Friday, January 18, 2013

The Introit for the Second Sunday after Epiphany: Omnis terra

This is a video labeled "Dominica II post Epiphaniam 3," from the Institute St. Philipp Neri in Berlin, and includes the singing of this introit.  (They are singing the beautiful Missa de Angelis at this mass, and the Kyrie is also included here.)

Here's a translation of this Introit, with the chant score below.
Let all the earth adore Thee, O God, and sing to Thee: let it sing a psalmto Thy name, O most High. * Shout with joy to God, all the earth, sing ye a psalm to His name: give glory to His praise.

The text comes from Psalm (65/)66, verse 4 and then verses 1-2.

(I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, I confess - why the Introit doesn't show up until the 3rd video!  It appears as if they may do the sprinkling rite, Asperges Me, before singing the introit - or else the videos are out of order - but I'll have to go through the clips to see.

Interestingly, in this video of the Asperges Me, it sounds like the whole congregation is singing; I hope that's true!

I'd like to learn more about the Philipp Neri Institute, and will post what I find.)

Over the years, I've realized with more and more clarity that a central theme - if not the central theme - of Epiphany and its season is exactly summed up by the incipit of this Introit: Omnis terra adóret te - "let the whole earth adore you."

This "universal" theme runs through everything during Epiphany season, from the themes of the Epiphany itself (especially that of the Magi, who come from afar - far outside Israel - to worship the new King); to the Epiphany propers (i.e., Reges Tharsis - "Kings of Tarshish and Saba" come to worship from the ends of the earth); to the Epiphany Collect (which begins "O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the peoples of the earth...."); and in propers throughout the season (i.e., the Offertory for today is Iubilate Deo, universa terra).

The New Testament reading on Epiphany is from Ephesians 3, and starts out "This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles...."   The Old Testament is this supremely beautiful passage from Isaiah 60:
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.

3 And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.

5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and exult,[a]
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.
And now each week we sing Canticle 11, Surge, illuminare ("The Third Song of Isaiah") - taken from the first few verses in the passage above, along with these:
11 Your gates shall be open continually;
day and night they shall not be shut,
that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
with their kings led in procession.

18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise.

19 The sun shall be no more
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give you light;[b]
but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.[c]
And there you have the other Epiphany theme:  light.   What a beautiful, mystical season this is!

Here's Palestrina's Surge, illuminare, sung by the Tallis Singers:

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