Saturday, August 16, 2008

August 15: The Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Part I

Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum services books lists this lineup of Office hymns on the day:
On the Feast of the Assumption of the B. V. Mary (Aug. 15):
1st Evensong: O quam glorifica ... ... ... ... 66
Mattins: Quem terra, pontus, ethera ... ... ... ... 63
Lauds: O gloriosa femina ... ... ... ... 63
2пd Evensong: Letabundus... ... Sequence, p. (ii)

But within the 8ve & on the 8ve day, O quam glorifica, as above.

Here are the chant scores for #63 and #66 from Hymn Melodies:

Here's an mp3 the cantor from LLPB singing #63 above; this is "The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky" (the English version of Quem terra, pontus, ethera posted at Oremus Hymnal). Here are the words listed there:
The God whom earth and sea and sky
adore and laud and magnify,
whose might they own, whose praise they swell,
in Mary's womb vouchsafed to dwell.

The Lord whom sun and moon obey,
whom all things serve from day to day,
was by the Holy Ghost conceived
of her who through his grace believed.

How blessed that Mother, in whose shrine
the world's Creator, Lord divine,
whose hand contains the earth and sky,
once deigned, as in his ark, to lie.

Blessed in the message Gabriel brought,
blessed by the work the Spirit wrought;
from whom the great Desire of earth
took human flesh and human birth.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.


Words: attributed to Fortunatus, sixth century;
trans. John Mason Neale, 1854

Music: St. Ambrose, O Amor quam ecstaticus, Quem terra, pontus, aethera

I've already posted about several of these hymns, at the time of the Feast of the Annunciation. Here's part of that post again:

I do know, though, that the hymns listed for Mattins and Lauds in Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books (which hymns are notated "as on the Feast of the Conception") are sung to the same tune; the hymn is called "O gloriosa femina" (or "O gloriosa domina") at Lauds, and "Quem terra, pontus, ethera" at Mattins. The tune is the same as, but the words do not match up to, the hymn I have for Lauds:

Here's a page from the Poissy Antiphonal that includes both of these hymns - but the melodies seem quite different:

Here is a version (not any of the chant tunes listed, but pretty) of "O Gloriosa Domina" posted at YouTube:

Here are the words, in Latin and English:

O gloriosa Domina
excelsa super sidera,
qui te creavit provide,
lactasti sacro ubere.

Quod Eva tristis abstulit,
tu reddis almo germine;
intrent ut astra flebiles,
Caeli fenestra facta es.

Tu regis alti janua
et porta lucis fulgida;
vitam datam per Virginem,
gentes redemptae, plaudite.

Gloria tibi, Domine,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
in sempiterna secula. Amen.

O Heaven's glorious mistress,
elevated above the stars,
thou feedest with thy sacred breast
him who created thee.

What miserable Eve lost
thy dear offspring to man restors,
the way to glory is open to the wretched
for thou has become the Gate of Heaven.

Thou art the door of the High King,
the gate of shining light.
Life is given through a Virgin:
Rejoice, ye redeemed nations.

Glory be to Thee, O Lord,
Born of a Virgin,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
world without end. Amen.

You can hear a bit of the hymn for First Evensong, O quam glorifica, on the CD A Lammas Ladymass - 13th and 14th Century English Chant and Polyphony, from Anonymous 4, at #2 (but as usual, it's really worth it to click "Preview All"). Here are the lyrics in English:
1. O how glorious art thou, dazzling with light,
stock of David, royal offspring!
Thou dwellest in a sublime height, O Virgin Mary,
Looking down on all the heavenly regions.

2. Thou, with the honor of being a virgin and mother,
hast prepared for the Lord of Angels thy bosom
as a sacred palace, thy most holy womb,
from whence God took flesh, and was born Christ.

3. Thou, whom the whole world venerates and pays homage,
before whom all now rightfully bend the knee,
To whom we humbly beseech in our misery and darkness,
coming before thee surrounded by the joy of pure light.

4. O Father of all lights, through this sacred Flame
give unto us thy only Begotten Son,
who with Thee reigns brilliantly in the heavens,
ruling and governing for all ages.

But now here's the real interest, at least for me: Letabundus, a Sequence Hymn, is sung at Second Vespers - a Christmas Sequence, that is! I've tried to find a recording of this, but as is usual with many of the Sequence hymns, it's just not out there [EDIT August 2009: Not true, anymore! See this post for an mp3 of Letabundus.]; most of the Sequences have fallen into disuse at this point. Here, though, is the score, with the English words (click the image for a larger version):

And here, most wonderfully, are sound files of the entire service of 2nd Vespers for this feast, including Psalms and Antiphons, from the Benedictines of Brazil: In Assumptione Beatæ Mariæ Virginis ad II vesperas.

1 comment:

RFSJ said...

As always, complete, even exhaustive! I do hope you're pulling this together as a single resource - are you allowed to submit your thesis as a web page? Hey, I know - ChantWiki! Seriously - why not?




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