Monday, December 30, 2013

"A Renaissance Christmas"

There are some really wonderful songs here, along with readings from Scripture, via Boston Camerata circa 1991.  You can get the CD  here:  http://www.amazon.com/A-Renaissance-Christmas-Boston-Camerata/dp/B000005IXX; only 1 left in stock as I write!



Here's the track list:

1. Nowell: Dieus Vous Garde
2. Gaudete, Gaudete
3. Reading: Luke I, 18 - 22
4. Ecce ancilla Domini: Kyrie Eleison
5. E La Don Don
6. Two Fantasies on 'Une Jeune Fillette'
7. Une Jeune Fillette - Joseph est bien marie
8. Joseph, lieber Joseph mein
9. Joseph Is Well Married: Magnificat Quinti Toni
10. Esprits divins
11. Reading: Luke II, 17 - 19
12. Es is ein Ros enstprungen
13. Riu, riu, chiu
14. Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern
15. Reading: Luke III, 4 - 12
16. O vos omnes
17. Reading: Luke II, 20 - 21
18. Ungaresca
19. Nouvelles, nouvelles
20. Tau garco, la durundena
21. Tura lura lura, lo gau canta
22. Reading: Luke II, 3 - 8
23. O magnum mysterium
24. Singet un klinget, ihr kinderlein
25. Bransle de Poictou / La bona novella

Many of these songs are completely new to me; that gives me something to research during long winter nights ahead.....

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Personent Hodie: On this day, earth shall ring

We had Personent Hodie  today at the very beautiful Christmas Day Eucharist.  It's another song from the 1582 Piae Cantiones; the melody is 14th Century.   The Latin words date from the 12th Century; the German ones from the 14th.  Sung here by the King's College Choir:



Here are the Latin words, with an English translation by Jane M. Joseph below; I'm not sure if these are the words in the 1982 hymnal, though.  Will check sometime.
Personent hodie
voces puerulae,
laudantes iucunde
qui nobis est natus,
summo Deo datus,
et de virgineo ventre procreatus.

In mundo nascitur,
pannis involvitur
praesepi ponitur
stabulo brutorum,
rector supernorum.
perdidit spolia princeps infernorum.

Magi tres venerunt,
parvulum inquirunt,
Bethlehem adeunt,
stellulam sequendo,
ipsum adorando,
aurum, thus, et myrrham ei offerendo.

Omnes clericuli,
pariter pueri,
cantent ut angeli:
advenisti mundo,
laudes tibi fundo.
ideo gloria in excelsis Deo.


On this day earth shall ring
with the song children sing
to the Lord, Christ our King,
born on earth to save us;
him the Father gave us.
Refrain
Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o,
Id-e-o gloria in excelsis Deo!

His the doom, ours the mirth;
when he came down to earth,
Bethlehem saw his birth;
ox and ass beside him
from the cold would hide him.
Refrain

God's bright star, o'er his head,
Wise Men three to him led;
kneel they low by his bed,
lay their gifts before him,
praise him and adore him.
Refrain

On this day angels sing;
with their song earth shall ring,
praising Christ, heaven's King,
born on earth to save us;
peace and love he gave us.
Refrain

Here is part of Wikipedia's entry for Personent hodie:
"Personent hodie" is a Christmas carol originally published in the 1582Finnish song book Piae Cantiones, a volume of 74 Medieval songs with Latin texts collected by Jaakko Suomalainen, a Swedish Lutheran cleric, and published by T.P. Rutha.[1] The song book had its origins in the libraries of cathedral song schools, whose repertory had strong links with medieval Prague, where clerical students from Finland and Sweden had studied for generations.[2] A melody found in a 1360 manuscript from the nearby Bavarian city of Moosburg in Germany is highly similar, and it is from this manuscript that the song is usually dated.[3][4]

Textual origins

The Latin text is probably a musical parody of an earlier 12th century song beginning "intonent hodie voces ecclesie", written in honour ofSaint Nicholas, the patron saint of Russia, sailors and children – to whom he traditionally brings gifts on his feast day, 6 December.[2] Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott note that two of the verses have an unusual double repeat ('Submersum, -sum, -sum puerum'; 'Reddens vir-, vir-, vir- ginibus'). In 'intonent hodie', these were used to illustrate the three boys and three girls saved by St Nicholas from drowning and prostitution, respectively.[2] The text was probably re-written for the Feast of the Holy Innocents (28 December) when choristers and their "boy bishop" traditionally displaced the senior clergy from the choir stalls.[3] The carol is still often associated with Holy Innocents' Day.[1]

