Saturday, November 10, 2007

An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part IV

[EDIT:   This article is from 2007, and was part of my first foray into posting about music for the Offices.  But I've posted quite a bit about Office hymns and other music since then.  You can find posts about the Offices themselves at the Divine Office page, or on the Resources page (where there are many links to other chant hymnody resources).]

But now here's the real deal: the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood's page of Weekday Propers Sung, which provides mp3s of the Responsory, Hymn, Versicle, and Canticle for Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, and Vespers for each day of the week.

I have to say: this is a really excellent thing! The names of the hymns are not given on the LLPB page, but they match up pretty well, from what I can tell so far, with the schedule at Thesaurus Precum Latinarum - and the cantor is often using the English translation found on the individual hymn pages there. Many of the tunes are indeed correct, although there seems to be some repetition; the tune for the Lauds hymn on weekdays is the same from Monday through Thursday - and it's the one I'm familiar with for Saturday. (Coincidentally, it's the one I usually sing during the week myself, because I know it better than most others.).

But the Vespers hymn tunes do seem to be different for every day, and they do indeed match up with the Roman schedule. For one example, here's the music for the Vespers hymn for Sunday, Lucis Creator optime (O blest Creator of the light). Here are the words at TPL; the cantor is using word-for-word the English translation by J. M. Neale. Here's the blurb on that page about this hymn:
Attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604), this hymn is used in the Roman Breviary at Vespers for Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Pentecost. In the Liturgia Horarum it is used for Sunday evening Vespers for Ordinary time for the first and third weeks of the Psalter.

Monday's Vespers hymn is Immense caeli Conditor (O great Creator of the Sky); here are the words, not exact this time. Here's the description:
Attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). The theme of this traditional hymn for the second day of the week is fittingly the second day of creation on which the firmament was created (Gen 1, 6-8). The hymn is traditionally sung at Monday Vespers and is used in the Liturgia Horarum at Vespers for Mondays of the first and third weeks of the Psalter during Ordinary Time. Likewise the hymn is also found in the Roman Breviary for Monday Vespers.

And Wow! I just realized - even before having pasted in the quote above - that the Vespers hymns recapitulate the seven days of Creation! Here are their titles, from Sunday to Saturday:
Lucis Creator optime ( O blest Creator of the light)
Immense caeli Conditor (O great Creator of the Sky)
Telluris ingens Conditor (Earth's Mighty Maker)
Caeli Deus sanctissime (O God, Whose Hand Hath Spread the Sky)
Magnae Deus potentiae (O Sovereign Lord of Nature's Might)
Plasmator hominis, Deus (Maker of Man)
Deus creator omnium (God That All Things Didst Create)

I'm really quite astounded that I've never noticed this before, in fact. But of course, I don't go to Vespers that often, being a working stiff and all, and I've never heard some of these hymns.

Anyway, I think the TPL and the LLPB (not to mention Polish Wikipedia and the St. David's Episcopal Church, Austin, Compline Choir) have really covered the bases for a beginning on this topic. (FYI: the LLPB notes that: "These free high-quality MP3 recordings may take a few minutes to download, or you may contact us for the purchase of a CD." Contact info is available at the page linked above; no, I'm not affiliated with them.)

Next job will be to put these tunes I already have in order and in a simple listing, with links to a page containing both music and lyrics. And to see what variations there might be out there, too, and add those. But of course, this is not the end, in any way, shape, or form; some of the most wonderful tunes are the ones for feasts and the High Holy Days, and sound files for those will be thin on the ground. Maybe I'll make them myself!

Move on to An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part V (with mp3s). Or go back to An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part III (no mp3s).

Friday, November 09, 2007

An Office Hymn (no tunes) Compendium, Part III (with thanks to Wiki-pedia - Największa internetowa encyklopedia.)

[EDIT:   This article is from 2007, and was part of my first foray into posting about music for the Offices.  But I've posted quite a bit about Office hymns and other music since then.  You can find posts about the Offices themselves at the Divine Office page, or on the Resources page (where there are many links to other chant hymnody resources).]

You knew it had to happen, didn't you? From Polish Wikipedia comes the Brevier-Himnoj, at El Vikipedio.

Which is, of course, the listing of all the hymns of the church year for Lauds, Noonday Prayer, and Vespers - in Esperanto.

