Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Introit for Trinity Sunday: Benedicta Sit

Here's Giovanni Vianini's version of this Introit:



Here's the score from JoguesChant, with their translation below (with text derived from Tobit 12:6 and Psalm 8):


Blessed be the Holy Trinity and its undivided Unity; we shall ever give him thanks, for he has dealt with us according to his mercy. O Lord, our Governor, how admirable is your name in all the earth!

Here's the complete list of the current (and historical) chant propers for Trinity Sunday:
Introit: Benedicta Sit
Gradual: Benedictus Es
Alleluia: Benedictus Es
Offertory: Benedictus Sit
Communion: Benedicimus Deum

Hmmm. I think they're trying to tell us something. The Tobit theme ("Blessed be God, for for he has dealt with us according to his mercy") appears in the Introit, the Offertory, and the Communio; the Gradual and Alleluia, taken from Daniel 3, contain another common theme: "Blessed are you, O Lord, who gaze into the depths and who are enthroned upon the Cherubim. Blessed are you, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven, and worthy of praise for ever."

In fact, the long form of the Gradual is much more extensive:
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. And blessed is your glorious, holy name. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. Blessed are you in the holy temple of your glory. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. Blessed are you upon the sacred throne of your kingdom. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. Blessed are you through the mighty sceptre of your divinity. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. Blessed are you as you gaze into the depths, enthroned upon the Cherubim. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. Blessed are you as you tread upon the wings of the wind, and on the waves of the sea. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. Let all your Angels and Saints bless you. And praise you and glorify you for ever. Let the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the things that dwell therein, bless you. And praise you and glorify you for ever. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Who is worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever. Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever.

This comes from the same text that makes up the "Canticle of the Three Young Men," the Benedicite Omnia Opera; the three young men in question are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who in the Daniel passage sing this hymn of praise to God while inside the fiery furnace:
[This is a] Canticle from the Apocryphal book, Song of the Three Young Men, verses 35-65. It is also known as the "Benedicite." It appears as Canticles 1 and 12 in the BCP (pp. 47-49, 88-90) and has been used at the morning office since the fourth century. The Benedicite is a continuation of the canticle Benedictus es, Domine (Canticles 2 and 13). The Benedicite and the Benedictus es, Domine form an extended paraphrase of Ps 148. The Benedicite begins with the invocation, "Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord," and concludes with a doxology. It summons all the cosmic order, the earth and its creatures, and all the living and departed people of God to "bless ye the Lord."

Here's G. Vianini singing about half of this chant, which he calls a "Gregorian hymn for Holy Trinity":



Here's something nice! A Finnish singer, Pia Skibdahl, and her rendition of Hildegard von Bingen's "Benedictus es, Domine"; the text is taken from today's Alleluia:



These are the words, I believe, in Latin, English, and Finnish:
Laulaja/singer Pia Skibdahl

Alleluia!
Benedictus es Domine
Deus patrum nostrorum
et laudabilis in saecula.

Alleluia!
Blessed is the Lord
the God of our ancestors
and praised for ever.

Hallelujaa
Siunattu on Herra
isiemme Jumala
ja ylistetty iankaikkisesti!

Here's (the 12-year-old!) Mozart's version of the day's Offertory, Benedictus Sit:



Here's Lorenzo Perosi's version of the same text, this time sung as the Offertory at worship (not sure where) on Advent 3:



See more about Trinity Sunday (and the Trinity) here, including some Te Deum stuff.

7 comments:

Grotheer Shull said...

I believe the last video is from the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio (St. Ambrose) in Milan. If so, I think they use the Ambrosian Rite, which means that they have six Sundays of Advent and so Advent III wouldn't correspond to Advent III outside of the Province of Milan (not that this changes anything, just an interesting note)

bls said...

Thanks for the information, Grotheer Shull - very interesting indeed.

M.T. Webster said...

I sang that very Introit this morning, only in English translation. It was exhilarating!

bls said...

Nice, M.T. Webster! I would think it would be exhilarating! Does your parish do all the chant propers in English? If so, is there some comprehensive resource available for this?

I don't mind the Latin - I just heard it that way at St. Mary the Virgin this a.m. - but would really be interested in seeing English translations, too.

BTW, talk about exhilarting! ST.MV sang the Missa Trinitatis Sanctae by Grier this morning, along with Rachmaninoff's Cherubic Hymn for the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and Stanford's Te Deum in C at the end of the service, with two thurifers standing at each side of the altar, thuribles swinging throughout, and lots of smoke rising! It was quite beautiful in there today....!

Michael said...

Something I've found striking for a couple years now is the Anthem on the Benedictus at Lauds. In the Latin, it says, "Blessed be the Creatress and Gouverness of all things, the Holy and Undivided Trinity." In terms of the feminine side of God, that's explicit and right in the liturgy!

bls said...

Hmmmm - I see what you mean, Michael! That's really interesting.

For those who might be interested, Breviary.net has this antiphon in both Latin and English. Here it is, in both languages:

Benedícta sit * sancta, creátrix et gubernátrix ómnium, sancta et indivídua Trínitas, nunc, et semper, et per infiníta sæcula sæculórum.

Blessed be * the Creator and Governour of all things, God the holy and undivided Trinity, both now and ever, through endless ages.


Would love to know what that's all about, actually! Hmmm - more research....

;-)

Thanks, Michael!

M.T. Webster said...

Yes, bls, we do the minor propers in English. Mostly we have done them from the English Gradual, but in the past year, my husband (who's the choir director and organist) has been experimenting with some of the original melodies. Our cantor has a real feel for the stuff and has been studying it on her own time.

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