having inflicted that on you, I feel morally obliged to provide you with a saner version of that particular piece of music.  So here, have a version by Chanticleer, so you can hear what people normally do with those notes and words.  And, just for variety, here’s a particularly beautiful modern setting of the words by Bonnie Miksch that starts with plainchant winding around itself in canon, and then gets choral.  Stunning, and beautifully sung.

Don’t you wish I’d found that before I found Sting?


2 thoughts on “Advent Calendar Day 7: There Is No Rose of Such Virtue

  1. Philomytha says:

    Someone gave me the album that’s from last Christmas. I did enjoy some of his interpretations, especially if I wasn’t already very familiar with a more traditional setting, though the ones I liked best tended to be the more original compositions. His voice is a bit of an acquired taste, though.

    This was the one I liked best:, though I mostly liked it for the female voice and harp rather than Sting. Also honourable mention to this one for being lively and fun, though the random ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ bit is – well, random: Philomythulus likes that one :-).


    • Catherine says:

      I think I’d have actually liked his weird arrangements if someone else had been singing them. Wrong sort of voice for that sort of music. But I do like the one you recommended, because it sounds more like a folk song, which fits his voice better.

      Soul Cake, on the other hand, was not one of his better ideas (odd, because it’s folky too, but it doesn’t work)…


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