Advent Calendar Day 12: Virga Jesse – Bruckner

Basically, I’ll take any excuse to listen to (or sing) Bruckner.  I am not always a huge fan of Romantic music, but I love the richness and lushness of Bruckner’s choral harmonies, and his tendency to set the sopranos soaring at key moments in the music.  Also, I like to pretend that I’m related to him, because my Brukner relatives come from the same corner of the world as he did, and they were musicians… and never mind the fact that Bruckner/Brukner is a very common name and Vienna was the place where musicians tended to end up if at all possible!

The English text here fits nicely with our blossoming rose theme (though roses don’t actually get mentioned this time):

The rod of Jesse hath blossomed: a Virgin hath brought forth God and man: God hath restored peace, reconciling in Himself the lowest with the highest. Alleluia.

I love the way Bruckner paints with music in this piece. In the early section, the choir parts just grow and bloom into ‘floruit’ (blossomed), and the after the firm certainty of the Virgin bringing forth God and Man, and restoring peace, we return to a lovely, soft major key for the reconciliation part.   And the Alleluias are just as full of joy as they should be.

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