Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ash Wednesday: Immutemur habitu and Emendemus in melius

Immutemur habitu and Emendemus in melius are an antiphon and responsory sung during the imposition of ashes at the Ash Wednesday Liturgy.

First, here's Immutemur habitu:

Here's the full chant score:

Divinum Officum provides, in addition to its Daily Office texts, the mass texts for everything from "Trident 1570" to "1960 NewCalendar" (which to me is just plain amazing!). This text doesn't show up in this form until "Rubrics 1960," so I'm not quite sure where it might have come from.

I've read in several places - including on the DO site - that this text come from Joel 2:13 (and  another section, not used here, from Joel 2:17) - but I disagree!  Joel 2:13 is the famous "Rend your hearts and not your garments,"  which has really nothing to do with the text here:
Immutemur habitu in cinere et cilicio; jejunemus, et ploremus ante Dominum; quia multum misericors est dimittere peccata nostra Deus noster. 

Let us change our garments for ashes and sackcloth; let us fast and lament before the Lord; for our God is plentious in mercy to forgive our sins.

(Translation supplied by The St. Ann Choir, directed by William Mahrt)
In fact, I've written on "let us change our garments for ashes and sackcloth" before.  This citation actually originates, I believe, in Jerusalem, Surge, the second of the Tenebrae Responsories for Holy Saturday (which itself is an "answer" to the Advent 2 Communion song of the same name).    It's a constructed text, which CPDL says originates in Jonah 3:6 and Lamentations of Jeremiah 2:18.  Here's that Tenebrae Jerusalem, surge; as you can see, "the changing of garments" and  cinere et cilicio make the same appearance, in the same order:
Jerusalem, surge, et exue te vestibus
jucunditatis; induere te cinere et cilicio:
quia in te occisus est Salvator Israel.
Deduc quasi torrentem lacrimas per diem et noctem,
et non taceat pupilla oculi tui.
Arise, O Jerusalem, and put off thy garments
of joy; put on ashes and sackcloth:
For in thee was slain the Saviour of Israel.
Shed thy tears like a torrent, day and night,
and let not the apple of thine eye be dry.

There is a second antiphon prescribed for this part of the service (it's not included here - see the chant score above) that does come from  Joel 2:17:
Juxta vestibulum et altare plorabunt sacerdotes et levitae, ministri Domini, dicentes: Parce Domine, parce populo tuo; et ne dissipes ora clamantium ad te, Domine.

Near the porch and the altar the priests and levites shall weep, the Lord's ministers, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people; and do not scatter the mouths of those crying to thee, O Lord. 

As mentioned, this verse is not included in this version of the antiphon but Cristobal Morales (for one) set this text and did include it.  This is mysterious, to me; where and how was the text originally used?  I don't know, at the moment, but am definitely on the hunt.

José Maurício Nunes García (1767 - 1830) set the text, and didn't include the second part, though:

I can tell you more about Emendemus in melius; it has, for a very long time (Divinum Officum cites it as "pre-Trident monastic"), been the verse-response that follows the fourth reading of Matins on the First Sunday in Lent.   (I believe that Ash Wednesday as "the first day of Lent" is a rather later development, which may explain this Responsory showing up in both places now; I'll try to work this out and will return to this page to post what I find.)

Here it is sung by Giovanni Vianini's Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis:

Here's an mp3 of this Responsory from the Brazilian Benedictines.

The texts come from Esther 13 and Joel 2, according to this page at CPDL.   I'm not exactly clear on what "Esther 13" actually is; apparently some of Esther appeared two centuries after the rest of the book, and not in Hebrew but in Greek.  This extra material was found in, I believe, the Septuagint and then the Latin Vulgate, but was expunged - or perhaps included with the Apocrypha - after the Reformation.  I am going to have to go through these extra chapters to see if I can find the text cited.
Emendemus in melius quae ignoranter peccavimus;
ne subito praeoccupati die mortis,
quaeramus spatium poenitentiae,
et invenire non possimus.

Attende, Domine, et miserere;
quia peccavimus tibi.

Adjuva nos,
Deus salutaris noster,
et propter honorem nominis tui libera nos.

Let us amend for the better in those things in which we have sinned through ignorance;
lest suddenly overtaken by the day of death,
we seek space for repentance,
and be not able to find it.

