The Crown of Roses - Tchaikovsky - Len Jenkins
Tchaikovsky wrote this in his 'Songs for Young People' in Moscow in 1883 to words by Pletchtcheev. The story it tells is about Jesus Christ when he was a young child, having a small wild garden in which roses grew. Passing children saw the roses and plucking them mockingly asked if he wove rose garlands in his hair. Christ says to take the roses, but to leave the thorns. Instead, they make a crown of these and forced it onto his head so that it bleeds, symbolic of what was going to happen later in his lifetime. The melody contains all the passion that we associate with Russian church music and is equally suitable for a contemplative Christmas or Passiontide. This arrangement is faithful to the four verses of the original lyrics, but with an optional ending half-way if preferred.