Monday, July 21, 2008

July 22, The Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Although I thought I had a hymn dedicated especially to Mary Magdalene, I can't seem to find it just now; I'll post it when I finally do come across it again. Meantime, below is the chant score for a hymn for "Holy Women", which is sung at both Vespers; the tune is the same one for many of the other hymns for "Common of Saints." (Here again is the mp3 of Iste Confessor, the hymn for a Confessor, as an example of the tune.)

It's actually a really good thing, I think, that many hymns on feast days throughout the year are sung to the same tune; it holds things together in a very basic, sensory way.

Here are the readings for this feast; they include one of my favorite of all Psalms, #42:
1 As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *
so longs my soul for you, O God.

2 My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; *
when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night, *
while all day long they say to me,
"Where now is your God?"

4 I pour out my soul when I think on these things: *
how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God,

5 With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, *
among those who keep holy-day.

6 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *
and why are you so disquieted within me?

7 Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Here's an mp3 of the Herbert Howells anthem, "Like as the hart," sung by Lauda, "a small chamber choir formed in 2000, for the purpose of singing early and modern a capella music," and apparently based in England. The words to this motet are taken from this Psalm as well, and are sung of course to the words in the Coverdale Psalter (found at Mission St. Clare):
1 Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks *
so longeth my soul after thee, O God.

2 My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God *
when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

3 My tears have been my meat day and night *
while they daily say unto me, Where is now thy God?

4 Now when I think thereupon, I pour out my heart by myself *
for I went with the multitude, and brought them forth into the house of God;

5 In the voice of praise and thanksgiving *
among such as keep holy-day.

6 Why art thou so full of heaviness, O my soul *
and why art thou so disquieted within me?

7 Put thy trust in God *
for I will yet give him thanks for the help of his countenance.

This is one of my favorite of all anthems. There are many more mp3s on this page, of all sorts of settings of the Evening Canticles and other English church music. (Another terrific piece is Howells' "Magnificat Collegium Regale.")

Here is "A hymn for the feast of St Mary Magdalene," from And here's something pretty interesting: a hymn to Mary Magdalene by Arthur Sullivan - of Gilbert & Sullivan, I do believe! - called "Saviour, when in dust to Thee." Here are the first two verses:
Saviour, when in dust to Thee
Low we bow the adoring knee;
When, repentant, to the skies
Scarce we lift our weeping eyes,
Oh, by all Thy pains and woe
Suffer'd once for man below,
Bending from Thy throne on high,
Hear our solemn litany.

By Thy helpless infant years,
By Thy life of want and tears,
By Thy days of sore distress
In the savage wilderness;
By the dread mysterious hour
Of the insulting tempters power;
Turn, O turn a favouring eye;
Hear our solemn litany.

Sullivan apparently wrote quite a few hymn tunes. There's even a midi file of the hymn.

The Orthodox also revere Mary Magdalene, calling her "myrrh-bearer." (There are several hymns on that page, although no sound files.)

Here's an icon of Mary Magdalene; I never knew what the deal was with the egg until today, but according to the the Orthodox Wiki page:
According to tradition, during a dinner with the emperor Tiberius Caesar, Mary Magdalene was speaking about Christ's Resurrection. Caesar scoffed at her, saying that a man could rise from the dead no more than the egg in her hand could turn red. Immediately, the egg turned red. Because of this, icons of Mary Magdalene sometimes depict her holding a red egg. Also, this is believed to be an explanation for dyeing eggs red at Pascha.

In any case, I've always liked this icon:


Figulus said...

Here it is from the 2000 AD edition of the Roman Breviary, sung to the same tune, I guess. I have marked elisions with a hyphen, although in the Breviary they are marked with italics.

Magdalae sidus, mulier beata,
te pio cultu veneramur omnes,
quam sibi Christus sociavit arcti

Cum tibi-illius patefit potestas
daemonum vires abigens tremenda,
tu fide gaudes potiore necti
grata medenti.

Haeret hinc urgens tibi caritatis
vis ut insistas pedibus Magistri,
fervidis illum comitata semper
sedula curis.

Tuque comploras Dominum, crucique
impetu flagrans pietatis astas;
membra tu terges studiosa-et ungis
danda sepulcro.

Quos amor Christi peperit, triumphis
nos fac adiungi socios per aevum,
atque Dilecto simul affluenter
pangere laudes.

bls said...

Thanks, figulus.

Unknown said...

Hey, thanks for linking to Lauda - I didn't know anyone cared :-)

bls said...

They do. ;-)

(Beautiful version of the Howells, BTW.)


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