Songs from Piae Cantiones continued to be performed in Finland until the 19th century.[5] The book became well known in Britain after a rare copy of Piae Cantiones owned by Peter of Nyland was given as a gift to the British Minister in Stockholm. He subsequently gave it to John Mason Neale in 1852, and it was from this copy that Neale, in collaboration with Thomas Helmore published songs in two collections in 1853 and 1854 respectively.[5]

Translations

The most common English translation of the text is by "James M. Joseph", a pseudonym of the composer Jane M. Joseph (1894–1929). She translates the title as "On this day earth shall ring", although there are several other English translations.[2] Other versions include Elizabeth Poston's 1965 "Boys' Carol", which translates the first line of the text as "Let the boys' cheerful noise/Sing today none but joys" and John Mason Neale's "Let The Song be Begun", which uses the melody but not the text of the carol.[6][7] Aidan Oliver's non-verse translation renders the text as "Today let the voices of children resound in joyful praise of Him who is born for us."[8]


And his image is from the same page; it's the first page of Personent hodie in the original Piae Cantiones:


Christmas Day: Divinum mysterium

Here's the beautiful hymn "Of the Father's Love Begotten," sung to the melody Divinum mysterium.  This hymn first appeared in this form in the Piae Cantiones, a collection of hymns and songs from the late medieval period and published in 1582.  Piae Cantiones was compiled by Finnish clergyman Jaakko Suomalainen; it contains several other well-known hymns, including the Christmas carol, Gaudete (video of that one here).

This melody comes, I believe, from the 11th Century.  Here it's sung by the Choir of Christ Church Episcopal New Haven, CT, in an unusual and quite beautiful arrangement:



This is a translation by Roby Furley Davis (used in the 1906 English hymnal) from the original Latin of the Aurelius Prudentius poem Corde natus ex Parentis ("Of the Father's Heart Begotten").

1. Of the Father’s heart begotten
    Ere the world from chaos rose,
He is Alpha: from that Fountain,
    All that is and hath been flows;
He is Omega, of all things
    Yet to come the mystic Close,
        Evermore and evermore.

2. By his word was all created;
    He commanded and ’twas done;
Earth and sky and boundless ocean,
    Universe of three in one,
All that sees the moon’s soft radiance,
    All that breathes beneath the sun,
        Evermore and evermore.

3. He assumed this mortal body,
    Frail and feeble, doomed to die,
That the race from dust created
    Might not perish utterly,
Which the dreadful Law had sentenced
    In the depths of hell to lie,
        Evermore and evermore.

4. O how blest that wondrous birthday,
    When the Maid the curse retrieved,
Brought to birth mankind’s salvation,
    By the Holy Ghost conceived,
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
    In her loving arms received,
        Evermore and evermore.

5. This is he, whom seer and sybil
    Sang in ages long gone by;
This is he of old revealed
    In the page of prophecy;
Lo! he comes, the promised Saviour;
    Let the world his praises cry!
        Evermore and evermore.

6. Sing, ye heights of heaven, his praises;
    Angels and Archangels, sing!
Wheresoe’er ye be, ye faithful,
    Let your joyous anthems ring,
Every tongue his name confessing,
    Countless voices answering,
        Evermore and evermore.

7. Hail! thou Judge of souls departed;
    Hail! of all the living King!
On the Father's right hand throned,
    Through his courts thy praises ring,
Till at lest for all offences
    Righteous judgement thou shalt bring,
        Evermore and evermore.

At the entrance into the Choir
8. Now let old and young uniting
    Chant to thee harmonious lays
Maid and matron hymn thy glory,
    Infant lips their anthem raise,
Boys and girls together singing
    With pure heart their song of praise,
        Evermore and evermore.

9. Let the storm and summer sunshine,
    Gliding stream and sounding shore,
Sea and forest, frost and zephyr,
    Day and night their Lord alone;
Let creation join to laud thee
    Through the ages evermore,
        Evermore and evermore. Amen.

Here are the original Latin words, along with J.M. Neale's earlier English translation:
Corde natus ex parentis
Ante mundi exordium
A et O cognominatus,
ipse fons et clausula
Omnium quae sunt, fuerunt,
quaeque post futura sunt.
Saeculorum saeculis.
   
Ipse iussit et creata,
dixit ipse et facta sunt,
Terra, caelum, fossa ponti,
trina rerum machina,
Quaeque in his vigent sub alto
solis et lunae globo.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Corporis formam caduci,
membra morti obnoxia
Induit, ne gens periret
primoplasti ex germine,
Merserat quem lex profundo
noxialis tartaro.
Saeculorum saeculis.
   
