Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Missa pro Defunctis: Libera Me

This is the Gregorian Responsory Libera Me, here sung by the Schola Bellarmina:

Libera me is sung at both the Office of the Dead and at the absolution of the dead after the Requiem mass, before the burial.  Here's the text:
Líbera me, Dómine, de morte ætérna, in die illa treménda:
Quando cœli movéndi sunt et terra.
Dum véneris iudicáre sæculum per ignem.
Tremens factus sum ego, et tímeo, dum discússio vénerit, atque ventúra ira.
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.
Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitátis et misériæ, dies magna et amára valde.
Dum véneris iudicáre sæculum per ignem.
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine: et lux perpétua lúceat eis.

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
I am made to tremble, and I fear, till the judgment be upon us, and the coming wrath,
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord: and let light perpetual shine upon them.

Here's the chant score, courtesy of MusicaSacra:

Here's more about Libera Me:
Libera Me is begun by a cantor, who sings the versicles alone, and the responses are sung by the choir. The text is written in the first person singular, "Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death on that fearful day," a dramatic substitution in which the choir speaks for the dead person.
In the traditional Office, Libera Me is also said on All Souls' Day (2 November) and whenever all three nocturns of Matins of the Dead are recited. On other occasions, the ninth responsory of Matins for the Dead begins with "Libera me", but continues with a different text (Domine, de viis inferni, etc.).

Here's the Libera Me from Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, sung on All Souls' Day 2011 at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Times Sq. NY:

Here are links to posts on this blog, for all the movements of the Requiem mass:

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