Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Sixth Day of Christmas: The Cherry Tree Carol

Here's this old carol, sung just recently by the Choir of Ely Cathedral:



From the YouTube page:
"The cherry tree carol" is a 13th-century English traditional carol, appearing here in a world premiere recording of a new arrangement. The words tell the apocryphal tale of Mary and Joseph on the way to Nazareth for the Census: Mary asks Joseph to pluck a cherry for her, and he refuses, spitefully suggesting that the father of the baby should do so instead. Jesus, from within the womb, commands Joseph to do as he is told. The tune is cheery (cherry?) and melodic, and lends itself well to the upper voices used in this arrangement.
Here is one set of words to this; this choir seems to be singing a slightly different set, though:
When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
Joseph and Mary walked through an orchard green
There were cherries and berries, as thick as might be seen
There were cherries and berries, as thick as might be seen

Mary said to Joseph, so meek and so mild:
Joseph, gather me some cherries, for I am with child
Joseph, gather me some cherries, for I am with child

Then Joseph flew in anger, in anger flew he
Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee!
Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee!

Then up spoke baby Jesus, from in Mary's womb:
Bend down the tallest branches, that my mother might have some
Bend down the tallest branches, that my mother might have some

And bend down the tallest branches, it touched Mary's hand
Cried she: Oh look thou Joseph, I have cherries by command
Oh look thou Joseph, I have cherries by command

This page on the site "Remembering the Old Songs," has some more information on the carol, as well as another set of words to a much longer version.  This was originally an article written by by Bob Waltz and published in Inside Bluegrass in December 1995, apparently.
For some reason that I've never been able to fathom, Christianity and the Christmas story have never had a strong place in traditional music. Francis James Child, in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, listed 305 traditional English-language ballads; by my count, exactly seven of these have religious themes.Vance Randolph's Ozark Folksongs (arguably the best collection of American folk tunes) lists 68 religious pieces, but apart from a few spirituals, all are by church or popular composers.

There is one major exception: The Cherry Tree Carol. This piece, Child #54, was collected in Britain in the seventeenth century (and is probably older), and has been found throughout the Appalachians, as well as in the Ozarks and on into Canada. Jean Ritchie recorded an Appalachian version on "Kentucky Christmas."

The story may have originated in the "Infancy Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew," an apocryphal Latin work of the ninth century. In it, the miracle took place after Jesus's birth. Joseph, Jesus, and Mary were fleeing from King Herod when Mary became faint from the heat. Joseph led her under a date palm tree to rest. Mary begged Joseph to get her some of the dates. Joseph was astonished; the tree was too tall to climb. But Jesus (who was no more than two years old) commanded the palm, "Bow down, tree, and refresh my mother with your fruit." And bow down it did, and remained until Jesus ordered it to straighten up (and be carried up into heaven!)

The earliest English versions seem to have included three parts: the story of Joseph's jealousy (found in the Bible in Matthew 1:18 & :25) and the cherry tree; the angel's message to Joseph on Christmas Eve, and a conversation between Mary and the baby Jesus (who may not even have been born yet). In it he predicts his crucifixion and, as here, his birth on January 6, the "old-style Christmas" which many people in the Appalachians celebrated until early in this century.

When Joseph was an old man,
An old man was he,
When he courted Virgin Mary,
The Queen of Galilee,
When he courted Virgin Mary,
The Queen of Galilee,

As Joseph and Mary
Were walking one day,
"Here are apples and cherries,"
O Mary did say....

Then Mary spoke to Joseph,
So meek and so mild,
"Joseph, gather me some cherries
For I am with child...."

Then Joseph flew in anger --
In anger flew he,
"Let the father of the baby
Gather cherries for thee!"

Then Jesus spoke a few words,
A few words spoke he,
"Let my mother have some cherries;
Bow low down, cherry tree!

"Bow down, O cherry tree!
Bow low down to the ground!"
Then Mary gathered cherries
While Joseph stood around....

Then Joseph took Mary
All on his left knee;
Saying: "What have I done? Lord,
Have mercy on me!"

Then Joseph took Mary
All on his right knee,
"Pray tell me, little baby,
When your birthday shall be....

"On the sixth day of January
My birthday shall be,
When the stars and the elements
Shall tremble with glee....

***

As Joseph was a-walking,
He heard an angel sing,
"Tonight shall be the birth-time
Of Christ, our heavenly king...."

"He neither shall be born
In house nor in hall,
Nor in the place of paradise,
But in an ox's stall....

"He neither shall be clothéd
In purple nor in pall
But in the bare white linen
That useth babies all....

As Joseph was a-walking,
Then did an angel sing,
And Mary's child at midnight
Was born to be our king....

There are indeed quite a number of bluegrass/Appalachian versions of the carol on YouTube.  Here's one example:




Here's a really nice instrumental version:





Friday, December 29, 2017

For the feast of St. Thomas Becket: In Rama sonat gemitus ("The sound of weeping is heard in Rama")

Here's something quite interesting for this feast day. It's a 12th century anonymous composition found in a French manuscript; its subject is Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on this day in 1170.




The story related in this piece is not Becket's murder, though, but his exile at the hands of King Henry II of England.  From the YouTube page:
'In Rama sonat gemitus' (The sound of weeping is heard in Rama) is an anonymous work (conductus) found in the French manuscript source Wolfenbüttel 677. Using biblical allusion, it comments directly on the exile of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, from England to France in 1164. Although eventually returned to England in [1170], he was murdered just a few months later. This dates In Rama sonat gemitus to the years of his exile: 1165-1170.

Here are the words, in Latin with an English translation, from CPDL:
In Rama sonat gemitus
plorante Rachel Anglie:
Herodis namque genitus
dat ipsam ignominie.
En eius primogenitus
et Joseph Cantuarie
Exulat (? - or 'si sit') fisto venditus
Egiptum colit Gallie.


A lamentation is heard in Rama:
England's Rachel weeps.
For one begotten by Herod
treats her with ignominy.
Her firstborn -
Joseph of Canterbury -
is exiled as if sold,
and lives in the Egypt of France.

- Translation by Mick Swithinbank

My friend Robert pointed out to me this CD of music "in honor of St. Thomas of Canterbury."  The liner notes for this piece on that CD say this:
This plaint for solo voice is the earliest surviving piece of music about Becket. Since it mentions his exile in France, it must date from the period 1164-1170, though it was not copied into its only extant manuscript source until much later. In the poem, Rama refers to Canterbury, Rachel to the Mother Church, Herod to Henry II, while the Joseph sold by his jealous brethren is Becket.

