O Lovely Rose


This is the fifth song of Edward MacDowell's song set Six Love Songs, Op. 40 from 1890. It features a sweet, simple melody over a sparse accompaniment with a chordal texture.

O Lovely Rose

Edward MacDowell's set of Six Love Songs, Op. 40, was composed during the middle period of his song composition (roughly 1886-1890). By the late 1880s, MacDowell had moved away from the German Lieder that characterized his first period of song composition and focused instead on setting English texts, especially those written by contemporary American poets. It was also during this time that MacDowell and his wife Marian moved from Germany to the United States, settling in Massachusetts, where the composer met Boston music publisher Arthur Paul Schmidt, who would became MacDowell's primary publisher.

The Six Love Songs, Op. 40, with texts by William Henry Gardner, were published by Schmidt in Boston in 1890, and then by Elkins in London. Scholars believe that it was with this collection that MacDowell began to establish his unique American voice as a song composer. Although not as well known as some of MacDowell's other song sets, these six songs are nonetheless refined and full of tenderness and charm.

--Library of Congress

O Lovely Rose
by William Henry Gardner

O lovely rose,
No flower that grows,
Is half so fair as thou, as thou,
Thy beauty rare beyond compare,
Makes me in homage bow.
O cruel rose,
Thou dost disclose,
A loveliness divine,
But had I seen,
Thy thorns, I ween,
I'd all thy love decline.

Photo: Under the rose. Currier & Ives, c1896. Prints and Photographs Reading Room, Library of Congress.

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