Hearken, O Lord, and have mercy:
for we have sinned against thee.
Help us, O God of our salvation,
and for the honour of thy name deliver us.

(English translation by William Mahrt)

(Ps. 78:9; Distribution of Ashes, Ash Wednesday; First Sunday of Lent, Matins Responsory; cf. Esther 13, Joel 2)

They sure like citing Joel 2 for these propers, don't they?  Again, I demur.  I'm not certain yet about the first half of the text - but as you can clearly see, the second part of this Responsory is nothing more than the refrain of "The Lent Prose"!  That is:
Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Hear us O Lord, have mercy upon us,
For we have sinned against thee.

William Byrd (among others) set this text; here's his version, sung (according to notes at the YouTube page) :
Deller Consort directed by Mark Deller singing a cappella:
Rosemary Hardy, Elizabeth Lane - soprano
Mark Deller, Christopher Royall - countertenor
Paul Elliott, Rogers Covey-Crump - tenor
Maurice Bevan - baritone
Michael George - bass

Here's the Ash Wednesday entry from the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913:

Ash Wednesday
The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the first day of the Lenten fast.

The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead — or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure — of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: "Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return." The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. In the blessing of the ashes four prayers are used, all of them ancient. The ashes are sprinkled with holy water and fumigated with incense. The celebrant himself, be he bishop or cardinal, receives, either standing or seated, the ashes from some other priest, usually the highest in dignity of those present. In earlier ages a penitential procession often followed the rite of the distribution of the ashes, but this is not now prescribed.

There can be no doubt that the custom of distributing the ashes to all the faithful arose from a devotional imitation of the practice observed in the case of public penitents. But this devotional usage, the reception of a sacramental which is full of the symbolism of penance (cf. the cor contritum quasi cinis of the "Dies Irae") is of earlier date than was formerly supposed. It is mentioned as of general observance for both clerics and faithful in the Synod of Beneventum, 1091 (Mansi, XX, 739), but nearly a hundred years earlier than this the Anglo-Saxon homilist Ælfric assumes that it applies to all classes of men. "We read", he says,
in the books both in the Old Law and in the New that the men who repented of their sins bestrewed themselves with ashes and clothed their bodies with sackcloth. Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten fast.
And then he enforces this recommendation by the terrible example of a man who refused to go to church for the ashes on Ash Wednesday and who a few days after was accidentally killed in a boar hunt (Ælfric, Lives of Saints, ed. Skeat, I, 262-266). It is possible that the notion of penance which was suggested by the rite of Ash Wednesday was was reinforced by the figurative exclusion from the sacred mysteries symbolized by the hanging of the Lenten veil before the sanctuary. But on this and the practice of beginning the fast on Ash Wednesday see LENT.  

Here are all the propers for Ash Wednesday, from the Sao Paulo Benedictines:
Tempus quadragesimæ
Feria quarta cinerum
Ad ritus initiales et liturgiam verbi
Introitus: Sap. 11, 24-25.27; Ps. 56 Misereris omnium (3m44.9s - 3516 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 56, 2. V. 4 Miserere mei, Deus (3m15.9s - 3064 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 102, 10 et 78, 8 et 9 Domine, non secundum peccata nostra (3m27.7s - 3248 kb) score

Ad benedictionem et impositionem cinerum
Antiphona: Cf. Ioel 2, 13 Immutemur habitu (1m21.5s - 1276 kb) score
Responsorium: Cf. Bar. 3,2. V. Ps. 78,9 Emendemus in melius (2m24.7s - 2264 kb) score

Ad liturgiam eucharisticam
Offertorium: Ps. 29, 2.3 Exaltabo te (1m37.7s - 1528 kb) score
Communio: Ps. 1, 2b.3b Qui meditabitur (45.3s - 710 kb) score

Here are posts on this site about the propers on the day:
The Ash Wednesday Introit: Misereris omnium
Ash Wednesday: Miserere Mei Deus (The Gradual)
Ash Wednesday:  Domine, non secundum (The Tract)
Ash Wednesday: Immutemur habitu and Emendemus in melius (antiphons sung during the imposition of ashes)
Exaltabo Te, Domine (The Offertory)
The Ash Wednesday Communion Song: Qui meditabitur

1 comment:

wrtlx said...

Here is my solo version of the Responsorium Emendemus.



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