Pretty interesting!  I was curious about the Scriptural reference; I know it best from this verse from Matthew, where it refers to the slaughter of the innocents (which was yesterday's feast day, in fact):
A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.

I thought it was sort of odd, though, for such a verse to be used for this purpose; the exile of an Archbishop isn't really anything like the slaughter of innocents.  So I searched some more on this theme, and found - although I hadn't remembered it - that Jeremiah had Rachel weeping, too:
Thus says the LORD: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”
And here, Rachel IS weeping for an exile:  for the exile of Israel in Babylon.  So this is the basis for In Rama sonat gemitus, referring to Thomas Becket.

(I could have realized what Matthew was doing a bit sooner by simply reading the verse prior to Matthew 2:18 above!  Here's Matthew 2:17:  "Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:  ".)

That leaves us with the original Rachel; did she actually weep over her children?

There seem to be at least two takes on this.  One thought is that Genesis 30:1 is one reason for Rachel to weep:
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!”

Another interpretation of the reference to Rachel is that she:
....died with "sorrow" in giving birth to Benjamin (Ge 35:18, 19, Margin; 1Sa 10:2), and was buried at Ramah, near Bethlehem, is represented as raising her head from the tomb, and as breaking forth into "weeping" at seeing the whole land depopulated of her sons, the Ephraimites.
The commentators often group several of these things together, as well.  It is also true that, again according to Jeremiah (40:1), the captives were taken to Ramah as they began their journey into exile in Babylon:
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he took him bound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon.  The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “The Lord your God pronounced this disaster against this place.  The Lord has brought it about, and has done as he said. Because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you.  Now, behold, I release you today from the chains on your hands. If it seems good to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look after you well, but if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, do not come. See, the whole land is before you; go wherever you think it good and right to go.

(Some commentators have also pointed out that the meaning of the word "Ramah" is "high place."  It may be that Er-ram, north of Jerusalem, is the modern-day city that was once Ramah.)

In any case, the choice of text is to symbolize Becket's exile, not his murder - which means that the Scriptural reference is to Jeremiah and not Matthew.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Introit for St. Stephen: Etenim sederunt ("Princes met and talked against me")

Etenim sederunt is the Introit for the Feast of St. Stephen, December 26. Here it's sung by the Benedictine Nuns of Saint-Michel de Kergonan.





The text comes from various parts of Psalm [118/]119; here is the Latin and English from Divinum Officium:
Introitus
Ps 118:23; 118:86; 118:23
Sedérunt príncipes, et advérsum me loquebántur: et iníqui persecúti sunt me: ádjuva me, Dómine, Deus meus, quia servus tuus exercebátur in tuis justificatiónibus.
Ps 118:1
Beati immaculáti in via, qui ámbulant in lege Dómini
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculórum. Amen
Sedérunt príncipes, et advérsum me loquebántur: et iníqui persecúti sunt me: ádjuva me, Dómine, Deus meus, quia servus tuus exercebátur in tuis justificatiónibus.


Introit
Ps 118:23, 86, 23.
Princes met and talked against me, and the wicked persecuted me wrongfully; help me, O Lord my God, for Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
Ps 118:1
Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Princes met and talked against me, and the wicked persecuted me wrongfully; help me, O Lord my God, for Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

Here's the chant score:


 In writing this post, I've come across some interesting stuff.  Apparently this Introit has at quite a number of tropes associated with it. 

Tropes are embellishments of the liturgical chants; they were sung prior to or interspersed with the Proper chants of feast days.   They are a development of the Middle Ages, and were abolished eventually at the council of Trent in 1570.  Here's a description from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Trope, in medieval church music, melody, explicatory text, or both added to a plainchant melody. Tropes are of two general types: those adding a new text to a melisma (section of music having one syllable extended over many notes); and those inserting new music, usually with words, between existing sections of melody and text.

Troping was rooted in similar practices in the ancient Byzantine liturgy and arose in the West, probably in France, by the 8th century. The custom reached the musically important Swiss monastery of Saint Gall by the 9th century and soon became widespread throughout Europe. It was abolished in the 16th century by the Council of Trent.

Two important medieval musical-literary forms developed from the trope: the liturgical drama and the sequence (qq.v.). A troped chant is sometimes called a farced (i.e., interpolated) chant.

Here is an example of one of the tropes on this Introit, found in the book Early Trope Repertory of Saint Martial de Limoges, by Paul Evans.  The book describes it as an example of "line-by-line interpolations, in which a trope introduces each phrase of the official chant":
Trope:  Hodie Stephanus martye celos ascendit, quem propheta dudmum intuens eius voce dicebat:
Introit:  Etenim sederunt principes et adversum me loquebantur.
Trope:  Insurrexerunt contra me Iudeorum populi inique,
Introit:  Et iniqui persecuti sunt me.
Trope:  Invidiose lapidibus appresserunt me;
Introit:  Adiuva me Dominus Deus meus.
Trope:  Suscipe meum in pace spiritum,
Introit:  Quia servus tuus exercebatur in tuis iustificationibus.

Tropes were new compositions, and the melody and texts were conceived simultaneously, according to Evans.   Unfortunately, I was not able to find any audio or video of any of the tropes for this feast - but I will keep looking.  Perhaps there will be some video online for tropes of major feasts; there are many associated with Christmas, so I may return there.

This page in the book The Winchester Troper, from Mss. of the Xth and XIth Centuries - edited by Walter Frere - contains a complete list of tropes associated with this feast from those sources.  Here's screen-cap of that page, listing all the tropes, with some footnotes; as you can see, there are several tropes each associated with the Introit, the Offertory, and the Communio:



I am now reading a bit more about the tropes on this Introit, but want to get this post published today, so that will be another post.

Here's an interesting painting of St. Stephen by Mariotto di Nardo; the full title is apparently "Predella Panel Representing the Legend of St. Stephen: Devils Agitating the Sea as Giuliana Transports the Body of St. Stephen from Jerusalem to Constantinople / The Re-interment of St. Stephen beside St. Lawrence in Rome."

No idea what that's about, but I'll check it out!





Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Christmas Responsory: Hodie nobis caelorum Rex

Here's the beautiful 1st Responsory of Christmas Matins; I believe the singers are the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, directed by Mary Berry, and that the recording comes from this CD.  They are wonderful singers!