Hymns are separated into categories, by liturgical season. There are hymns listed for: Ordinara tempo; Festoj en la ordinara tempo; Advento; Kristnaska tempo; Karesmo; and Paska tempo.

There are also the usual feasts and various occasions: Komunaj tekstoj; Propraj tekstoj laŭ la kalendaro; etc.

For instance, for the coming season of Advento, the following hymns are prescribed:

ĝis la 16-a de decembro

  • Vespera laŭdo: Conditor alme siderum [81]

  • Horo de la legaĵoj: Verbum supernum prodiens [82]

  • Matena laŭdo: Vox clara ecce intonat [83]

  • Meza horo

    • antaŭtagmeze: Nunc, Sancte, nobis, Spiritus [84]

    • tagmeze: Rector potens, verax Deus [85]

    • posttagmeze: Rerum, Deus, tenax vigor [86]

post la 16-a de decembro

  • Vespera laŭdo: Verbum salutis omnium [87]

  • Horo de la legaĵoj: Veni, redemptor gentium [88]

  • Matena laŭdo: Magnis prophetæ vocibus [89]

  • Meza horo

    • antaŭtagmeze: Certum tenentes ordinem [90]

    • tagmeze: Dicamus laudes Domino [91]

    • posttagmeze: Ternis horarum terminis [92]

Clicking the note numbers will take you to a page that gives the words to the hymns in both Latin and Esperanto. No music, unfortunately, but the complete listing is there, categorized and noted. Of course.

Click here for An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part IV (with mp3s).

Click here to go back to An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part II (with mp3s).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part II

[EDIT:   This article is from 2007, and was part of my first foray into posting about music for the Offices.    But I've posted quite a bit about Office hymns and other music since then.  You can find posts about the Offices themselves at the Divine Office page, or on the Resources page (where there are many links to other chant hymnody resources).]

A post continuing my harmonizing of two sources to match Office hymn tunes to their words.
  1. Next comes an Easter Vespers hymn, Ad coenam Agni; here is the rather odd music. This is another hymn I'm totally unfamiliar with; here's the listing at Thesaurus Precum Latinarum, and here's the blurb:
    One of the earliest of the Ambrosian hymns, 6th century or earlier, this hymn is used for Vespers from Easter Sunday until Ascension. In the Breviary revision of 1632 by Pope Urban VIII the hymn was so greatly altered that only three lines of the original remained and thus is really a different hymn entirely. The revised hymn can be found under the title of Ad regias Agni dapes.

    I found a blog entry while Googling that gives those words, and notes that they were translated from a "6th century hymn, translated by John Mason Neale." Neale seems to have translated many of the office hymns into English; that's interesting. This one's also in our hymnal: it's #202, and the music apparently comes from the 12th Century. It's very strangely martial.

  2. We sang this one around Easter: "O sons and daughters" (Filii et Filiae) (mp3 here). Here's the TPL page, which says:
    This hymn was written by Jean Tisserand, O.F.M. (d. 1494) and originally had only nine stanzas. Stanzas "Discipulis adstantibus", "Ut intellexit Didymus", "Beati qui non viderunt" are early additions to the hymn. There are several different versions of the hymn. The one below is one of the more common versions.

    So, fairly recent.

  3. Here's the music for an "Epiphany Te Lucis." Words a bit different than this, but the same idea.

  4. Here is the mp3 for O lux beata Trinitas; here's the TPL page, where it says:
    This hymn is ascribed to St. Ambrose (340-397) and is used for Sunday Vespers for the second and fourth weeks of the Psalter in the Liturgy of the Hours. The hymn appears in the Roman Breviary under the title of Iam sol recedit igneus, where it is the Vespers hymn for the ferial office on Saturdays and Trinity Sunday.

    This one is #30 in the 1982 hymnal, listed as an Evening hymn.

  5. Here's a different set of words to one of my favorite hymns of all: Vexilla regis prodeunt (The Royal Banners Forward Go), a Vespers hymn for Passiontide. It's the last hymn we sing at St. Mary's on Palm Sunday. Here's the TPL page, and the writeup:
    Vexilla Regis was written by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) and is considered one of the greatest hymns of the liturgy. Fortunatus wrote it in honor of the arrival of a large relic of the True Cross which had been sent to Queen Radegunda by the Emperor Justin II and his Empress Sophia. Queen Radegunda had retired to a convent she had built near Poitiers and was seeking out relics for the church there. To help celebrate the arrival of the relic, the Queen asked Fortunatus to write a hymn for the procession of the relic to the church.

