Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Communio for Lent 2: Visionem quam vidistis ("The Vision you have seen")

This very short - and beautiful - chant is the Communion song for the second Sunday of Lent (and also for the Feast of the Transfiguration, one of the very few instances of this kind of double use):



The text comes from Matthew 17:9. a passage that immediately follows the story of the Transfiguration on the Mountain in that Gospel:
Visionem quam vidistis, nemini dixeritis,
donec a mortuis resurgat filius Hominis.


Tell the vision you have seen to no man,
till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

 Here's the chant score:



The Introit for today, Tibi dixit cor meum, is also used as the Introit for Transfiguration (although the other propers are different between the two days).  This is because the Second Sunday of Lent was,  I believe, at one time a commemoration of the Transfiguration, in the same way we now commemorate on the Last Sunday after Epiphany, the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday.

The Gospel reading for today in the Historic (Roman Catholic) Lectionary was taken from  Matthew 17:1-9, which contains the entire story of the Transfiguration; this certainly explains very well why the Transfiguration Introit is used on this date.   (But, oddly, the Tridentine Introit was not Tibi dixit, but Reminiscere Miserationum ("Remember Your Mercies")!  So this adjustment in the use of the Transfiguration propers here is actually quite odd; I'm guessing that we may actually be moving back in time, before the Tridentine Rite, in some way.  My hunch is that it all has something to do with the Liturgical Renewal movement during the 20th Century; I will need to do some more research on that.)

(Just for the sake of interest, in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and in the Historic Lutheran Lectionary, the Lent 2 Gospel reading was taken from Matt. 15:21–28, the story of the Canaanite woman whose daughter was "grievously vexed with a devil.")


In any case, the old, Tridentine, rite, the Communio for today was Intellige clamorem meum; here it's sung by the Schola of the Vienna Hofburgkapelle.




Rene Goupil notes that the text is taken from Psalm 5: 2-4, and offers this translation:
Understand my cry, heed my voice in prayer, my King and my God, for to thee, Lord, shall I pray.

So Visionem itself may be a new chant; again, I'll have to try to find out.

Whatever the case, Ambrosio Cotes (Villena/Valencia, 1550 - Sevilla, 1603) set the very same text, here sung, I believe, by Victoria Musicae (and directed by Josep R.Gil-Tàrrega?):




Here are all of today's chant propers, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:


Hebdomada secunda quadragesimæ
Dominica
Introitus: Ps. 26, 8.9 et 1 Tibi dixit cor meum (cum Gloria Patri) (2m59.6s - 2808 kb)
Graduale: Ps. 82, 19. V. 14 Sciant gentes (3m00.8s - 2828 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 59, 4.6 Commovisti (2m18.1s - 2160 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 118, 47.48 Meditabor (1m16.1s - 1192 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 17, 9 Visionem (2m36.4s - 2446 kb) score

Here are links to Chantblog articles about the propers for today:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ash Wednesday: Miserere mei Deus secundum (Josquin Desprez)

This recording of Josquin's setting of Psalm 51 is sung by the Dufay Ensemble:



(Notes at YouTube read:  "2a parte - Auditui meo dabis gaudium" by Kiem, Eckehard (Google PlayeMusiciTunesAmazonMP3))

The words come from Psalm 51, which figures prominently in the Ash Wednesday liturgy; it is recited immediately following the imposition of ashes.  Here's the Latin of the Psalm (via CPDL) , followed by the English translation from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:
Miserére mei, Deus: secúndum magnam misericórdiam tuam.
Et secúndum multitúdinem miseratiónum tuárum: dele iniquitátem meam.
Ámplius lava me ab iniquitáte mea: et a peccáto meo munda me.
Quóniam iniquitátem meam ego cognósco: et peccátum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccávi, et malum coram te feci: ut justificéris in sermónibus tuis, et vincas cum judicáris.
Ecce enim in iniquitátibus concéptus sum: et in peccátis concépit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritátem dilexísti: incérta et occúlta sapiéntiæ tuæ manifestásti mihi.
Aspérges me hyssópo, et mundábor: lavábis me, et super nivem dealbábor.
Audítui meo dabis gáudium et lætítiam: et exsultábunt ossa humiliáta.
Avérte fáciem tuam a peccátis meis: et omnes iniquitátes meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spíritum rectum ínnova in viscéribus meis.
Ne projícias me a fácie tua: et spíritum sanctum tuum ne áuferas a me.
Redde mihi lætítiam salutáris tui: et spíritu principáli confírma me.
Docébo iníquos vias tuas: et ímpii ad te converténtur.
Líbera me de sangúinibus, Deus, Deus salútis meæ: et exsultábit lingua mea justítiam tuam.
Dómine, lábia mea apéries: et os meum annuntiábit laudem tuam.
Quóniam si voluísses sacrifícium, dedíssem utique: holocáustis non delectáberis.
Sacrifícium Deo spíritus contribulátus: cor contrítum et humiliátum, Deus, non despícies.
Benígne fac, Dómine, in bona voluntáte tua Sion: ut ædificéntur muri Jerúsalem.
Tunc acceptábis sacrifícium justítiæ, oblatiónes et holocáusta: tunc impónent super altáre tuum vítulos.