From Divinum Officium, here is the text in Latin and English, from its "1570 Trident" source:
R. Hodie nobis cælórum Rex de Vírgine nasci dignátus est, ut hóminem pérditum ad cæléstia regna revocaret:
* Gaudet exercitus Angelórum: quia salus æterna humano generi appáruit.
V. Glória in excélsis Deo, et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntátis.
R. Gaudet exercitus Angelórum: quia salus æterna humano generi appáruit.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Hodie nobis cælórum Rex de Vírgine nasci dignátus est, ut hóminem pérditum ad cæléstia regna revocaret: * Gaudet exercitus Angelórum: quia salus æterna humano generi appáruit.

R. This is the day whereon the King of heaven was pleased to be born of a Virgin, that He might bring back to heaven man who was lost.
* There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.
V. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, to men of goodwill.
R. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. This is the day whereon the King of heaven was pleased to be born of a Virgin, that He might bring back to heaven man who was lost. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.

Here's the chant score, from the McMaster Sarum Breviary (PDF); it's a slight bit different than what the Roman Breviary does.  The latter returns to "gaudet exercitus angelorum" in the response, while the former to "Quia salus eterna."



This is what the First Nocturn of Christmas Matins looks like; this is taken from the Marquess of Bute Roman Breviary published 1908:
FIRST NOCTURN.
First Antiphon. The LORD hath said unto Me : * Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.
Psalm II.
Why do the heathen rage ? &c.
Second Antiphon. The Lord is as a bridegroom * coming out of his chamber.
Psalm XVIII.
The heavens declare, &c. 
Third Antiphon. Grace is poured into Thy lips: * therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
Psalm XLIV.
Mine heart is overflowing, &c.
Verse. The Lord is as a bride groom.

First Lesson.  (Isa. ix. I.)
AT the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zabulon and the land of Naphtali : and afterward did more grievously afflict the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light : they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation and not increased the joy. They shall joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, and the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood, and it shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given : and the government is upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Ever lasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

First Responsory.
This is the day whereon the King of heaven was pleased to be born of a Virgin, that He might bring back to heaven man who was lost. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.
Verse.  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, to men of goodwill. 
Answer. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.
Verse. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
Answer. This is the day whereon the King of heaven was pleased to be born of a Virgin, that He might bring back to heaven man who was lost. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.

Second Lesson. (Isa. xl. i.)
COMFORT ye, comfort ye, My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned ; for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness : Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert an highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low : and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together ; for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And I said : What shall I cry ? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth and the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it : surely the people is grass. The grass withereth and the flower fadeth : but the word of our  Lord endureth for ever.

Second Responsory.
This day is the true peace come down unto us from heaven. This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.
Verse. This day is the daybreak of our new redemption, of the re storing of the old, of everlasting joy.
Answer. This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.

Third Lesson. (Isa. lii. I.)
AWAKE, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion : put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, thou city of the Holy One ! for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust, arise, sit down, O Jerusalem : loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion ! For thus saith the LORD : Ye have sold yourselves for nought, and ye shall be redeemed without money. For thus saith the Lord  GOD : My people went down aforetime into Egypt, to sojourn there : and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now, therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that My people is taken away for nought ? They that rule over them do evil, saith the LORD, and My name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore My people shall know My Name in that day : they shall know that I am He That spake, behold, it is I.

Third Responsory.
O ye shepherds, speak, and tell us what ye have seen ; who is appeared in the earth ? We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.
Verse. Speak ; what have ye seen ? And tell us of the Birth of Christ.
Answer. We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.
Verse. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
Answer. We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.

Lovely, to me, that all three Lessons are taken from Isaiah.  The fourth through sixth Lessons are taken from a Christmas sermon of Pope Leo II - and then the seventh and eighth Lessons, finally, are Luke's Nativity.  The ninth Lesson is the beautiful Prologue of John's Gospel.  Really a wonderful Feast of the Nativity Matins.

Also:  I love that second Psalm antiphon:  "The Lord is as a bridegroom * coming out of his chamber."   That's a reference to Psalm 19:5, where it refers to the Sun!  The use made here of it is terrific, though - the "chamber" being the womb of Mary.

Here's Thomas Tallis' setting of the Responsory; the chant alternates with his composition:




This manuscript page that contains Hodie nobis caelorum Rex - right at the top - comes from a Twelfth-century antiphoner from Klosterneuburg, Austria.  This is staffless chant notation, above the text:



And here's another colorful page from this Thirteenth-century Austrian Cistercian antiphoner that contains this Responsory:




Lastly, here's a closeup from a later ms (1555-ish), taken from a Cistercian antiphoner from the Abbey of Salzinnes, Namur, in the Diocese of Liège [Belgium].  That beautiful piece of art is the "h" of "hodie"! 





Here's Giotto's fresco of the Nativity, around 1310, from the lower church of San Francesco, Assisi:



Blessed Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

An Advent I Responsory: Aspiciebam

This beautiful chant is the 2nd Responsory at Matins of Advent 1 Sunday:



This is the text, an apocalyptic passage from Daniel 7:13-14:
R. Aspiciébam in visu noctis, et ecce in núbibus cæli Fílius hóminis veniébat: et datum est ei regnum, et honor:
* Et omnis pópulus, tribus, et linguæ sérvient ei.
V. Potéstas ejus, potéstas ætérna, quæ non auferétur: et regnum ejus, quod non corrumpétur.
R. Et omnis pópulus, tribus, et linguæ sérvient ei.


R. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and there was given Him a Kingdom, and glory;
* And all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him.
V. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
R. And all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him.

Here's the chant score from the Sarum Breviary; it may not match up exactly with what's on the recording - I haven't compared them yet -  but it was the only score I could find of this chant.





The 1st Responsory on the same Sunday is Aspiciens a longe:  "I look from afar" - a rather famous Responsory, in fact, sung on the first Sunday in Advent even now in many Anglican parishes.  Then there is this one, Aspiciebam, the 2nd Responsory;  the 3rd Responsory is a version of the Annunciation from Luke's Gospel.

Matins is a long service, especially on Sunday; it starts with Invitatory prayers (here, the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary), the creed, the Venite, and a hymn; it continues with generally three  Nocturns.  Each Nocturn begins with the recitation of Psalms - for this particular service, the first Nocturn is Psalms 1-14, with Antiphons.  (On other days, there are far fewer Psalms in each Nocturn!  On non-Sundays and non-Feast Days in Advent, for instance, it's sometimes three Psalms per Nocturn.)  Following the Psalms, three Lessons are read, consisting either of Scripture or a Sermon or writing from a Church Father.  (I believe that without exception, the Lessons for the First Nocturn  are always from Scripture;  non-Scriptural writings are limited to Nocturns 2 and 3.  These non-scriptural Lessons are often commentaries on passages of Scripture.) 

