Description

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Crown of Roses uses the image of the Christ-child to presage the grim reality of Jesus’s fate. It is popular as a carol despite its stark subject—the other children made Jesus a crown of thorns “and with rough fingers pressed it down, till on his forehead fair and young, red drops of blood like roses sprung”. The text, by Richard Henry Stoddard, was translated into Russian and originally set by Tchaikovsky for voice and piano in his Sixteen Children’s Songs (1884). He later reworked this for a cappella choir, and this is the version that is transcribed here. Three verses and a coda in the sombre key of E minor contrast childlike innocence—for the homogenous warmth of the brass section is used—with violence and pain—for which the septet’s full power is unleashed.

Matthew Knight

Parts included:

  • Score
  • Trumpet in E-flat
  • Trumpet 1 in B-flat
  • Trumpet 2 in B-flat
  • Trombone 1
  • Trombone 2
  • Trombone 3 (Bass)
  • Tuba