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 generally 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.


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