Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 21 September |
The Feast of Saint Matthew the Apostle
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Voces8 spreads cheer with a beautiful German Chistmas carol

J-P Mauro - published on 11/21/17

As Mary went to visit Elizabeth, the dead thornwood bloomed.

As we are gearing up for Advent, we almost can’t wait to become reaquainted with some of our favorite hymns and carols. Many of them focus on the swaddled babe or the journey to the manger, but this piece, “Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” (Maria walks amid the thorns), is about the trip Mary made to her cousin, Elizabeth.

While it is not taken directly from the Bible, it is a pleasant imagining of Mary’s journey, and something of a metaphor, too, that this most blessed of women would also be so pierced by sorrow.

As the Gospel of Luke tells us in 1:39, Mary went to visit Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation, when an angel appeared to her prophesizing her virgin pregnancy. “Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” would take place in the space between Luke 1:39 and 1:40, during her travel.

Remember, Mary lived in Nazareth, while Elizabeth lived in the hill country of Judah (it is not clear exactly which town). Even the closest city, Hebron, south of Jerusalem, would have been about 81 miles as the crow flies and would be closer to 120 miles by road. That trip could have taken her a month to make.

The lyrics speaks of a thornwood, which had been dead for 7 years, springing to life again as Mary walked past while carrying Jesus below her heart. We especially like the way each verse is accented by a strong “Kyrie eleison!” With three verses, the Kyries mirror the Penitential Rite of the Catholic Mass.

Voces8 does a wonderful job with Stefan Claas’ setting. They perform the work with the high quality talent and soul-stilling reverence which we’ve come to expect from them. They continue to raise the bar for sacred choral music.

“Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” became popular in Germany during the early 19th century. It is unclear how old the carol is, but there is evidence that the tune was sung in the early 1600s.

Follow Cecilia–Aleteia’s music page–on Facebook!

Tags:
CeciliaChristmasSacred Music

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
3
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
4
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
5
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
6
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
7
CHAPEL OUR LADY MIRACULOUS MEDAL
Zelda Caldwell
A pilgrimage to Paris’ Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.