Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sarum Ascension Office

I have previously posted about the Ascension Day Music for the Mass and also put up an Office Hymns for Ascension post.

But I haven't actually posted the listing from Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books before - so I will now:
On Ascension Day, & daily until Whitsun Day :
Ev. & Matt.:  Eterne Rex altissime ... ... ... 41
[Matt. (York):   Hymnum canamus glorie ... ... ... 42]
Lauds:   Tu, Christe, nostrum gaudium ... ... 41

(Follow along with the Ascension Offices here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885); that links to the Vigil of Ascension.   I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of this post, too.)

Here's the chant score for the melody #41, used at Sarum at Vespers, Mattins, and Lauds:




Here is an mp3 file of "a Hymn for First Vespers of the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord", from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood.   The tune is #41 above.

This hymn in English is "O Eternal Monarch"; in Latin, it's Eterne Rex altissime.  You can find the Latin words to this hymn, and more about it, on page 157 of Britt's Hymns of the Breviary and Missal (a large PDF file), and the English ones on page 43 of The Hymner: Containing Translations of the Hymns from the Sarum Breviary, at Google Books. 

Here are the words to Eterne Rex altissime from the source mentioned above; this is J.M. Neale's translation.  The words don't match exactly with what's on the LLPB sound file, though:
Eternal Monarch, King most high,
Whose Blood hath brought redemption nigh,
By whom the death of Death was wrought
And conquering Grace's battle fought:

Ascending to the throne of might,
And seated at the Father's right,
All power in heav'n is Jesu's own,
That here his Manhood had not known.

That so, in Nature's triple frame,
Each heav'nly and each earthly name,
And things in hell's abyss abhorr'd,
May bend the knee and own him Lord.

Yea, Angels tremble when they see
How changed is our humanity;
That Flesh hath purged what flesh had stain'd,
And God, the Flesh of God, hath reign'd.

Be thou our Joy, and thou our Guard,
Who art to be our great Reward:
Our glory and our boast in thee
For ever and for ever be.

All glory, Lord, to thee we pay,
Ascending o'er the stars to-day:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.


Here is an mp3 file of "a Hymn for Morning Prayer of the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord", also from the LLPB.  This one is also sung to melody #41.

This hymn in English is "O Christ Thou Art Our Joy Alone"; in Latin: Tu, Christe, Nostrum Gaudium. Here's a page from a site called "A MIDI Collection of Traditional Catholic Hymns" that includes the words in Latin and English (a J.M Neale translation), and gives the source of this hymn as "Anon. 5th Cent." (The tune there is listed as "a Grenoble church melody"; it's the same tune as the one in #448 in the 1982 Hymnal, "O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High." listed there as "Deus tuorum militum, from Antiphoner, 1753.")

The words in English can be found on on page 43 of The Hymner: Containing Translations of the Hymns from the Sarum Breviary, at Google Books; I do not know who did this translation.

And here are the words to Tu, Christe, Nostrum Gaudium, from the same source:
O Christ ! thou art our Joy alone,
Exalted on thy glorious throne ;
Who o'er earth's fabrick bearest sway,
Transcending earthly joys for aye.

We suppliants, therefore, ask of thee
To pardon our iniquity;
And of thine own supernal grace
Uplift our hearts to seek thy face.

When, cloud-throned 'mid the reddening sky,
In glory thou, our Judge, art nigh ;
O then, remitting guilt and pain,
Restore our long-lost crowns again.

Be thou our Joy, and thou our Guard,
Who art to be our great Reward :
Our glory and our boast in thee
For ever and for ever be.

All glory, Lord, to thee we pay,
Ascending o'er the stars to-day:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.



Here's a chant score of this hymn from my sources, one that uses a different set of words but the same tune:




Here is an mp3 file of "a Hymn for Second Vespers of the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord," also from LLPB.   This tune is not either of those listed above - but it's very pretty!

This hymn in English is "A Hymn of Glory"; in Latin, it's Hymnum canamus glorie; here's a page at CCEL with the words from the Lutheran hymnal, which are used on the mp3. The author is given as "The Venerable Bede, 735" on that page; here are the English words:
1. A Hymn of glory let us sing:
New songs throughout the world shall ring:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Chirst, by a road before untrod,
Ascendeth to the throne of God.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

2. The holy apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand;
Alleluia! Alleluia!
And with His followers they see
Jesus' resplendent majesty.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

3. To whom the angels, drawing nigh,
"Why stand and gaze upon the sky?
Alleluia! Alleluia!
This is the Savior!" thus they say;
"This is His noble triumph-day."
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

4. "Again shall ye behold Him so
As ye today have seen Him go,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
In glorious pomp ascending high,
Up to the portals of the sky."
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

5. Oh, grant us thitherward to tend
And with unwearied hearts ascend
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Unto Thy kingdom's throne, where Thou,
As is our faith, art seated now.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

6. Be Thou our Joy and strong Defense
Who art our future Recompense:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
So shall the light that springs from Thee
Be ours through all eternity.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

7. O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit One.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


The LLPB also includes "a Versicle [mp3] for Exaudi, the Sunday after Ascension": the text, from Psalm 47, is: "God is gone up with a shout, alleluia. The Lord with the sound of the trumpet, alleluia."


Apparently York did it differently than Salisbury - see the note in the listing above - but as the Lutherans did! It's always interesting to see these regional variations.  (Here's the chant score for melody #42, listed above, for which I have no audio file):




Here's that peek-in to the SSM Breviary:



You can read more about the propers for Ascension Day on Chantblog as well:




Here's a terrific Giotto Ascension:




And this Tintoretto - completely different - is pretty great, too:

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