Responsories are sung following each of the Lessons.  You can get an idea of what all this is like by going to Divinum Officium and clicking "Matutinum.")

The Lessons for the First Nocturn at Matins on the First Sunday in Advent all come from Isaiah 1.  Here's what the whole Lesson section of the First Nocturne looks like; this is taken from the Marquess of Bute Roman Breviary published 1908.

First Lesson.

THE vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of  Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the LORD hath spoken : I have nourished and brought up children : and they have rebelled against Me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib : but Israel doth not know Me, and My people doth not consider.

First Responsory.

I look from afar, and, behold, I see the Power of God coming,  and a cloud covering all the land.  Go ye out to meet Him, and say :  Tell us if Thou art He, That shalt reign over God s people Israel.

Verse.  Both low and high, rich and poor together.

Answer. Go ye out to meet Him, and say.

Verse.  Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel^ Thou That leadest Joseph like a flock.

Answer. Tell us if Thou art He.

Verse. Lift up your gates, O ye princes ; and be ye lift up, ye everlast ing doors, and the King of glory shall come in.

Answer. That shalt reign over God s people Israel.

Verse. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Answer. I look from afar, and, behold, I see the Power of God coming, and a cloud covering all the land. Go ye out to meet Him, and say : Tell us if Thou art He, That shalt reign over God's people Israel.

Second Lesson.

WOE to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that are corrupters : they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger : they are gone away back ward. Upon what part shall I smite you any more, ye that revolt more and more ? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint : from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores : they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Second Responsory.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and there was given Him a Kingdom, and glory : and all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him.

Verse. His dominion is an ever lasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Answer. And all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him.

Third Lesson.

YOUR country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire ; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a seed, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

Third Responsory.

The Angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a Virgin espoused to Joseph, to bring unto her the word of the Lord : and  when the Virgin saw the light she was afraid. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace from the Lord. Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest.

Verse. The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.

Answer. Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest.

Verse. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Answer. Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest.


Here are three pages from manuscripts that contain this responsory.  First, here's a really old one - from around 990 A.D. - from the Swiss St. Gall Antiphonary.  You can see it there where you see the first large red "R" at the left; the chant notation is written above in the old staffless style:



Next, there's this page from a kind of wild thirteenth-century Cistercian antiphoner from Vienna; Aspiciebam begins at the bottom of the page:



And this is an image from the much later Münster Antiphoner (1537):



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Anglican Chant XXXIV: Psalm 43, Give Sentence with me (Turle)

A nice Anglican Chant tune from Turle:




Here's the Psalm text from the Coverdale Psalter:
1  Give sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause against the ungodly people *
 O deliver me from the deceitful and wicked man.
2  For thou art the God of my strength, why hast thou put me from thee *
 and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?
3  O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me *
 and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling.
4  And that I may go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness *
 and upon the harp will I give thanks unto thee, O God, my God.
5  Why art thou so heavy, O my soul *
 and why art thou so disquieted within me?
6  O put thy trust in God *
 for I will yet give him thanks, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.


"Give sentence with me" is translated as "Vindicate me" in the ESL translation; the Latin incipit is "Judica me, Deus."  I am not certain about  the derivation of the "give sentence with me" idiom; it's cetainly unusual in our context.  Will try to find out more about it.

James Turle "was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey from 1831-1882."  The Abbey has a full biography of Turle, here.

While writing this post, I found an interesting Dutch Anglican Chant site as well!   There are pages for each composer, listing their compositions by key and other classifications.   Here is Turle's individual page.


Thursday, November 02, 2017

An All Saints' Day Matins Responsory: Audivi vocem de caelo ("I heard a voice coming from heaven")

While searching for something recently (I don't remember what!), I came across this beautiful Taverner composition. CPDL describes it as the "8th responsory at Matins on All Saints. Source of text is Jeremiah 40:10 and Matthew 25:6."

It's a beautiful piece of alternatim:  composed melody alternating with plainchant.




Here's the full text; the translation is via CPDL at the link above.
Audivi vocem de caelo venientem: venite omnes virgines sapientissime;
oleum recondite in vasis vestris dum sponsus advenerit.
Media nocte clamor factus est: ecce sponsus venit.
I heard a voice coming from heaven: come all wisest virgins;
fill your vessels with oil, for the bridegroom is coming.
In the middle of the night there was a cry: behold the bridegroom comes.


Whenever I come across a new work sourced from the Breviary, I check Divinum Officium to see where the original chant came from, and learn more about its context - and also sometimes to get a translation.

This time, the responsory wasn't there - at least, not in this form.  The "Trident 1570" version of the Breviary at Divinum Officium has this for the 8th Responsory:
R. Media nocte clamor factus est:
* Ecce sponsus venit, exíte obviam ei.
V. Prudéntes vírgines, aptate vestras lámpades.
R. Ecce sponsus venit, exíte obviam ei.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Ecce sponsus venit, exíte óbviam ei. 
Translated there as:
R. At midnight there was a cry made:
* Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.
V. Trim your lamps, O ye wise virgins.
R. Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.

None of the other versions of the Breviary (Pre-Trident Monastic, Trident 1910, etc.) had the Audivi vocem incipit, either.  

But, several other composers - Tallis, Duarte Lobo, Shepherd - had also set the Audivi vocem version of the responsory, so I knew it existed somewhere at that time.   Checking the Sarum Breviary at McMaster.ca (PDF) solved the problem; there it was, as the 8th Responsory at Matins of All Saints.

Here's the score from that PDF; you can follow along with the chant sections of the Taverner piece and see how it sounded.



Here is Thomas Tallis' setting, sung by the wonderful New York Polyphony:




Not quite sure about Jeremiah as a source, though!  That's this:
As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken.
Seems a bit tenuous, to me.  But, I will look further at this; I'm interested in its Advent-ish them anyway, and why that shows up here.  Also quite interesting is that so many composers set this rather obscure - although very beautiful - responsory; would like to find out more about that, too.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The All Saints' Alleluia: Venite ad me, omnes ("Come to me, all ye who labor")

Here is this Alleluia, sung by the Koninklijk Sint Ceciliakoor Turnhout - The Royal St. Cecilia Choir of Turnhout. Turnhout is a city in the Flemish province of Antwerp, in Belgium.



The text is the famous one from Matthew 11:28:  
Venite ad me, omnes, qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego reficiam vos.

Come to me, all ye who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

The use of this text on All Saints Day lends it powerful and beautiful resonances; both "ye who labor and are heavy-laden" and "rest" take on new significance from the meaning of the day.