O beatus ortus ille,
virgo cum puerpera
Edidit nostram salutem,
feta Sancto Spiritu,
Et puer redemptor orbis
os sacratum protulit.
Saeculorum saeculis.
   
Psallat altitudo caeli,
psallite omnes angeli,
Quidquid est virtutis usquam
psallat in laudem Dei,
Nulla linguarum silescat,
vox et omnis consonet.
Saeculorum saeculis.
   
Ecce, quem vates vetustis
concinebant saeculis,
Quem prophetarum fideles
paginae spoponderant,
Emicat promissus olim;
cuncta conlaudent eum.
Saeculorum saeculis.
   
Macte iudex mortuorum,
macte rex viventium,
Dexter in Parentis arce
qui cluis virtutibus,
Omnium venturus inde
iustus ultor criminum.
Saeculorum saeculis.
   
Te senes et te iuventus,
parvulorum te chorus,
Turba matrum, virginumque,
simplices puellulae,
Voce concordes pudicis
perstrepant concentibus.
Saeculorum saeculis.

Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre
hagioque Pneumate
Hymnus, decus, laus perennis,
gratiarum actio,
Honor, virtus, victoria,
regnum aeternaliter.
Saeculorum saeculis.


Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd;
He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean
In their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun,
Evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion,
Death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below,
Evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Saviour of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

Righteous judge of souls departed,
Righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted
None in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive,
Evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honour, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!

(Divinum Mysterium was used as the Compline hymn at York for Christmastide - but that hymn used a different melody:


I have no recording of this tune, though.)

Here's another version, sung at the "Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne Kantorei. Recorded in Kramer Chapel on the campus of CTS, Ft. Wayne."  The words they're using are closer to Neale's translation above, but not exactly the same.



Here's more about the hymn from the Wikipedia page linked above:
Of the Father's Heart Begotten alternatively known as Of the Father's Love Begotten is a Christmas carol based on the Latin poem Corde natus by the Roman poet Aurelius Prudentius, from his Liber Cathemerinon (hymn no. IX) beginning "Da puer plectrum," which includes the Latin stanzas listed below.[1]

The ancient poem was translated and paired with a medieval plainchant melody Divinum mysterium. Divinum mysterium was a "Sanctus trope" - an ancient plainchant melody which over the years had been musically embellished.[2] An early version of this chant appears in manuscript form as early as the 10th century, although without the melodic additions, and "trope" versions with various melodic differences appear in Italian, German, Gallacian, Bohemian and Spanish manuscripts dating from the 13th to 16th centuries.[2]

Divinum mysterium first appears in print in 1582 in the Finnish song book Piae Cantiones, a collection of seventy-four sacred and secular church and school songs of medieval Europe compiled by Jaakko Suomalainen and published by Theodoric Petri.[3] In this collection, Divinum mysterium was classified as "De Eucharistia" reflecting its original use for the Mass.[4]

The text of the Divinum mysterium was substituted for Prudentius's poem when it was published by Thomas Helmore in 1851. In making this fusion, the original meter of the chant was disturbed, changing the original triple meter rhythm into a duple meter and therefore altering stresses and note lengths. A later version by Charles Winfred Douglas corrected this using an "equalist" method of transcription, although the hymn is now found in both versions as well as a more dance-like interpretation of the original melody.[2]

Merry Christmas!

Carols from King's College Cambridge (2012)


For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Monday, December 23, 2013

O Virgo Virginum (December 23)

The final Great "O" Antiphon, O Virgo Virginum ("O Virgin of Virgins") is, in the Anglican world, sung tonight at Evensong, before and after the Magnificat.



O Virgin of Virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? That which ye behold is a divine mystery.

Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat:




Here are the Latin and modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of the beautiful Magnificat, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

Blessed Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

O Emmanuel (December 22)

O Emmanuel is the Antiphon upon Magnificat for tonight at Vespers:


O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, Desire of all nations and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.




Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat:




Here are the Latin and modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of the beautiful Magnificat, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

Here's Zoltán Kodály's gorgeous "Veni, veni, Emmanuel," sung here by L'Accorche-Choeur, Ensemble vocal Fribourg:
Veni, Veni Emmanuel is a synthesis of the great "O Antiphons" that are used for Vespers during the octave before Christmas (Dec. 17-23). These antiphons are of ancient origin and date back to at least the ninth century.



