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Sample pagesfor mixed choir (SATB div) a cappella
Text: English
Duration: 2'00''
Difficulty: 3/5
Use: Christmas

Composer’s note
A tender shoot is a new setting of the 15th-century German poem, versified by Otto Goldschmidt and translated into English by William Bartholomew in the 19th century. Commissioned by Cathedral Commissions of Wells Cathedral in 2020, the carol utilises expressive harmony to support a memorable tune depicting Christ as the ‘tender shoot’ that sprang from the root of Jesse.

A tender shoot hath started
Up from a root of grace,
As ancient seers imparted,
From Jesse’s holy race,
It blooms without a blight,
Blooms in the cold bleak winter,
Turning our darkness into light.

This shoot Isaiah taught us
From Jesse’s root should spring;
The Virgin Mary brought us
The branch of which we sing;
Our God of endless might
Gave her this child to save us,
Thus turning darkness into light.

German 15th Century
Versified by Otto Goldschmidt (1829–1907)
Translated by William Bartholomew (1793–1867)

Kerensa Briggs
Kerensa Briggs is an award-winning composer based in London. Her music has been performed internationally at venues including St Paul’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and BBC Radio Scotland by ensembles such as The Tallis Scholars and the BBC Singers. It also features on a number of CDs including ‘Advent Carols from King’s College London’ and ‘All things are quite silent’ by the Choir of Pembroke College, Cambridge. Kerensa was winner of the National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award 2014 and the ‘Passiontide at Merton’ Composition Competition 2017. She was also a finalist in the ‘New Music for St Paul’s Composition Competition’ in 2019. Her love of sacred music emanates from her choral background, singing in the Gloucester Cathedral Youth Choir and later for choirs including Trinity College Cambridge and King’s College London, where she held a Choral Scholarship and undertook an MMus in Composition.

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