Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Lent 4 Gradual: Laetatus sum

Here's this beautiful Gradual, sung by Musica Gregoriana:



The text comes from Psalm (121/)122, verses 1 and 7; verse 1 is also part of the Introit for today.
I was glad when they said unto me:  let us go to the house of the Lord.  Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.


Psalm (121/)122 is one of the "Songs of Ascents"; according to Wikipedia, its uses in Judaism include:

The Gospel for this year is Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 - the parable of the Prodigal Son:
All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."

So Jesus told them this parable:

"There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands."' So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe--the best one--and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate.

"Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. He replied, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.' Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. But he answered his father, 'Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!' Then the father said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'"

The Benedictines of Brazil offer a complete list of today's propers; note that the Offertory and Communio vary, depending on the Gospel for the day.
Hebdomada quarta quadragesimæ  Dominica
Introitus: Cf. Is. 66, 10.11; Ps. 121 Lætare Ierusalem (3m46.5s - 3540 kb) chant score
Graduale: Ps. 121, 1. V. 7 Lætatus sum (1m58.9s - 1858 kb) chant score
Tractus: Ps. 124, 1.2 Qui confidunt (3m13.4s - 3024 kb) chant score
Offertorium: Ps. 134, 3.6 Laudate Dominum (1m37.4s - 1524 kb) chant score
                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Ps. 12, 4.5 Illumina oculos meos (1m33.8s - 1468 kb) chant score
Communio:  Ps. 121, 3.4 Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur chant score (1m09.7s - 1092 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de cæco nato:
                  Io. 9, 6.11.38 Lutum fecit (39.3s - 616 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Lc. 15, 32 Oportet te (28.9s - 454 kb)

The old set of propers, though, are the same for every year - and Laetatus sum does indeed appear as the Gradual.  Here's a version of it from that link:



Laetatus sum has been set by many composers.   Here's a lovely one, from Scarlatti, performed by the Nederlands kamerkoor; Harry Van der Kamp, Conductor:



Vivaldi went there, too:




Here's Monteverdi's; it's part of Vespro della Beata Vergine (AKA, Vespers of 1610) I believe the musicians are part of La Verdi Barocca, out of Milan:



And of course, not to missed (again!) is C.H.H. Parry's "I was glad":



Chantblog articles about the propers for the day include:

The parable of the Prodigal Son seems to have been a source of inspiration for dozens of artists; Rembrandt did at least 4 drawings and two oils of it - but many, many others have painted the story as well.

Here's one of the Rembrandt drawings, from 1642:



Here's an oil I like a lot, painted in 1773 by Pompeo Batoni:


This one's from Swedish painter Axel Kulle, done in 1882:


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