Saturday, December 21, 2013

O Rex Gentium (December 21)

Anglicans sing O Rex Gentium ("O King of the Nations") tonight at Vespers as the Antiphon upon Magnificat.  (If they're not singing an Antiphon in the honor of St. Thomas, whose feast day it is today, that is.)


O King of Nations, and their Desire; the Cornerstone, who makest both one: Come and save mankind, whom thou formedst of clay.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.




Interesting, I think, that Christ's title here is at once "King of Nations," and also "their Desire" - and that he is the cornerstone who integrates them into one thing.   This is the same idea you find in Psalm 119: "O Lord, how I love Thy Law!"  It says that the ultimate of end of faith is to love and desire God's Rule; this King does not lay burdens on His people, but comes to heal and to fulfill.  A small phrase that does a lot of work; it's really a succinct statement of the belief that Creation is good - but fallen.  

The "cornerstone" referred to here has many Scriptural sources. Likely the first, and very influential, mention is found in Psalm 118:22:
The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.

Isaiah 28:6 talks, too, of a "cornerstone":
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’


Matthew 21:42 refers back to the Psalm (as do Mark and Luke in their Gospels):
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?


The same reference to the Psalm is found in Acts 4:11, as Peter and John talk to the Sanhedrin:
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.


And Paul harkens back to the Isaiah - but with a Pauline twist, adding in a bit of text from Isaiah 8:14! - in Romans 9:33:
As it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat itself:




Here are the Latin and modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of the beautiful Magnificat, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

Friday, December 20, 2013

O Oriens (December 20)

The Great "O" Antiphon O Oriens ("O Dayspring") is sung tonight at Vespers as the Antiphon upon Magnificat.


O Day-Spring, Brightness of the Light everlasting, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.




Oriens is Latin for "East" - and also refers to "the Morning Star" (either Venus, or perhaps the sun). The text most likely comes from Revelation 22:16, part of the "epilogue" of the book and one of the very last verses in the Bible:
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.


Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat itself.




Here are the Latin and modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of the beautiful Magnificat, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

Here's something about the Great "O" Antiphons from the website "The Hymns and Carols of Christmas":
The antiphons date back at least to the reign of Charlemagne (771-814), and the 439 lines of the English poem Christ, by Cynewulf (c. 800), are described as a loose translation and elaboration of the Antiphons.  One source stated that Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time.  Julian reports that two 11th century copies can be found in manuscripts in the British Museum and the Bodleian. The usage of the "O Antiphons" was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, "Keep your O" and "The Great O Antiphons" were common parlance.

At least two — and up to five — additional verses were later added to the original seven.   However, it is clear that these seven were designed as a group, since their initial letters (ignoring the 'O' that precedes each line) spell out the reverse acrostic 'SARCORE' — 'ero cras', that is, "I shall be [with you] tomorrow."

According to some sources, by the 12th or 13th century, but no later than the eighteenth century, five of the verses had been put together to form the verses of a single hymn, with the refrain "Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel nascetur pro te, Israel" ("Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel") (there was no refrain in the original Latin chant). The earliest known metrical form of the "O" Antiphons was a Latin version in an Appendix of Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, (Cologne, 1710, from the Tridentine rite).

In 1851, it was translated by and published in Rev. John Mason Neale’s Medieval Hymns. The original title was "Draw nigh, draw nigh! Immanuel." It was revised and published in 1854 in Neale and Thomas Helmore’s second edition of Hymnal Noted with the more familiar "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." "Emmanuel" (or "Immanuel") is the name of the Messiah as prophesied by the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah (see Isaiah 7:14, quoted in Matthew 1:23). There have been numerous other translations, notably by Thomas Alexander Lacey and Henry Sloane Coffin.

English prose translations are by Cardinal John Henry Newman from Tracts for the Times, No. 75 (Vol.3), pp. 183, 206-207, as quoted by Alfred S. Cook, The Christ Of Cynewulf, pp. 71-72. "Alternate Prose Translations" are also provided; translator unknown.

Scriptural citations from Fr. William Saunders, "What Are the ’O Antiphons’?" (and also under the title "A Seven-Fold Announcement"), and Cook, The Christ of Cynewulf, pp. 72-114.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

O Clavis David (December 19)

O Clavis David ("O Key of David") gets sung tonight at Vespers as the Antiphon upon Magnificat.


O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel; that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth: come, and bring forth from the prisionhouse the captive, who sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.




The text for this antiphon is found in two places in the Scriptures: Isaiah 22 and Revelation 3:
Isaiah 22:22: And the Key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Revelation 3:7: And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth....