Psalm 51    Miserere mei, Deus

  1     Have mercy on me, O God, according to your
                                      loving-kindness; *
           in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

  2     Wash me through and through from my wickedness *
           and cleanse me from my sin.

  3     For I know my transgressions, *
           and my sin is ever before me.

  4     Against you only have I sinned *
           and done what is evil in your sight.

  5     And so you are justified when you speak *
           and upright in your judgment

  6     Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *
           a sinner from my mother's womb.

  7     For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *
           and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

  8     Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
           wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

  9     Make me hear of joy and gladness, *
           that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10     Hide your face from my sins *
           and blot out all my iniquities.

11     Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
           and renew a right spirit within me.

12     Cast me not away from your presence *
           and take not your holy Spirit from me.

13     Give me the joy of your saving help again *
           and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

14     I shall teach your ways to the wicked, *
           and sinners shall return to you.

15     Deliver me from death, O God, *
           and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness,
           O God of my salvation.

16     Open my lips, O Lord, *
           and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

17     Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice; *
           but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.

18     The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; *
           a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.



This is the very interesting Wikipedia entry for this piece, in its entirety:
The Miserere, by Josquin des Prez, is a motet setting of Psalm 51 (Psalm 50 in the Septuagint numbering) for five voices. He composed it while in the employ of Duke Ercole I d'Este in Ferrara, most likely in 1503 or 1504.[1] It was one of the most famous settings of that psalm of the entire Renaissance, was hugely influential in subsequent settings of the Penitential Psalms, and was itself probably inspired by the recent suffering and execution of the reformer Girolamo Savonarola.[2]

During the 1490s, the Duke of Ferrara, Ercole I d'Este, kept in close contact with Savonarola, who was also from Ferrara, and supported him in his efforts to reform the Roman Catholic Church. About a dozen letters between the two survive: the Duke sought advice both on spiritual and political matters (for example, his alliance with France).[3] Even after Savonarola's arrest, Duke Ercole attempted to have him freed, but his last letter to the church authorities in Florence, in April 1498, went unanswered. After Savonarola's execution, Ercole, then in his eighties, probably commissioned his newly hired composer, Josquin, to write him a musical testament, very likely for performance during Holy Week of 1504.[4] Savonarola's impassioned meditation on sin and repentance, Infelix ego, composed in prison after his torture, and published in Ferrara in mid-1498 shortly after his death, was the probable model for Josquin's setting. It is an extended prayer to the God against whom he believes he has sinned, based closely on Psalm 51, and unified by a boldface-type repetition of the phrase "Miserere mei, Deus" throughout the text.

In keeping with Savonarola's dislike of polyphony and musical display, the Miserere is written in a spare, austere style, much different from the contrapuntal complexity, virtuosity, and ornamentation of works such as the five-part motet Virgo salutiferi, which was probably written around the same time.[5] The tenor part, which contains the repeating phrase "Miserere mei, Deus", was likely written to be sung by the Duke himself, who was a trained musician and often sang with the musicians in his chapel.[6]

The Miserere is one of Josquin's two "motto" motets, motets in which repetitions of a phrase are the predominant structural feature (the other is the five-voice Salve Regina of several years before). In the Miserere, the opening words of the first verse "Miserere mei, Deus", sung to a simple repeated-note motif containing only two pitches (E and F), serves as the motto. This recurs after each of the 19 verses of the psalm. The motto theme begins each time on a different pitch, with the recurrences moving stepwise down the scale from E below middle C to the E an octave below, then back up again to the opening E, and then down stepwise to A fifth below, where the piece ends. In addition, the length of the motto theme is halved once it begins its ascent out of the bass, and has its length returned to normal for the final descent from E to A.[7] These three journeys of the motto theme's opening note, down, up, and then down again, define the three divisions of the composition: a brief break is usually observed in performance between them.

While overall the composition is in the Phrygian mode, the harmonized repetitions enforce tonal variety.[8] Texturally, the piece is so constructed that the words are always clearly intelligible. Intelligibility of sung text was not always a high priority for composers of the period, and this lack of intelligibility was a specific criticism Savonarola made of polyphonic music. Josquin arranges for the words to be heard by using chordal textures, duets, and by avoiding dense polyphony; and of course after each verse the tenor voice intones alone "Miserere mei, Deus", as in the Savonarola meditation. As tenor sings these words, the other voices join in one at a time to reinforce the first, "an effect analogous to boldface type in a printed text."[9]

Josquin's setting of the Miserere was influential not only as a psalm setting, but as an example of how to approach the text of Infelix ego. Later in the 16th century, composers who specifically set the words of Savonarola, such as Adrian Willaert, Cipriano de Rore, and Nicola Vicentino, all of whom wrote motets on Infelix ego, used Josquin's work as a model.[10]


Psalm 57:1-4, another Psalm that contains the words "Miserere mei Deus," provides the text for the Gradual on Ash Wednesday; here's a video of that chant:



And here's the chant score:



Here's the complete text of Psalm 57:     
1     Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
for I have taken refuge in you; *
    in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge
    until this time of trouble has gone by.
     