Here is the score; as you can see, this is a very melismatic chant:





Dom Dominic Johner's discussion of this chant is quite beautiful, and I'll simply quote it in full.  The reference "C.O.," which Johner cites twice, refers, according to his introduction, to "Caecilienvereinsorgan, from 1856 (Regensburg, Pustet); from 1924 (M.-Gladbach, Volksvereinsverlag)."
This Alleluia again is a prelude to the subsequent Gospel and its beatitudes. Its splendor, its solemnity, and its triumphant joy is spread over the melody like the light of a glorious dawn. It is one of the most valued chants in the Graduale, one which grips the singer spontaneously.

Indeed, there is mention of those who are afflicted and heavily burdened. But the Saviour invites them to Himself; and according to the interpretation of the composer of the plainsong melody, He has  placed in this invitation a fullness of consolation and refreshment, of liberty and bliss. Although we must admit that the melisma over laboratis is considerably drawn out, yet there is nothing oppressive about it, nothing that suggests pain or sore distress. It is a thorough Alleluia-song, giving one the impression that all difficulties have been overcome, just as the saints in heaven with joy and fervent thanksgiving to God now cast a glance backward at their earthly existence.

The jubilus has the form a + a1, b, c, c1. We find that the melody of Alleluia likewise begins the verse Venite. The b-member of the jubilus has exerted an influence on the melody over omnes. "If in the beginning with Venite ad me the melody was tender and mild, almost ingratiating, with omnes it rises wide and high, as if Christ were opening His arms to embrace the many thousands" (C. O., 50, 150).

The melisma over laboratis with its fifty-two notes clearly reveals the structure: a b b a; a is repeated immediately after the third pause, contracting the individual notes over qui laboratis into a torculus. Here the motives ascend forcefully upward. Contrasting with this, we find between these motives the descending motives c and c1 of the jubilus. "Scarcely has the word reficiam been uttered, than the entire choir joins in. The melody of alleluia rises to the lips. For they have experienced a hundred and a thousand times the meaning of this reficiam. They can only thank, praise, and rejoice, and in their hearts and on their lips the grateful response to the promise of Christ finds expression in the melody of the jubilus, until it once more brings this gripping, highly dramatic picture to a close" (C. O., 50, 150).

In the subsequent Gospel we are shown how God comforts His people. He will console and give them their fill, will show them mercy, and will lead them to the contemplation of Himself; they will be called and truly be children of God: He will give them His heaven. Would that we might think of this oftener in this our earthly exile!

Today the Saviour has again invited to Himself all who have come to the house of God. In the sacred Mysteries He will be our strength, and through them He will prepare us for that eternal Alleluia with which the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem forever resound.

The collect for today is a beautiful one, too:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.


Here are mp3 files and scores for all the propers on the day, from ChristusRex.org:

Die 1 novembris
Omnium Sanctorum
Introitus: Ps. 32 Gaudeamus... Sanctorum omnium (3m09.8s - 2969 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 33, 10. V. 11b Timete Dominum (2m33.1s - 2395 kb) score
Alleluia: Mt. 11, 28 Venite ad me (3m34.5s - 3355 kb) score
Offertorium: Sap. 3, 1.2.3 Iustorum animæ (2m25.8s - 2281 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 5, 8.9.10 Beati mundo corde (1m29.8s - 1408 kb) score

And here are posts about these on Chantblog:

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beth Gazo: Bo'utho of Mor Yakub; Eight Modes





From the Youtube page:
In this video you can listen to 7 out of the Eight Modes of chanting the Boutho of Mor Yakub as per the Beth Gazo (Ekkara Canon). In addition to these eight modes there is also a mode for the Hasho.. the tune being that of "Mashiha Skeeppa Mruthi Kashtathakal".

The hymn used in this video is the Malayalam translation of the Boutho of Mar Yakub from the Safro (Prabhatha Prarthana) of Wednesday from the sh'himo. In Malankara the sh'himo of Wednesday is known as Sleeba Namaskaram. Only alternate stanzas of this hymn is available in Malayalam translations. The translation found in this video was done in 1942 , by Mathews Mar Athanasios (later Catholicse Baselious MarThoma Mathew Ist). This is the translation that you will find in MOC publications and used in MOC churches.

The very first translation of the Sleeba Namaskaram as hymns happened in 1927 and was done by the late Arch Chor-Episcopa Kurian Kaniamparambil when he was just 15 years old. This is the Malayalam version that you find in the Qurbana Kramam published by MOST Seminary Publications Udayagiri and used in the Jacobite Churches.

The sh'himo is the Book of Common Prayer (not the Anglican one) of Syriac Christianity, and contains the Daily Office.   The hymn sung here is from Wednesday Prabhata Prarthana, Morning Prayer.

A Bo'utho is a Litany or Petition; so the Bo'utho of Mar Yakub is the "Litany (or Petition) of St. James"; I am not 100% sure which James this is, although Western Syriac Christianity uses The Liturgy of St. James  (James the Just, the Brother of Jesus) for its Eucharistic liturgy, so it could be that James.  But, there is the Syriac St. James the Persian - a 5th-century saint also known as St. James Intercisus - and it could well be named for him; I need to do more research on this.  But this is the Malankara Church, evidently, and the language is Malayalam (spoken in India), so this is almost certainly an Eastern Syriac Christian hymn.

Here is the Bo'utho of Mar Yakub from the Safro (Prabhatha Prarthana) of Wednesday from the sh'himo, according to this Sh'himo app (Mac version here):
Make us share, Lord, in the memory of your mother and your saints; by their prayers have pity on us, Lord and on or departed.

Blessed are you, Mary, for you were represented in a mystery by that ark which Moses made as a symbol; in it were the tables of the Law written by God, but in you, Mary, was the bread of life in truth.

Blessed are the dead who have slept and rested in peace; the flesh of the Son is buried with them as a pledge; he will cast down the walls of Sheol for them with violence and they will hear his voice and will go forth to meet him with speed.

Son, who were born of the daughter of David in the flesh, pour fourth your mercy on your flock in abundance.