Clearly, the Revelation passage is directly quoting the Isaiah; I still am not  certain of the significance of the phrase in either case, however, or whether this alludes to some earlier text or idea.  (Actually, I've been meaning to look into this for year now!)

This, though, comes from Hymns and Carols of Christmas; it's from Prosper Guéranger's The Liturgical Year, Vol. 1, Advent.
O Jesus, Son of David! heir to his throne and his power! Thou art now passing over, in Thy way to Bethlehem, the land that once was the kingdom of Thy ancestor, but now is tributary to the Gentiles. Scarce an inch of this ground which has not witnessed the miracles of the justice and mercy of Jehovah, Thy Father, to the people of the old Covenant, which is so soon to end. Before long, when Thou hast come from beneath the virginal cloud which now hides Thee, Thou wilt pass along this same road doing good, 1 healing all manner of sickness and every infirmity, 2 and yet having not where to lay Thy head. 3 Now, at least, Thy Mother’s womb affords Thee the sweetest rest, and Thou receivest from her the profoundest adoration and the tenderest love. But, dear Jesus, it is Thine own blessed will that Thou leave this loved abode. Thou hast, O eternal Light, to shine in the midst of this world’s darkness, this prison where the captive, whom Thou hast come to deliver, sits in the shadow of death. Open his prison-gates by Thy all-powerful key. And who is this captive, but the human race, the slave of error and vice? Who is this captive, but the heart of man, which is thrall to the very passions it blushes to obey? Oh! come and set at liberty the world Thou hast enriched by Thy grace, and the creatures whom Thou hast made to be Thine own brethren.

ANTIPHON TO THE ANGEL GABRIEL

O Gabriel! nuntius cœlorum, qui januis clausis ad me intrasti, et Verbum nunciasti: Concipies et paries: Emmanuel vocabitur. O Gabriel! the messenger of heaven, who camest unto me through the closed doors, and didst announce the Word unto me : Thou shalt conceive and bear a Son, and he shall be called Emmanuel.

Notes from Dom Guéranger:

1. Acts x. 38.
2. St. Matt. iv. 23.
3. St. Luke ix. 58. 

These are certainly beautiful metaphors, in any case.


Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat itself.




Here are the Latin and modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of the beautiful Magnificat, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

O Radix Jesse (December 18)

Tonight's Great "O" Antiphon sung before and after the Magnificat is O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse).


O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall stop their mouths, whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.




The text for this Antiphon comes primarily from Isaiah. The "root of Jesse" is a reference to Isaiah 11 - and the wonderful "kings shall shut their mouths" comes from the haunting "Suffering Servant" passages in Isaiah 52-53:
Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall he startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.

Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat itself.




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

This article, written in around 1914 by A.C.A. Hall, the Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, contains quite a bit more about the Great "O"s.

This is an "O Antiphon" page from the Poissy Antiphonal (1335-45);  it's got "O Sapientia," "O Adonai," and "O Radix Jesse" - the first three "O"s:



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

O Adonai (December 17)

Tonight, the Great "O" Antiphon sung at Vespers before and after the Magnificat is O Adonai:


O Adonai and Leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst in the Bush of Moses in a flame of fire, and gavest him the law in Sinai: Come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.



Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat itself:



The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

Here is is a good longish article about these antiphons, and some other related ones.

About the word Adonai ('literally "my Lord," the plural form of Adon, that is, "Lord" or "Lordship"'), from the Jewish Encyclopedia:
This word occurs in the Masoretic text 315 times by the side of the Tetragram YHWH (310 times preceding and five times succeeding it) and 134 times without it. Originally an appellation of God, the word became a definite title, and when the Tetragram became too holy for utterance Adonai was substituted for it, so that, as a rule, the name written YHWH receives the points of Adonai and is read Adonai, except in cases where Adonai precedes or succeeds it in the text, when it is read Elohim....The translation of YHWH by the word Lord in the King James's and in other versions is due to the traditional reading of the Tetragrammaton as Adonai, and this can be traced to the oldest translation of the Bible, the Septuagint. About the pronunciation of the Shem ha-Meforash, the "distinctive name" YHWH, there is no authentic information. In the early period of the Second Temple the Name was still in common use, as may be learned from such proper names as Jehohanan, or from liturgical formulas, such as Halelu-Yah. At the beginning of the Hellenistic era, however, the use of the Name was reserved for the Temple.

....