2     I will call upon the Most High God, *
    the God who maintains my cause.
     
3     He will send from heaven and save me;
he will confound those who trample upon me; *
    God will send forth his love and his faithfulness.
 
4     I lie in the midst of lions that devour the people; *
    their teeth are spears and arrows,
    their tongue a sharp sword.
     
5     They have laid a net for my feet,
and I am bowed low; *
    they have dug a pit before me,
    but have fallen into it themselves.     
     
6     Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God, *
    and your glory over all the earth.
     
7     My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; *
    I will sing and make melody.
     
8     Wake up, my spirit;
awake, lute and harp; *
    I myself will waken the dawn.
     
9     I will confess you among the peoples, O LORD; *
    I will sing praise to you among the nations.
     
10     For your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens, *
    and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
     
11     Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God, *
    and your glory over all the earth.
       
 

Here are all the propers for Ash Wednesday, from the Sao Paulo Benedictines:
Tempus quadragesimæ
Feria quarta cinerum
Ad ritus initiales et liturgiam verbi
Introitus: Sap. 11, 24-25.27; Ps. 56 Misereris omnium (3m44.9s - 3516 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 56, 2. V. 4 Miserere mei, Deus (3m15.9s - 3064 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 102, 10 et 78, 8 et 9 Domine, non secundum peccata nostra (3m27.7s - 3248 kb) score

Ad benedictionem et impositionem cinerum
Antiphona: Cf. Ioel 2, 13 Immutemur habitu (1m21.5s - 1276 kb) score
Responsorium: Cf. Bar. 3,2. V. Ps. 78,9 Emendemus in melius (2m24.7s - 2264 kb) score

Ad liturgiam eucharisticam
Offertorium: Ps. 29, 2.3 Exaltabo te (1m37.7s - 1528 kb) score
Communio: Ps. 1, 2b.3b Qui meditabitur (45.3s - 710 kb) score


Here are posts on this site about the propers on the day:
The Ash Wednesday Introit: Misereris omnium
Ash Wednesday: Miserere Mei Deus (The Gradual)
Ash Wednesday:  Domine, non secundum (The Tract)
Ash Wednesday: Immutemur habitu and Emendemus in melius (antiphons sung during the imposition of ashes)
Exaltabo Te, Domine (The Offertory)
The Ash Wednesday Communion Song: Qui meditabitur

A holy Lent to all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23: O Virgo Virginum

Anglicans sing O Virgo Virginum as the Antiphon upon Magnificat at Vespers on December 23.  It's the eighth and last of the Great "O" Antiphons sung during the week before Christmas.



Here's the wonderful English translation of this beautiful text:
O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? That which ye behold is a divine mystery.

Here's a video of the Magnificat, too, so you can sing the whole thing:




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

As a bonus, here's Josquin DesPrez' setting of the antiphon; exquisite, as always.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22: O Emmanuel

Anglicans sing the seventh of eight Great "O" Antiphons, O Emmanuel,  tonight at Vespers as the Antiphon upon Magnificat.



O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, Desire of all nations and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.




Here's a video of the Magnificat, too, so you can sing the whole thing:




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21: O Rex Gentium

Anglicans sing O Rex Gentium ("O King of the Nations") tonight at Vespers as the Antiphon upon Magnificat. (Although given that today is also the Feast of St. Thomas, some may sing an antiphon dedicated to him instead.)





Here's an English translation of the text:
O King of Nations, and their Desire; the Cornerstone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay.
The brothers of the SSJE sing it here, to a slightly differently English translation:




Here's a video of the Magnificat, too, so you can sing the whole thing:




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 20: O Oriens

O Oriens is the Antiphon  sung by Anglicans before and after the Magnificat at Vespers on December 20 (December 21 in the Roman Catholic Church).  It's the fifth of the eight Great "O" Antiphons sung during the week before Christmas.





Here's an English translation of the text:
O Day-Spring, Brightness of the Light everlasting, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
The brothers of the SSJE sing it here, to a slightly differently English translation:




Here's a video of the Magnificat, too, so you can sing the whole thing:




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19: O Clavis David

Anglicans sing O Clavis David as the Antiphon upon Magnificat at Vespers on December 19; It's the fourth of the eight Great "O" Antiphons sung during the week before Christmas.



Here's an English translation:
O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel; that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth: come, and bring forth from the prisionhouse the captive, who sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.




Here's a video of the Magnificat, too, so you can sing the whole thing:




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18: O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse is the Antiphon upon Magnificat sung by Anglicans before and after the Magnificat at Vespers on December 18 (December 19 in the Roman Catholic Church).  It's the third of the eight Great "O" Antiphons sung during the week before Christmas.



Here's an English translation of the text:
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall stop their mouths, whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.
The brothers of the SSJE sing it here, to a slightly differently English translation:




The text for this Antiphon comes primarily from Isaiah: the "root of Jesse" reference is found in Isaiah 11;  much of the rest comes from the "Suffering Servant" passages in Isaiah 52-53.  It's a beautiful passage:
Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall he startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.

Here's a video of the Magnificat, too, so you can sing the whole thing:




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

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