    The hymn has, thus, a strong connection with the Cross and is fittingly sung at Vespers from Passion Sunday to Holy Thursday and on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The hymn was also formerly sung on Good Friday when the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the repository to the altar. The text given below is the full text of Fortunatus' hymn, but verses 2, 4, and 7 are omitted when the hymn is used liturgically. The last two verses which form the concluding doxology are not by Fortunatus, but is rather the work of some later poet.

    This version, called "Fulfilled is all that David told," is called in Latin Impleta sunt. Here are the words, from the blog "Meam Commemorationem," (where there is a wonderful chant that plays when the page loads):
    Fulfilled is all that David told
    In true prophetic song of old:
    Amidst the nations, God, saith he,
    Hath reigned and trimphed from the Tree.

    O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
    O Tree with royal purple dight!
    Elect on whose trumphas breast
    Those holy limbs should find their rest:

    On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
    The wight of this world's ransom hung,
    The price of humankind to pay,
    And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

    O Cross, our one reliance, hail!
    In this our Easter joy, avail
    To give fresh meric to the saint,
    And pardon to the penitent.

    To thee eternal Three in One,
    Let homage meet by all be done:
    Whom by the Cross thou dost restore,
    Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

    Both sets of words have similar themes, though.

  6. Here is the music for Christe, Lux Mundi. This one is also in our hymnal; it's an Evening hymn, #33. It says the words are 10th C. Mozarabic and the music is from the "Friebourg MS," 14th C.

    While Googling for this one, I found another crazy thing at JSTOR: "'Christe Qui Lux es et Dies': And Its German, Dutch, and English Translations," an 1898 article in the American Journal of Philology. I also learned that Taizé has put out a CD called Christe, Lux Mundi, and also has written a little chant of the same name.

I still have more to go on this. Eventually, I'd like to order these liturgically, too; for now, I'm kind of liking giving the history, so it doesn't matter if they are in order.

Our 1982 hymnal has included many really interesting things, including some of the most ancient chants. I just found another thing this morning, too: S288 in the Service Music section is a Slavonic Te Deum in four parts! Gotta sing that baby someday.

Move on to An Office Hymn (no tunes) Compendium, Part III (with thanks to Wiki-pedia - Największa internetowa encyklopedia.) Or, go back to An Office Hymn Compendium, Part I.

An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part I

[EDIT:   This article is from 2007, and was my first foray into posting about music for the Offices.  But I've posted quite a bit about Office hymns and other music since then.  You can find posts about the Offices themselves at the Divine Office page, or on the Resources page (where there are many links to other chant hymnody resources).]

I've really been hoping to be able to find and post the music, in particular, for all the traditional hymns for all the Hours of the Divine Office; this seems to me to be the one place that's lacking in the breviary/Office area. (Derek, of course, has gone nuts on this before; I'll probably be duplicating some of his efforts, but hopefully some of this stuff will be new.)

This listing of hymns for the traditional Offices, from the "Thesaurus Precum Latinarum," is wonderful
, and it includes all the words to the hymns, by day of week and by liturgical season, in Latin and English. But there is no music.

So I'm going to harmonize sources! This is the first attempt. I found a page of recorded services of Compline (courtesy of the Compline Choir of St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas), and can at least pick out the mp3s of the traditional Office hymns from among these files, and point to the corresponding page at the Thesaurus Precum Latinarum. It's a start, anyway!

  1. Christe, qui lux es et dies: Here's the mp3, and here are the lyrics. The words are given at the TPL as Christe, qui, splendor et dies, but I'm almost certain it's the same song; I need to do a bit more research here and find out why the same song is referred to in two different ways. It seems to be simply a matter of translation. From TPL:
    Another old and venerable hymn for the close of day at Compline. This hymn has 8th century origins and is sometimes attributed to the Venerable Bede.

    The tune is very similar to that of the next hymn, Te lucis ante terminum; I'll be interested if I can find more about the history of the two to see if there's some connnection. I'm wondering if one began as a variant of the other. In fact, I've mixed these two up before; it makes sense that hymns for Compline would have similar themes, of course. This hymn is #40 in the 1982 Hymnal, used for Compline, and this choir is using those words.
  2. Te lucis ante terminum (the Sarum festal tone): Here's the mp3, and here are the lyrics. There is a discrepancy in the lyrics here, but again, I believe this to be simply a translation issue. The note at TPL might also shed some light on this:
    An old and venerable Ambrosian hymn from the 7th century for the close of day at Compline. This version is the one found in the Monastic Breviary and the Roman Breviary. The current version in the Liturgy of the Hours, which is given below, drops the second verse and replaces it with two other verses.