Pronunciation of the Name by the Temple priests also gradually fell into disuse. Tosef., Soṭah, xiii. 8, quoted Menaḥot, 109b, and Yoma, 39b, relates that "from the time Simon the Just died [this is the traditional expression for the beginning of the Hellenistic period], the priests refrained from blessing the people with the Name"—in other words, they pronounced it indistinctly, or they mouthed or mumbled it. Thus says Tosef., Ber. vi. 23: Formerly they used to greet each other with the Ineffable Name; when the time of the decline of the study of the Law came, the elders mumbled the Name. Subsequently also the solemn utterance of the Name by the high priest on the Day of Atonement, that ought to have been heard by the priests and the people, according to the Mishnah Yoma, vi. 2, became inaudible or indistinct.

....the Greek translators of the Bible, even though some scribe might now and then write the Tetragrammaton in the archaic Hebrew form on the margin, Π I Π I, as found by Origen (see facsimile attached to article Aquila), took great care to render the name Π I Π I regularly Κυριός, Lord, as if they knew of no other reading but Adonai. Translations dependent upon the Septuagint have the same reading of the Name. Not from "superstitious fear" or misapplication of the third command of the Decalogue or of Lev. xxiv. 11, but from a reverential feeling that the Name ought not to be pronounced except with consecrated lips and to consecrated ears, the substitute "Lord" came into use. Yet this simple measure, introduced to guard the Name against profane use, formed one of the most powerful means of securing to the Biblical God the universal character with which He is invested as the Lord of Hosts and the Ruler of men and nations. YHWH, as the God of Israel, might still be taken as a tribal God; The Lord is no longer the God of one people; He is Lord of all the world, the Only One. Compare Name of God, Shem ha-Meforash, and Tetragrammaton.

This is an "O Antiphon" page from the Poissy Antiphonal (1335-45); it's got "O Sapientia," "O Adonai," and "O Radix Jesse" - the first three "O"s:



Monday, December 16, 2013

O Sapientia (December 16)

Tonight we enter that beautiful time of year, Sapientia-tide, once again.  December 16 has been designated "O Sapientia" in the Church Calendar of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer for 350 years now - but the antiphons themselves are much older.  They originated during a period no later the 8th Century, and have been sung in monasteries and convents during these days before Christmas since those very early times.

"O Sapientia" ("O Wisdom") is the Antiphon Upon Magnificat at Vespers for the 16th - and the first of 8 "Great 'O' Antiphons" for this octave before Christmas.  (Roman Catholics begin on December 17; they use one fewer antiphon. The last is sung, in each church, on the 23rd, "Christmas Eve Eve.")

The texts for the Great "O"s are taken in great part from the Prophets and from the Wisdom literature, and become mystical  proclamations, made daily during those eight days, of the imminent coming of Christ "in great humility." 

Here's O Sapientia; the English translation - in the old language - is below the video.



O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the most High, and reachest from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

And here, at last, is a video of the antiphon sung in English!  It comes from the Society of St. John Evangelist - an Anglican monastic order in Cambridge, MA. There is also some discussion of the antiphon after, after it's sung:




The text of O Sapientia is drawn in great part from Sirach 24.  I'm including the whole chapter here because it deserves to be read in its entirety, I think:
1 Wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honoured in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people,
 2 And shall open her mouth in the churches of the most High, and shall glorify herself in the sight of his power,
 3 And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and shall be ad- mired in the holy assembly.
 4 And in the multitude of the elect she shall have praise, and among the blessed she shall be blessed, saying:
 5 I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures:
 6 I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never faileth, and as a cloud I covered all the earth:
 7 I dwelt in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud.
 8 I alone have compassed the circuit of heaven, and have penetrated into the bottom of the deep, and have walked in the waves of the sea,
 9 And have stood in all the earth: and in every people,
 10 And in every nation I have had the chief rule:
 11 And by my power I have trodden under my feet the hearts of all the high and low: and in all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord.
 12 Then the creator of all things commanded, and said to me: and he that made me, rested in my tabernacle,
 13 And he said to me: Let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in my elect.
 14 From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him.
 15 And so was I established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested, and my power was in Jerusalem.
 16 And I took root in an honourable people, and in the portion of mg God his inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of saints.
 17 I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus, and as a cypress tree on mount Sion.
 18 I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades, and as a rose plant in Jericho:
 19 As a fair olive tree in the plains, and as a plane tree by the water in the streets, was I exalted.
 20 I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon. and aromatical balm: I yielded a sweet odour like the best myrrh:
 21 And I perfumed my dwelling as storax, and galbanum, and onyx, and aloes, and as the frankincense not cut, and my odour is as the purest balm.
 22 I have stretched out my branches as the turpentine tree, and my branches are of honour and grace.
 23 As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odour: and my flowers are the fruit of honour and riches.
 24 I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope.
 25 In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue.
 26 Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits.
 27 For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb.
 28 My memory is unto everlasting generations.
 29 They that eat me, shall yet hunger: and they that drink me, shall yet thirst.
 30 He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.
 31 They that explain me shall have life everlasting.
 32 All these things are the book of life, and the covenant of the most High, and the knowledge of truth.
 33 Moses commanded a law in the precepts of justices, and an inheritance to the house of Jacob, and the promises to Israel.
 34 He appointed to David his servant to raise up of him a most mighty king, and sitting on the throne of glory for ever.
 35 Who filleth up wisdom as the Phison, and as the Tigris in the days of the new fruits.
 36 Who maketh understanding to abound as the Euphrates, who multiplieth it as the Jordan in the time of harvest.
 37 Who sendeth knowledge as the light, and riseth up as Gehon in the time of the vintage.
 38 Who first hath perfect knowledge of her, and a weaker shall not search her out.
 39 For her thoughts are more vast than the sea, and her counsels more deep than the great ocean.
 40 I, wisdom, have poured out rivers.
 41 I, like a brook out of a river of a mighty water; I, like a channel of a river. and like an aqueduct, came out of paradise.
 42 I said: I will water my garden of plants, and I will water abundantly the fruits of my meadow.
 43 And behold my brook became a great river, and my river came near to a sea:
 44 For I make doctrine to shine forth to all as the morning light, and I will declare it afar off.
 45 I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will behold all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord.
 46 I will yet pour out doctrine as prophecy, and will leave it to them that seek wisdom, and will not cease to instruct their offspring even to the holy age.
 47 See ye that I have not laboured for myself only, but for all that seek out the truth.
[EDIT:  As Nathaniel reminds me in the comments, I'd forgotten that another part of the antiphon comes from Wisdom of Solomon.   This is a beautiful passage, too, so I'll quote a bit of it here as well:
For [wisdom] is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of his goodness.
Although she is but one, she can do all things,
and while remaining in herself, she renews all things;
in every generation she passes into holy souls
and makes them friends of God, and prophets;
for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful than the sun,
and excels every constellation of the stars.
Compared with the light she is found to be superior,
for it is succeeded by the night,
but against wisdom evil does not prevail.

She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,
and she orders all things well.

Interestingly, this last passage also shows up in at least one of the mass propers  - cannot recall at the moment if more than one - at The Feast of the Transfiguration; clearly "eternal light" has something to do with that.  In any case, at some point, I'm going to take an in-depth look at the way "Wisdom" is portrayed in the Apocrypha; it's always fascinated me.  Wisdom seems to be a persona, an aspect of God given a separate form - and a feminine one, while we're at it!   Thanks again to Nathaniel for reminding me of this.]

Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat itself, if you're inclined to listen to or sing it:




The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


The rubrics for Sapientia-tide (these next 8 days) change, according to Breviary.net; the antiphons at Lauds and Vespers are proper to this period.  If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

You can see the antiphons listed here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).   Here is a direct peek-in:





This is an "O Antiphon" page from the Poissy Antiphonal (1335-45); it's got "O Sapientia," "O Adonai," and "O Radix Jesse" - the first three "O"s:





Friday, December 13, 2013

The Advent 3 Alleluia: Excita, Domine



This rather famous text comes from Psalm (79/80), Qui Regis Israel:
 Stir up your might, O Lord, and come to save us.
 
 


It's "Gaudete" - "Rejoice!" - Sunday, so named for the first word of today's Introit, Gaudete in Domino.  The text for the Introit comes from the famous Philippians passage:
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.   Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
"Gaudete Sunday" is meant to be a day of lighter mood - "moderation" - when the "Last Things" theme of Advent gives way a bit to this calm assurance of the nearness of the Lord's presence.  The liturgical color changes from purple to pink (if a church has a pink set of vestments).

Interesting, then, that the Epistle is not that reading from Philippians!  It is a nice one, though:  James 5:7-10, and is quite similar in theme:
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

The James, BTW, is not the "Historic Lectionary" epistle either; that one came from 1 Corinthians 4.