This is evidently one English translation of the Bo'utho of Mar Yakub for Easter, taken from a draft Service of Vespers of Qyomto (PDF); it's on the website of the Diocese of South-West America of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.  Qyomto is Easter, and as you can see, there are various versions of these petitions:
1. Son, who raised and delivered your church from error
Grant her your peace by your blessed resurrection
2. The legions of light rose in honor of the King;
Gabriel’s company exulted before Him

3. The assembly on high came to see the Watcher
Who slept, awoke, and rose up at his own pleasure

4. Glory to the hidden one who revealed himself
who suffered and died in the flesh and rose from death

5. The living and the departed shall confess you,
And your Father above and your Holy Spirit

6. May the peace which granted peace in heav’n and on earth
Preserve your church, O Lord, by your resurrection

As another example of a bo'utho, here is the Bo'utho of Mar Balai (a 5th-century saint), sung at the 6th hour:
Moriyo rahem melain oo aa darein...
Absolve us O Lord and our departed
By the pray'rs of Saint Mary,- and the saints

Mary's memory is a great blessing
Her prayer is a fortress- for our souls.

Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, and the saints
Please pray for us, now and for- evermore

Lord pour upon the faithful departed
Fragrance of both peace and joy- eternal

Thanks to you O Lord who extols Mary
Exalt the saints, and bless the- departed

Absolve us O Lord and our departed
By the pray'rs of Saint Mary,- and the saints



Here's more, from this Syriac Orthodox site:
Beth Gazo d-ne`motho, "The Treasury of Chants," is the key reference to Syriac Orthodox church music. Without mastering it, the cleric (priest, deacon or singer) cannot perform his/her liturgical duties.

Consisting of a huge volume, the original Beth Gazo contained thousands of tunes, out of which about 700 or so survive. Today, the Syriac Orthodox Church employs an abridged version of the original Beth Gazo, containing the hundreds of tunes which survive. Alas, even some of the melodies in the abridged version are lost and hence are not part of this electronic version of the Beth Gazo.

Music of the Syriac Orthodox church employs a modal system consisting of eight ecclesiastical modes, analogous to the eight-mode Gregorian chant system. Each qolo (plural qole), or hymn, comes in eight different modes. To add to the richness of this system, some modes have variants of their own called in Syriac shuhlophe - only the skilled can master such variants.

The abridged version of the Beth Gazo consists of the following types of hymns:
  • Qole Shahroye "Vigils". These where either originally sung during vigil hours, or sung by a group of people belonging to the order of vigilants (the same term is used in Latin, vigiles). The first two modes are dedicated to the Virgin, the 3rd and 4th to the saints, the 5th and 6th to penitence, and the 7th and 8th to the departed.
  • Goshmo (plural goshme) "Body". Also has eight modes each. The goshme are used in the daily offices known in Syriac as shhimo.
  • Sebeltho (plural seblotho) "ladder". Two of these follow the eight-mode system. The rest have one melody each.
  • Phardo (plural Pharde) "piece". These are short hymns divided into eight collections corresponding to the eight modes. Within each collection, each hymn has its own invariant melody.
  • Qonuno Yawnoyo (plural Qonune Yawnoye) "Greek Canon". These are divided into eight collections corresponding to the eight modes.
  • Mawerbo (plural Mawerbe) "Magnificat". These are divided into eight collections corresponding to the eight modes.
  • Qole Ghnize "Mystic Hymns". They exist in the printed edition in eight modes, the melodies of some are apparently lost.
  • Takheshphotho Rabuloyotho "Litanies of Rabula". These are divided into eight collections corresponding to the eight modes.
  • Tborto (plural Tborotho) "Broken Hymns". There are three kinds of Tborotho: of St. Jacob, of St. Ephrem and of St. Balay. Each of them follows the eight-modal system.
  • Quqlyon (plural Quqalya) "Cycles". These are cycles from the Psalms and follow the eight-modal system.
  • Qadishat Aloho. "The Trisagion". There are eight melodies for the evening service and eight for the morning service for Sundays and feast days.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Office Antiphons for the Feast of St. Mary, August 15

This year, while investigating First Vespers of The Feast of St. Mary (August 15), I made an interesting discovery:  the Office Propers for this Feast are quite different between the Roman Breviary (published in 1908 and dating from the Council of Trent, 1545-1563), and the Breviary of the Society of St. Margaret (published in 1874).  The Society of St. Margaret is an Anglican order, founded in 1855 by J.M. Neale.

You'll notice, first of all, that the Feast is called "Assumption" in the Roman Breviary, but was called  "The Repose Of The  Blessed Virgin Mary" in the SSM Breviary.  (This feast is now called, simply, "The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary" in the Episcopal Church (USA) and in other Anglican national churches.)

As far as I can tell, J.M. Neale was doing four things when revising these antiphons from the Sarum Breviary (which follows the Roman exactly in the Lauds Psalm antiphons, for instance, and which is the basic source for the SSM Breviary) for the new breviary for this Anglican order. 
  • First, he wanted Scriptural citations to replace the non-Scriptural sources for the Roman Breviary/Sarum antiphons, in keeping with the  Book of Common Prayer's basic ethos.  Many of these new antiphons were taken from Song of Songs, which the Roman Breviary also uses, but less frequently.  
  • Second, as is pointed out in the intro to the SSM breviary, "the Gallican breviaries present us with rich and varied treasures of Scriptural applications, and mystical interpretations."   (The SSM Breviary's full title, BTW, is:  "Breviary offices from lauds to compline inclusive, tr. from the Sarum book, and supplemented from Gallican and monastic uses."  A mouthful!)    Neale and the Sisters of the SSM particularly found the Offices of the Blessed Virgin Mary wanting in both the Sarum and Roman breviaries; the intro points out that in those prayer-books "almost the whole mass of Old Testament type and prophecy is neglected or ignored."  It could very well be that some of the sources discussed in that intro - "the Breviaries of Paris, Rouen, Coutances, Beauvais, Noyon [and] the Benedictine, (whose authority in England ranks next to that of Sarum)" - are responsible for the inclusion of these antiphons.  I am hoping that some of these sources are now or will eventually be brought online and I can investigate further.
  • Third,  the emphasis is clearly on "Repose" rather than "Assumption."   The single Psalm antiphon at First Vespers, for instance, sets the tone in a beautiful way:  "I sleep. Alleluia : but my heart waketh. Alleluia."   That's Song of Songs 5:2, exactly.   
  • And that brings me to Neale's fourth motivation:  beauty.   The intro, written as far as I can tell by a member of the SSM (and well worth reading for the information, as well as for its pointed  criticisms!), points out that "....the [Sarum] Offices are disfigured by jingling and alliterative Antiphons, which indeed bear their testimony to the English love of the grotesque, but possess neither dignity nor beauty."   Neale was a wonderful lyricist, and I'm sure his love of beauty influenced his choices for this feast;  I think he was highly successful in creating a beautiful Office here.