    This hymn is found in the 1982 Hymnal at #15 (listed for Noonday), #44, and #45 - both listed for Compline.
  3. The next hymn is listed as "Jesus, redeemer of the world" (Jesu, nostra redemptio). Here's the mp3 which is very familiar to me; I'm sure it's in the 1982, and I know I've sung it at Divine Office, but TPL doesn't have it under this Latin name. I found an 1837 book by John Chandler, Hymns of the Primitive Church, at Google Books that has the Latin words; here it is in English, translated by Chandler:
    O Christ, our Hope, our heart’s Desire,
    Redemption’s only Spring!
    Creator of the world art Thou,
    Its Savior and its King.

    How vast the mercy and the love
    Which laid our sins on Thee,
    And led Thee to a cruel death,
    To set Thy people free.

    But now the bands of death are burst,
    The ransom has been paid,
    And Thou art on Thy Father’s throne,
    In glorious robes arrayed.

    O may Thy mighty love prevail
    Our sinful souls to spare;
    O may we come before Thy throne,
    And find acceptance there!

    O Christ, be Thou our lasting Joy,
    Our ever great Reward!
    Our only glory may be it be
    To glory in the Lord.

    All praise to Thee, ascended Lord;
    All glory ever be
    To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
    Through all eternity.

    But these words do not match, at all, with what's on the mp3 - nor are they even in the proper meter! The version sung here is, indeed, taken from #38 (for Compline) in the 1982 Hymnal. The note there says that the words are "Latin, 10th cent.; ver Hymnal 1982. St. 5, Anne K. LeCroy (b. 1930)." So I'm not sure exactly what this text was, originally; will do some looking into it. The tune, BTW, is also used for #238 for Martyrs, and there is a metrical version at #233 for Apostles, as well. This page at Google books notes that Jesu nostra redemptio is "an Ascension hymn of the 9th or 10th Century."

    The Chandler book linked above, BTW, gives a schedule of when the hymns were/are sung - day of week, season, etc.
  4. Next: "The eternal gifts of Christ the King" (Aeterna Christi munera). This one is totally unfamiliar to me; here's the music, and here's an Oremus version of the words. The tune there is not at all the same, though. There is a Palestrina Missa Aeterna Christi munera, but I can't find information on this office hymn anywhere. Oremus says the words are from Ambrose.

    ADDENDUM 01/02/08: From a kind visitor to one of my Office Hymn Compendium posts:
    re: Aeterna Christi munera.
    Matins office hymn for the Feast of an Apostle. Palestrina extended the concept to a mass for the feast of an apostle, 'Missa Aeterna Christi munera.'

    Attributed to Ambrose of Milan.

    root to reference info at
    (w reconstructed tune)

    Reconstructed tune in Ambrosian meter (iambic tetrameter):

    Ambrosian hymn texts (only four are of certain attribution to Ambrose; Aeterna Christi is regarded as "possible" - somewhere between probable and plausible).
    My favorite setting of this hymn is a polyphonic confection by the 17th C Mexican composer, Alberto de Salazar. There is a playable mp3 file at this site:

    Thank you, anon!
  5. Here's the mp3 of another version of Te lucis ante terminum, this time the "Ferial Tone, à 5," a composition by Tallis that includes the plainsong tune. And this time, the words are in Latin, which you can follow along with at the same link as above.

More later. Meanwhile, here's something interesting I just came across: "Middle English Versions of 'Criste qui lux es et dies'," an article at JSTOR, in a 1954 issue of The Harvard Theological Review. Perhaps there's an answer to my questions there - but of course, I can't find out because JSTOR charges for access (which is one of Fr. AKMA's peeves, I recalled, while gazing wistfully at the first page).

It does seem to be true that there's quite a bit of variety in various versions of these hymns. And why would we think otherwise? There were large distances between people and groups in those days, and cultural differences, and all sorts of things that went to create variations. Only a few of these tunes have reached down through history in a standard form; there are local and/or regional versions of most things - a good thing.

If you'd like, you can move on to An Office Hymn Compendium, Part II.


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