From the Mailbag: Lo, How a Rose

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Es ist ein Rose entsprungen manuscript Michael Praetorius

On Dec 12, 1987, the Pipedreams program featured settings on Lo, How a Rose. I recorded it but lost the program notes listing the various composers and their works. I don't see it in the available archives and wonder if you have any access to this information or even remember it. I would greatly appreciate it if you could.

Thanks in advance!

Douglas H.



My, you have a good memory. Sorry that our online archive is not complete, though we have obtained funding to work on that in the coming fiscal year...hoping to have all programs both listed and listenable.

Thanks for being specific about when you heard the this made looking up the information so much easier!

The three settings of "Lo, how a rose" were by Brahms, Anton Heiller, and Joseph Ahren. Performers were, respectively, David Hill at Westminster Cathedral, London (MCA CD-5840), Peter Planyavsky at Linz Cathedral (Musica Viva 301094, LP), and Sieglinde Ahrens at Nativity of Mary Church, Muhlheim an der Ruhr (Musica Viva 601114, LP).

Of those recordings, only the most common one is still available:

David Hill

The Heiller piece can be found here or here.

The Ahrens will, I am afraid, be more difficult, or impossble, to find. The CD album equivalent of the Musica Viva LP is: Christophorus CHR 77123. I checked on Amazon. There are four double-CD albums in the Christophorus series devoted to Joseph Ahrens, and I have found online listings for:

Volume 2

Volume 3

But, unfortunately, the setting of "Es ist ein Ros" is in Volume 4...

Well, I tried.

Oh, if you want to hear a really lovely arrangement of "Lo, how a rose", check out the Hiram Titus improvisation (piano, not organ, but absolutely gorgeous) here.

Hiram was at Oberlin when I was there, a year or two behind, a marvelous pianist (played the Diabelli Variations from memory on his senior recital), who directed his muse to the creation of original scores for local theatre companies. An astonishing talent. Let me know what you think of his go-round with the rose.

Merry Christmas!




Thank you so much for your thorough and immediate reply! You are truly an amazing person, so attentive to detail and accuracy and so very knowledgable in organs and programs in general!

I wasn't actually looking for another recording of these works since I have them now on CD, but thanks for the suggestions. I mainly wanted to know the composers (Heiller and Ahren -- the Brahms I was always quite familiar with) in the hopes of possibly obtaining the music. (My brother is organist at a church in Chicago.)

A few years ago with the help of a more technically advanced friend, I managed to create computer files of several of our favorite old LP's (which are not available on CD for purchase) that we didn't want to lose, and reformat them into personal CDs. One of the CDs I created was of a volume of Paul Manz Christmas organ works. Since the CD still had some space available, I added the Lo, How a Rose settings from the Pipedreams program to it. It remains one of our favorite Christmas listening traditions!

I had originally taped the radio program back in '87 with our cassette recorder. Back then when it aired late in the evening (10:30pm I'm thinking?) we were faithful listeners to your wonderful program and often laid in bed enjoying them before falling asleep. Alas, our local radio station changed the times of Pipedreams several years ago and it has not been conducive for us to catch it anymore, so the program has fallen by the wayside for many years now. But I recently discovered your archives and will listen to various programs now while working on the computer.

You always have such a pleasant voice to listen to and we've enjoyed hearing you on other various programs besides Pipedreams (Lessons and Carols, etc).

Thanks again for your help! Have a Blessed Christmas too, and a Happy New Year!




Thanks for your thoughtful response, too. It's always good to hear from loyal listeners!

Iowa Public Radio has the program at 9PM on Sunday nights now...perhaps that is not convenient? You can listen any time at or, with any portable digital medium, at

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