Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany: Beati Mundo ("Blessed are the pure in heart....")

Beati Mundo is the Communion Song for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany; here's a lovely version in mp3, from JoguesChant. (That singer is really good....)

The text comes from the Beatitudes (Matthew 5):
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Here's the chant score, from the Brazilian Benedictines:


Here's a lovely motet based in this text, by one Zieleński Mikołaj:



Wikipedia has this about him:
Mikołaj Zieleński (Zelenscius, birth and death dates unknown) was a Polish composer.

Zieleński's only known surviving works are two 1611 liturgical cycles of polychoral works, the Offertoria/Communes totius anni. These were dedicated to the Archbishop of Gniezno, Wojciech Baranowski. The sets consist of large-scale double- and triple-choir antiphons, as well as some monodic works typical of the Seconda pratica style of early Monteverdi. Zieleński's music is the first known Polish music set in the style of the Baroque.

That says, if I'm not mistaken, that this composer wrote polyphonic versions of all the Offertories and Communios for the whole church year! And that's all we've got of his. That is pretty amazing, really.

I expected to find many more polyphonic versions of this chant! But there don't seem to be many; William Byrd wrote one, but there's no online version of it that I could find.

The Orthodox, however, seem to be much bigger on Beatitude music! Here's a gorgeous (Russian, it says) version, for instance (embedding has been disabled, so that's a link to YouTube).

Here's another nice version, "The eight beatitudes," in Georgian Orthodox chant:



Here's a terrific Arvo Pärt version, sung in English:



There are lots of modern praise versions of these, too! I suspect - although I don't know for sure (maybe somebody reading does?) - that this song, "Osiem blogoslawienstw" ("Eight Blessings") sung in Polish, is a version of the Beatitudes as well. In any case, it's quite lovely, so here it is:



Its' interesting that the West did not, apparently, do as much with the Beatitudes in music, isn't it? They would seem to make up a perfect text for singing. Here they are, in full, from the Gospel reading for this Sunday:
Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


The Collect for the day is this one:
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Here's Fra Angelico's "Sermon on the Mount," one of the frescoes he painted on the cell walls of the San Marco Convent in Florence:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sarum: The Reconciliation of Penitents

Here's a video of a lovely rite, via Derek. I know very little about it at the moment - and still find it extremely affecting. There is a bit of brief explanation in the first few seconds, and then the rite begins.



"Venite, venite, venite, filii; audite me : timorem Domini docebo vos." ("Come, children, hearken to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.") The movement and the words are beautiful, I think - as is the chant. Derek also points to a PDF about it; I'll post again as I learn more.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Anglican Chant XI: Bampton - Anglican Church: Psalm 150 - "O Praise God In His Holiness"



A terrific Psalm 150; will let you know the composer as soon as my Anglican Chant commenters have arrived! Here's the Coverdale text:
Psalm 150. Laudate Dominum
1. O PRAISE God in his holiness : praise him in the firmament of his power.
2. Praise him in his noble acts : praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3. Praise him in the sound of the trumpet : praise him upon the lute and harp.
4. Praise him in the cymbals and dances : praise him upon the strings and pipe.
5. Praise him upon the well-tuned cymbals : praise him upon the loud cymbals.
6. Let every thing that hath breath : praise the Lord.

EDIT: I'm informed by a reader, Scott, that this is a "Double chant in C major by the Rev. Robert Philip Goodenough (c. 1776-1826)." Thanks so much as always, Scott!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Global Chant Database

I've posted on this before, but here's an updated version, at a new web address.
This is a beta version of the new Global Chant Database - Gregorian Chant Research Interface. The old version is available at www.globalchant.org.

The main ideas of the Global Chant Database:
  • Everyone searching for a concrete chant or medieval manuscript should find the information on what is the content of the manuscript, in which editions the repertory can be found, which publications concern with the manuscript and which scholars have done research on this manuscript.
  • Everyone doing research on a plainchant manuscript can share the results with the scholar community.
  • The database aims to follow the principles of the Cantus Planus Study Group, concerning the free exchange of data in electronic form.

Please register to access the full content of the database. Only registered users can add a new data.

More:
The Global Chant Database was developed by Jan Koláček - PhD student of the Institute of Musicology at the Charles University in Prague. The database is intended as an easy tool for scholars and students to search and identify plainchant melodies with a possibility of displaying the sources. The purpose of the database is to comprise the chant incipits of all important editions of plainchant and medieval manuscripts.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Laetabimur

The Communion song for the Second Sunday after Epiphany is "Laetabimur in salutari tuo": "We shall rejoice in your salvation."

