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HYMN 259 Hosanna, David's Son/Blossom as a Rose Appears

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Two for one!


Finnish: Hoosianna! Davidin Poika

Norwegian: Hosianna! Davids Sønn

Swedish: Hosianna Davids Son

Text: Matthew 21 Tune: Abbé Georg Joseph Vogler (1749-1814)

Hosanna, David’s Son,

Most blessed Holy One,

Hosanna, David’s Son

Who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna!

In the highest!

Hosanna, David's Son,

Who comes in the name of the Lord!

Tr. Gracia Grindal


Blomstre som en Rosengård

Isaiah 35

Text: Nicolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1782-1872) Tune: Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann (1805-1900)

1. Blossom as a rose appears

In the desert places,

Blossom when the golden year

Shines on saddened faces.

Glory crowns proud Lebanon;

Carmel’s heights has glory won

Flowers bloom in Sharon.

2. Sight is given to the blind,

Every eye shall glisten

All the mute their voices find;

All shall hear and listen.

Like the deer the lame shall leap.

Zion, never more shall weep.

Peace shall reign forever.

3. Thus Isaiah prophesied

In the days of sadness.

Ages passed; then far and wide,

Spread the news of gladness.

Christ is here; with us he stands

Changing with his lovely hands

Desert wastes to Eden.

4. Hail our King of God’s right hand,

Jesus and his Spirit.

Lead us to the promised land

We by faith inherit.

And though death is drawing near,

Words of life we all will hear

And shall sing God’s praises.

Tr. Søren Damsgaard Rodholm


There are so many beloved Advent and Christmas hymns I have decided to double up now and then—light hymns for children and then more weighty ones. You cannot really have Advent in Finland, especially, without Hosanna, David’s Son. As you can see on the Youtube selections, it is a popular hymn. Telling the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem once again, it is easily learned and repetitious enough for children to learn easily.

Nicolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig

The Grundtvig hymn did not quite make it to America, except in the Danish-American hymnal, but it was not taken up in later American Lutheran hymnals. It is one of the more popular in Denmark and can be found in most of the Nordic hymnals.

Grundtvig who is known as the Poet of Pentecost intended this as a Pentecost hymn, but hymnal editors have always placed it in the Advent section of their hymnals. The image of the desert blooming, as per Isaiah 35, fits either season. The Danish original has seven stanzas. The third stanza (fifth in the original) is Grundtvig at his best: “Christ is here; with us he stands/Changing with his lovely hands/Desert wastes to Eden.”

This image of Jesus’ hand as lovely isn’t quite in the original, but in any case, Jesus changes the desert into paradise. The Holy Spirit, in the original, is what works the miracle. Last night our Bible study was reading the story of the Annunciation and Visitation from Luke 1. As always, in conversation one makes discoveries one missed before: one of our members held up the significance of a phrase I had missed in the meetings of Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41) which enables her to recognize Mary as the Mother of her Lord when she feels the baby John leaping in her womb. There is a tradition that says Mary is like the Ark of the Covenant carrying the new Torah in her womb. In the Spirit Elizabeth comes to know that—it informs her entire meeting with the young Mary.

Grundtvig taught, as do all Christians, but he, especially, how the Holy Spirit is what graces everything in our lives here on earth. It helps us look at something in life as we might look at a desert and see it blossoming with roses; to see the blind, deaf and mute being healed; to dance like David as he brought the ark into Jerusalem--echoed in John's dancing toward the Incarnate Word in Mary's womb.

Abbé Georg Joseph Vogler

When things seem dark and deadened by sin and hopelessness, Grundtvig teaches us that the Spirit enlivens everything. It leads us to the promised land with words of life. This isn’t just any baby being born—it is the Son of God. Life isn’t just a desert we are seeing—but can be a verdant garden of roses where Christ and the Spirit are bringing the desert wastes to flower. Pray now that our dry and dessicated hearts will blossom like roses in the desert during this holy time..


Hosanna, David’s Son is often a processional for Advent celebrations. Egil Hovland wrote a new melody for it, but the old one is still used in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Vogler, the composer of the old tune, composed music in the late classical style. He was one of the oddest characters in late 18th century Europe. Mozart thought of him as a charlatan; he traveled around Europe building organs, especially in the courts, and teaching music. Carl Maria von Weber was one of his most famous pupils. One historian, Floyd Grave, thought he was the most bizarre character in the history of music. Robert Browning’s poem, Abt Vogler, presents Vogler's thoughts about his life as it is drawing to a close.

Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann

Hartmann, the composer of the Grundtvig hymn, was from an important family of musicians in Denmark. In addition to his music, he worked as a civil servant where he could use his legal training through much of his life. He composed all kinds of music, from symphonies, operas, cantatas, works for organ and piano, as well as chamber music. Some people compare his musical style to Mendelssohn. He ended up as the organist at the Cathedral in Copenhagen.



Finnish performance with masks! Lovely

Tapiola Chamber Choir

Jazz version with a story/not sure I get it


Blomstre som en rosengård

Danish vokalensemble

Musica Ficta with Bo Holten arrangement

Sankt Annæ Pigekor

Link to Browning's poem on Abt Vogler

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