There is no Rose

For SATB Choir (with divisions)
(1995) 4 minutes

There is no Rose was premiered at the Bach Choir's Christmas Concert in 1995 at the Royal Albert Hall (the carol was joint winner of the Bach Choir Carol Competition).

Programme note

There is No Rose, for unaccompanied SATB choir, is among the earliest works that Frances-Hoad acknowledges (she was only 14). Winner of the Bach Choir Carol Competition of 1995, it was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall during their Christmas Concert of that year. Despite its immediate attractiveness, this is no simple carol but a partsong that meditates upon its text. What impresses about this rather magical piece, apart from its appealing melodic writing, is Frances-Hoad's unhackneyed control of diatonic harmony, sometimes with modal, sometimes with slightly bluesy implications, and the deft way she negotiates between the poem's English and Latin elements. In the final page, as English falls away and we are left with a collection of the salient Latin phrases, the music rises to a kind of matter-of-fact ecstasy.

© Malcolm MacDonald


There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bare Jesu;

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space;
Res miranda.

By that rose we may well see
That He is God in persons three,
Pari forma.

The angels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis Deo:

Now leave we all this worldly mirth
And follow we this joyful birth;


“Already, in this very early and comparatively traditional setting of a fifteenth-century text, the harmonic adventurousness and expressive freedom of her writing was evident.” Paul Conway, Musical Opinion

"There is no Rose won Frances-Hoad the Bach Choir Carol Competition in 1995 and was premiered by the choir at the Albert Hall that year. Again there is a debt to Britten; yet, the composition shows an astonishing command of textural and harmonic nuance, and such subtleties capture the both the meditative and exhilarating qualities of the text." 

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

"...the supple assurance of There is no Rose, composed at just 14..." Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine

Selected performance history (post-premiere)

1st December 2019 - The Oto Collective at St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, UK

1st December 2019 - Bel a Capella at St. Augustine's Catholic Church, Balmain, Australia

30th November 2018 - The BBC Singers conducted by Ben Palmer at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, UK

17th  December 2017 - The BBC Symphony Chorus conducted by Neil Ferris at Maida Vale Studios, London, UK

25th November 2016 - Sonoro conducted by Neil Ferris at St. James' Piccadilly, London UK


Buy You Promised Me Everything, Cheryl's CD featuring There is No Rose on CD

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