As to that 3rd point above:  "Repose of the Blessed Virgin Mary" is, to my ears, a strong lean in the direction of "Dormition of the Theotokos," the name of the feast in the Orthodox churches.   J.M. Neale had a strong affinity for the Orthodox churches, was a prime mover at that time in ecumenical circles between Anglicanism and Orthodoxy, and himself published a book about Orthodox hymnody.  I'm wondering if this was the reason for his naming the Feast this way here - although again, it could also have been done that way in one of the other breviaries.  More on this later, I hope - and more on Neale's book, after I've read it.

(I've been attempting to gather the parallel Office propers for Dormition of the Theotokos, without much success so far; there is a Horologion (Orthodox Book of Hours) online, but it seems to be keyed to the date it's accessed.  I haven't yet found a way to get the propers for a specific feast.  Still working on this, too; would like to make comparisons here, too, and with some of the other breviaries mentioned above)

Meantime, below are some of the differences between the two breviaries linked above, enumerated.  I've also added the propers from the Sarum Breviary, in Latin.  

Amazingly, this entire post - which has taken me several hours already to prepare and to write, came about because I happened across the single Psalm antiphon at First Vespers of this Feast -  "I sleep. Alleluia : but my heart waketh. Alleluia." - and found it lovely!   Beauty really does make a difference.


Just for the sake of adding some music to this page: here's Cristobal de Morales' setting of the Responsory at Second Vespers, Candida virginitas, sung by the ensemble Tenet:





Here's the English translation from the YouTube page; the Latin is below in the Sarum section of office propers:
O radiant maidenhood, bright pillar of paradise, a garden enclosed, a springtime flowering plot of earth: for whose sake the whole world celebrates with song. Who was worthy to bear her Lord, may this same flowering virgin give us her son again: for whose sake the whole world celebrates with song.



Roman Breviary

First Vespers of Assumption

Chapter.
Sir 24:11-12:  In all these I sought rest, and I will abide in the inheritance of the Lord. So the Creator of all things gave me a commandment and said, (and He That made me rested in my tabernacle).

Hymn.
Ave maris stella

Antiphon on Magnificat.  Maiden most wise, whither goest thou up, like the dawn gloriously rising ?  O daughter of Zion, thou art all beautiful and pleasant, fair as the moon, clear as the sun.  [Song of Solomon 6:10]

Compline

Antiphon on Nunc Dimittis.   Protect us, * Lord, while we are awake and safeguard us while we sleep; that we may keep watch with Christ, and rest in peace.

Lauds of Assumption

First Psalm Antiphon. Mary hath been taken to heaven ;  the Angels rejoice ; they praise and bless the Lord.
Second Psalm Antiphon. The Virgin Mary hath been taken into the chamber on high,  where the King of kings sitteth on a throne amid the stars.
Third
Psalm Antiphon. We run after thee, on the scent of thy perfumes —  the virgins love thee heartily. [Song of Solomon 1:3-4]
Fourth Psalm Antiphon. Blessed of the Lord art thou, O daughter, for by thee we have been given to eat of the fruit [of the tree] of Life.
Fifth Psalm Antiphon. Fair and comely art thou, O daughter of Jerusalem,  terrible as a fenced camp set in battle array. [Song of Solomon 6:4]

Chapter.
Sir 24:11-12:  In all these I sought rest, and I will abide in the inheritance of the Lord. So the Creator of all things gave me a commandment and said, (and He That made me rested in my tabernacle).

Hymn.
O gloriósa vírginum,

Antiphon on Benedictus. Who is she * that cometh up like the rising dawn, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as a fenced camp set in battle array?  [Song of Solomon 6:10, Song of Solomon 6:4]

Second Vespers.


Chapter.
Sir 24:11-12:  In all these I sought rest, and I will abide in the inheritance of the Lord. So the Creator of all things gave me a commandment and said, (and He That made me rested in my tabernacle)

Hymn.
Ave maris stella,

Antiphon on Magnificat.  Today the Blessed Virgin Mary * ascended to heaven, rejoice, she reigns with Christ forever.



Breviary of St. Margaret

First Vespers of The Repose Of The  Blessed Virgin Mary.

Antiphon to Psalms. I sleep. Alleluia : but my heart waketh. Alleluia. [Song of Songs 5:2]

Chapter. S. Luke i.
BLESSED art thou among women; for thou hast found favour with God.

Hymn.
Quem terra, pontus, sidera,

Antiphon on Magnificat.  At our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old which I have laid up for Thee, my Beloved.  [Song of Solomon 7:13]

Collect.
WE beseech Thee, Almighty God, grant that we, who commemorate the holy Repose of Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may attain to participation in her eternal joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Compline.

Antiphon on Nunc Dimittis.    I sat down under His shadow with great delight: and His fruit was sweet to my taste. [Song of Solomon 2:3]

Lauds.

First Psalm Antiphon. O that I had wings like a dove : for then would I flee away, and be at rest. [Psalm 55:6]
Second Psalm Antiphon.  My beloved spake unto me, Rise up, My love, My fair one : and come away.  [Song of Solomon 2:10]
Third Psalm Antiphon.  My soul thirsteth for Thee: my flesh also longeth after Thee. [Psalm 63:1]
Fourth Psalm Antiphon.  I am come into My garden, My sister, My spouse : I have gathered My myrrh with My spice. [Song of Solomon 5:1]
Fifth Psalm Antiphon.  The king's daughter is all glorious within : her clothing is of wrought gold. [Psalm 45:13]


Chapter. Is.lxii.
THOU shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. For the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy God rejoiceth over thee.

Hymn.
O gloriosa Virginum,

Antiphon on Benedictus.  They blessed her, and said unto her, Thou art the exaltation of Jerusalem : thou art the great glory of Israel, thou art the great rejoicing of our nation.  [Judith 15:9]

Second Vespers.

Antiphon on Magnificat. He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden : for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath magnified me.] [Luke 1:48]



Sarum Breviary

First Vespers of Assumption

First Psalm Antiphon. Tota pulchra es * amíca mea, et mácula non est in te : favus distíllans lábia tua, mel et lac sub lingua tua, odor unguentórum tuórum super ómnia arómata : jam enim hyems tránsiit, ymber ábiit et recéssit, flores apparuérunt, vínee floréntes odórem dedérunt, et vox turtúris audíta est in terra nostra, surge própera  amíca mea, veni de Líbano, veni coronáberis.  
Second Psalm Antiphon. Anima mea * liquefácta est ut diléctus locútus est, quesívi et non invéni illum, vocávi et non respóndet michi : invenérunt me custódes civitátis percussérunt me et vulneravérunt me, tulérunt pállium meum custódes murórum : fílie Hierúsalem nunciáte dilécto quia amóre lángueo. 
Third Psalm Antiphon. Qualis est diléctus * tuus ex diléctis o pulchérrima muliérum : amícus meus cándidus et rubicúndus eQ léctus ex mílibus leva ejus sub cápite meo : et déxtera illíus amplexábitur me.  
Fourth Psalm Antiphon. Talis est * diléctus meus, et ipse est amícus meus, fílie Hierúsalem. 
Fifth Psalm Antiphon. Descéndi * in ortum meum ut vidérem po-ma convállium et inspícerem si floruíssent vínee : et germinássent mala púnica. Revértere, revértere Suná- quóniam bonus. mitis : revértere, revértere ut intueámur te. 

