Sunday, October 18, 2009

(A little bit) More about Ergo Maris Stella, verbi dei cella

In re: my previous post, I did find this PDF file online, which comes from the site of The Schola Antiqua of Chicago. The PDF is titled: "LONG JOY, BRIEF LANGUOR" and subtitled "The Anonymous English Quem malignus spiritus Mass."

The relevant section is notated thusly: "Alleluia (V. Ave Maria Dominus tecum) and Sequence: Ave maria…virgo serena." Ergo Maris Stella is taken from the Sequence (and as usual, I find myself attracted to Sequence Hymns, even without knowing it!). I've put the words to Ergo Maris Stella, verbi dei cella in bold purple in both the Latin and the English:

Ave Maria gratia plena
Dominus tecum:
benedicta tu in mulieribus.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum—virgo serena.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus—
que peperpisti pacem hominibus
et angelis gloriam.
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui—
qui coheredes ut essemus sui
nos, fecit per gratiam.
Per hoc autem Ave
Mundo tam suave,
Contra carnis iura
Genuisti prolem
Novum stella solem
Nova genitura.
Tu parvi et magni,
Leonis et agni,
Salvatoris Xpisti
Templum extitisti,
Sed virgo intacta.
Tu floris et roris,
Panis et pastoris,
Virginum regina
Rosa sine spina,
Genitrix es facta.
Tu civitas regis iusticie,
Tu mater es misericordie,
De lacu faecis et miseriae
Theophilum reformans gratie.
Te collaudat celestis curia,
Tibi nostra favent obsequia,
Que es Dei mater et filia,
Per te reis donatur venia.
Ergo maris stella,
Verbi Dei cella
Et solis aurora,
Paradysi porta,
Per quam lux est orta,
Natum tuum ora,
Ut nos solvat a peccatis,
Et in regna claritatis
Quo lux lucet sedula,
Collocet per secula.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with you:
Blessed are you among women.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with you—O serene virgin.
Blessed are you among women,
you who bore peace for humankind
and glory for the angels.
And blessed is the fruit of your womb—
he who makes us his heirs through grace,
so that we might be his.
But though this “Ave” —
So pure and sweet,
Contrary to the law of the flesh—
You, O star, through a new birth
Brought forth your offspring,
The new sun.
You stand out as the temple
Of the humble and the great,
Of the lion and the lamb,
Of Christ the savior—
Yet you remain a virgin.
You have been made mother
Of the bud and the dew,
Of the bread and the shepherd
You are queen of virgins,
Rose without thorns.
You are the city of the king of justice,
You are mother of mercy,
From the pool of impurity and misery
You recast one who through grace
becomes a lover of God.
You the celestial curia
together praises in song,
To You our services are devoted,
You who are mother and daughter of God,
Through You the pardon for guilt is offered.
Therefore star of the sea,
Sanctuary of the word of God
And dawn of the sun,
Door of paradise
Through which the Light is born:
Pray to Him your Son,
That He might free us from sins,
And place us in the kingdom of clarity,
Where the sedulous light shines
Through all ages.

Here's the video again, from Psallentes:

The notes in that PDF from the Chicago Schola say, first, that:
The Missa Quem malignus spiritus is an anonymous English setting of the cyclic mass for three voices and remains one of the earliest known masses to be unified by a single plainchant melody. This mass is based on a responsory chant found in just one mid-fifteenth-century source. This source bears the rhymed office of John (Thweng) of Bridlington, a fourteenth-century English saint canonized in 1401 (d. 1379). The mass seems to have appeared a little more than a generation after his canonization. While this saint represents an obscure figure of ostensibly local renown, the Missa Quem malignus spiritus is found well beyond the English orbit, remarkably in the famous Trent Codices—one of the largest sources of fifteenth-century polyphony—as well as in a fragment from the city of Lucca. In this mass setting, the lowest voice sings the melody of the responsory chant, while the upper voices unfold two independent lines to form the polyphony. The rhythmic texture of the upper voices is extremely subtle and complex, and rhythm itself seems to be treated as something of a dissonance which is “resolved” at cadences. Melodic imitation is clearly audible between the two upper voices.

The section about Ergo, Maris Stella has this:
We supplement the Missa Quem malignus spiritus with four plainchants, which fall into their proper place in the Mass with one exception (the Marian antiphon Ave regina caelorum). The plainchant genres of Alleluia and sequence formed a splendid prelude to the Gospel in the medieval liturgy, and many of the most highly developed musical moments created by and for the medieval cantor appear at this moment. The Alleluia. Ave Maria was sung as early as the tenth century and probably represents the work of ninth-century Frankish cantors. The sequence Ave Maria...virgo serena demonstrates the new style of both poetry and music that emerged in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries. The poetry of the sequence is rhymed without being strictly metrical, and the music is shaped by the rhythmic flow and rhymed lines of the text. While this sequence originated in the south German sphere around 1100, by the fifteenth century it was sung throughout Europe.

It seems to me that the notes above are saying that the Sequence Ave maria…virgo serena does not necessarily belong with the Quem malignus spiritus Mass, but that it could possibly have been sung with it as a chant proper to the day, as the two separate pieces were being used around the same time.

But, at least that's a bit more information about this very pretty tune.

1 comment:

Michael Alan Anderson said...

The sequence Ave Maria...virgo serena most certainly does not "go" with the Quem malignus spiritus mass. Though it could, as happens here. With this particular version from early twelfth century in the south of Germany and the Quem malignus polyphonic ordinary from early fifteenth century England, it is doubtful that they were ever heard together.

- Michael Alan Anderson
Schola Antiqua of Chicago


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...