Here's the mp3 from JoguesChant, and the score:


Lovely, eh? The text is from Psalm 20:5:
5 We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

And here's a gorgeous thing! It's "Exaudiat te Dominus" by André Campra, which I believe comes from his "Motets for the Royal Chapel." The fourth movement (beginning at around 5:40) is a version of Laetabimur; it's well worth your time to listen to the whole thing, though. It's a truly fine musical ensemble performing a splendid piece. I adore the Grands Motets style. Here's the playlist and etc.:
1 Exaudiat te Dominus
2 Mittat tibi auxilium
3 Memor sit
4 Laetabimur in salutari tuo
5 Impleat Dominus
6 Hi in curribus
7 Ipsi obligati sunt
8 Domine salvum fac regem
9 Et exadui nos

 Amel Brahim-Djelloul: soprano
• Emmanuelle de Negri: soprano
• Toby Spence: tenor
• Cyril Auvity: tenor
• Marc Mauillon: tenor
• Alain Buet: bass

Les Arts Florissants
Conducted by William Christie

Ensemble website: http://www.arts-florissants.com

• Directed by Isabelle Soulard © Broadcast by Cité de la musique

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ecce advenit: Behold the Lord the Ruler is come (The Epiphany Introit)

This is the Introit for Epiphany; here it's sung by the "Coro de Monjes y Monjas de la Abadía Benedictina de Le Bec Hellouin":



Here's the chant score:


The text comes from Malachi 3:1, I Chronicles 29:12, and Psalm 72:1, 10-11, say the Benedictines of Brazil:
Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion. Give to the king Thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s Son Thy justice.

Here are those texts in full, via the English Standard Version:
Malachi 3

1 "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

1 Chronicles 29:12

12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Psalm 72

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!

10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!


William Byrd wrote an Ecce advenit; here's one recording of it, very pretty:



Another video of that is here ("Singers from the Marchmont St. Giles Church choir, Edinburgh, Scotland - UK" - but they've disabled embedding).


The modern form of today's propers is exactly like the historical (1962 Missal/Tridentine) form; all of the chants have been retained.  These are all the chant propers for Epiphany; the sound files were recorded at St. Benedict's Monastery in São Paulo (Brazil):
In Epiphania Domini
Introitus: Cf. Mal. 3, 1; I Chron. 29, 12; Ps. 71, 1.10.11 Ecce advenit (4m21.1s - 1786 kb) score
Graduale: Is. 6, 60. V. 1 Omnes de Saba venient (2m31.0s - 1033 kb) score
Alleluia: Cf. Mt. 2, 2 Vidimus stellam (2m17.2s - 939 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 71, 10.11 Reges Tharsis (1m59.0s - 814 kb) score
Communio: Cf. Mt. 2, 2 Vidimus stellam (39.6s - 272 kb) score

Other posts on Chantblog for the propers on this feast day are:


Epiphany, as I've noted on this blog before, has been over the centuries a celebration not only of the Visitation of the Wise Men, but also of Christ's baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist and his first miracle at the wedding at Cana.  These were all "manifestations" of Christ in the world.  Tribus miraculis, the Magnificat antiphon for second vespers of the Epiphany, describes this trifold aspect to the day:
Tribus miraculis ornatum,
diem sanctum colimus:
Hodie stella magos duxit ad praesepium:
Hodie vinum ex aqua factum est adnuptias:
Hodie in Jordane
a Joanne Christus baptizari voluit,
ut salvaret nos,
Alleluia.


Three are the miracles we celebrate this day:
On this day by a star the wise men were led to the manger;
On this day wine out of water was brought forth for the wedding feast;
On this day in Jordan's waters by Saint John's hand Jesus chose to be baptized,
That he might save us. Alleluia.

Here's is the Gregorian antiphon; it's beautiful:



This year I'm happy to show some depictions of the Magi, though. One I hadn't ever seen before is this piece by a "Follower of Jheronimus Bosch."  I really like it:




And here's a lovely - and very old! - mosaic of the three Wise Men; the text at Wikipedia says 'English: Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men" (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar). Detail from: "Mary and Child, surrounded by angels", mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called "Master of Sant'Apollinare".'  (Photo credit Nina Aldin Thune.)


Here's the Epiphany Office.  It also has a very interesting history, and from it you can get the flavor of how important Epiphany has been considered to be in the past (even though today it's something of an afterthought - an unfortunate situation).

Saturday, January 01, 2011

"The House of Christmas," By: G. K. Chesterton


The House of Christmas

By: G. K. Chesterton

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay on their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost - how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wives' tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

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