Antiphon on Magnificat.  Ascéndit Christus * super celos : et preparávit sue castíssime matri immortalitátis locum : et hec est illa preclára festívitas ómnium sanctórum festivitátibus incomparábilis in qua gloriósa et felix mirántibus celéstis cúrie ordínibus ad ethérium pervénit thálamum, quo pia sui mémorum ímmemor nequáquam exístat.


Compline 

First Antiphon.  Sancta * María virgo intercéde pro toto mundo, quia genuísti Regem orbis.

Antiphon on Nunc Dimittis.    Glorificámus * te Dei génitrix : quia ex te natus est Christus : salva omnes qui te gloríficant.


Lauds 

First Psalm Antiphon. Assúmpta est * María in celum, gaudent ángeli laudántes benedícunt Dómi-num.  
Second Psalm Antiphon. María virgo assúmpta est * ad ethéreum thálamum : in quo Rex regum stelláto sedet sólio. 
Third Psalm Antiphon.   In odórem * unguentórum tuórum cúrrimus adolescéntule dilexérunt te nimis.  

Fourth Psalm Antiphon.  Benedícta * a fílio tuo dómi-na : quia per te frúctui vite communicávimus. Fifth Psalm Antiphon.  Pulchra es et decóra * fília Hierúsalem : terríbilis ut castrórum ácies ordináta.

Benedictus antiphon:  Que est ista * que ascéndit sicut auróra consúrgens, pulchra ut luna, elécta ut sol : terríbilis ut castrórum ácies ordináta.


Second Vespers.

Single Psalm Antiphon. Assúmpta est * María in celum, gaudent ángeli laudántes benedícunt Dómi-num.

Responsory.

Candida * virgínitas paradýsi cara colónis, ortus conclúsus florénti céspite vernans.
†Cui mérito mundus célebrat.
‡Precónia to-tus.
V. Que méruit Dóminum progeneráre suum.
†Cui.
V. Glória Patri et Fílio : et Spirítui Sancto.
‡Precónia.

Antiphon on Magnificat.  Hodie * María virgo celos ascéndit gaudéte : quia cum Christo regnat in etérnum.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

St. John the Baptist, June 24: De Ventre Matris Meae ("From my mother’s womb")

De Ventre Matris Meae is the Introit for the Feast of St. John Baptist, June 24. It's sung here by Schola Sanctae Sunnivae & Hartkeriana.



The text comes from Isaiah 49; here's the Latin, along with an English translation from Divinum Officium:
De ventre matris meæ vocávit me Dóminus in nómine meo: et pósuit os meum ut gládium acútum: sub teguménto manus suæ protéxit me, et pósuit me quasi sagíttam eléctam

From my mother’s womb the Lord called me by me name, and made of me a sharp-edged sword; He concealed me in the shadow of His arm, and made me a polished arrow.


Here's the chant score:


Here are the actual verses from Isaiah 49:
1 Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath been mindful of my name.

2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword: in the shadow of his hand he hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow: in his quiver he hath hidden me.

In the Cantus database this chant is only listed as a Matins Responsory; not sure why that would be.  Here's an image of that Responsory from the Antiphonarium Massiliense; the large red "D" is where the chant begins:



Interesting, though:  I don't find this listed as a Matins Responsory in Divinum Officium.   So, not quite sure what's going on there.


Here's the famous Deesis Mosaic from Hagia Sophia; that's John the Baptist on the right:



This is from Wikipedia's Deesis entry:

In Byzantine art, and later Eastern Orthodox art generally, the Deësis or Deisis (Greek: δέησις, "prayer" or "supplication"), is a traditional iconic representation of Christ in Majesty or Christ Pantocrator: enthroned, carrying a book, and flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and sometimes other saints and angels. Mary and John, and any other figures, are shown facing towards Christ with their hands raised in supplication on behalf of humanity.
In early examples, it was often placed on the templon beam in Orthodox churches or above doors, though it also appears on icons and devotional ivories.

Friday, June 02, 2017

The Pentecost Offertory: Confirma Hoc Deus ("Stablish the thing, O God")

This version is sung by Cantarte Regensburg:



The text is taken from Psalm 67:29b-30 (Vulgate):
Confirma hoc Deus, quod operatus es in nobis;
A templo tuo quod est in Jerusalem, tibi offerent Reges munera.
Alleluia. 

Stablish the thing, O God, that thou hast wrought in us,
For thy temple's sake at Jerusalem: so shall kings bring presents unto thee.
Alleluia.

Here's the chant score:



William Byrd, among others, set this text. Here's his setting, sung by the Gloriana Ensemble:




The same text (although without the final clause) is used for the Antiphon sung at Confirmation:
"When all are confirmed, the Bishop washes his hands while the following is sung:" - Liber Usualis, 1961; Administration of Confirmation.





Here's a page from the De la Salle Hymnal; this looks to me like a congregational setting of the same antiphon:





And don't forget to read Full Homely Divinity's Pentecost entry!


Here are links to all the propers on the day, from the Benedictines of Brazil:
Dominica Pentecostes ad Missam in die
Introitus:  Spiritus Domini (cum Gloria Patri)(5m07.0s - 4798 kb)  view score
Alleluia: Emitte Spiritum tuum (1m55.4s - 1806 kb)  view score
Alleluia: Veni, Sancte Spiritus (2m02.9s - 1922 kb)  view score
Sequentia: Veni, Sancte Spiritus (2m29.7s - 2341 kb)  view score
Offertorium: Confirma hoc, Deus (1m35.3s - 1491 kb)  view score
Communio: Factus est repente (1m16.3s - 1195 kb)  view score
Ad dimittendum populum: Ite missa est (28.7s - 451 kb)  view score

And here are Chantblog posts on the Pentecost propers:

Here's a piece of Pentecost art, from the well-known Book of Hours Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 79r - Pentecost the Musée Condé, Chantilly.  



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