There is no Rose

This Christmas we count down the days with an advent calendar of the 25 best Christmas carols ever written, as voted for by 50 top choral experts from the across the UK and US.

19 December: There is no Rose

Words: Medieval English


Music: John Joubert

Of the countless settings of this medieval text, in which a rose represents the Virgin Mary, it’s those by Benjamin Britten and John Joubert that have become modern classics. And the South African-born Joubert’s perfectly poised 1954 setting for unaccompanied choir enters our list at number six. In the words of Professor Edward Higginbottom, director of music of New College, Oxford, ‘Like most good carols, it’s strophic and singable. But it goes much further than that: exquisitely textured, not a chromatic note in sight, recurring melody that is the height of unaffected elegance, and captivating exchanges between the voices.’

December 15: Once in Royal David's City

December 16: What Sweeter Music

December 17: Of the Father's Heart Begotten


December 18: O Come all ye Faithful