The Gospel, Matthew 11:2-11, though, has been in use at Advent 3 for a long time - at least since the 16th Century continuously (and in every BCP, as far as I can tell):
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
`See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.'
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

And as usual, I'm thrilled at the wondrous Advent reading from Isaiah; it, too, resonates with the Gaudete theme:

Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
"Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you."
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God's people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

The collect for this week also contains the famous "stir up" text; as per the FHD and Hatchett's Commentary citations below, it has apparently  moved around the calendar quite a bit: from the Last Sunday in Advent to the Last Sunday before Advent, and ultimately back to this day (where it fits so well with this chant proper!):
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The following is from Commentary on the American Prayer Book, by Marion Hatchett:
The Gelasian sacramentary is the source for this collect which is included in the first of the propers for Advent (no. 1121), and is addressed to the Son. In the Gregorian it is changed to a prayer addressed to the Father in a proper for a Sunday, included after the provisions for a winter ember vigil (no. 805). The Gallican Bobbio missal provides it as a second prayer in the first of the three Masses for Advent (no. 38). In the Sarum missal it was appointed for the fourth Sunday in Advent. Cranmer retained it in that version with slight changes, adding the phrase "among us" and, at the end of the petition, "through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord." Revisers in 1662 added the phrase "in running the race that is set before us," and expanded "deliver us" to "help and deliver us." Cranmer's second phrase was deleted in the 1928 revision and the first of the additions of the 1662 edition has been dropped in the present revision, thus restoring the prayer to a form close to its original. The prayer echoes Psalm 80:2 and Hebrews 12:1. The one remnant of a series of four prayers which began with "excita" (stir up) used on four of the last five Sundays before Christmas in the Sarum missal, this prayer sets forth better than the others the themes of the two advents: the first in which He came in humility, and the second in which He comes in power; the first in which He came to save, and the second in which He comes to help and relieve.

The rubric following is a reminder that the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week are the traditional winter ember days, though these may now be transferred to a time related to local or diocesan occasions for ordination.

Here's Full Homely Divinity on "Stir Up Sunday" - and some of its culinary associations:
Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The traditional Collect for the Sunday next before Advent was echoed in a popular rhyme on the way home from church:
Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;
And when we get home, we'll eat the lot.

...though, technically, the agenda for the day was not eating the pudding, but making it. On the Sunday before the beginning of Advent, it has always been customary to make the Christmas pudding (a type of fruit cake) so that the flavors could blend and age properly for the pudding to be at its best when eaten at Christmas dinner. Everyone shares in the making of the pudding, taking turns stirring it (east to west, the direction the wise men traveled) and each person making a wish while taking her or his turn at stirring. Often the cake also has tokens baked into it: a coin to signify that the finder would have a prosperous year, a ring to foretell a coming marriage or a button or thimble to predict another year of bachelorhood or spinsterhood. In the full homeliest manner, the making of the pudding renews a sense that the presence and purposes of God are never far removed from quotidian life. The sweetness of the pudding is a sign that God always desires the peace and happiness of his people. The contents of the pudding are a subtle reminder of a principal object of the Christian life: the fruit of good works, referred to in the collect. Sadly, the traditional collect has been replaced in many revisions of the Book of Common Prayer, but in the Church of England it has found new life as the prayer after Communion.

With or without the traditional collect in the Church's liturgy, there is no reason why Christian families cannot continue this tradition and use the old collect at home. After all, the Christmas pudding does need to be prepared in advance if it is to rise to the occasion on which it is eaten. The traditional English Christmas pudding is a steamed plum pudding. Click here for a website with a typical recipe. The American fruit cake is a variation on the same theme. We note that fruit cake has gotten a bad reputation, due to poorly made commercial versions that are dry and tasteless. When made in advance (to a good recipe, of course) and cured with regular infusions of quality spirits (wine, brandy, or bourbon are all suitable), a fruit cake is, in our humble opinion, one of the noblest confections ever created, and easily on a par with the best plum puddings.

Here is a list of all the chant propers for Advent 3, sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines:

Hebdomada tertia adventus
Dominica
Introitus: Phil. 4, 4.5; Ps. 84 Gaudete in Domino (cum Gloria Patri)(6m13.5s - 5839 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 79, 2.3. V. 2 Qui sedes, Domine (2m24.8s - 2265 kb) score
(anno B) Io. 1, 6. V. 7 et Lc. 1, 17 Fuit homo (2m09.3s - 1011 kb)
Alleluia: Ps. 79, 3 Excita, Domine (1m58.4s - 1853 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 84, 2 Benedixisti, Domine (1m18.4s - 1226 kb) score
Communio: Cf. Is. 35, 4 Dicite: Pusillanimes (56.9s - 891 kb) score


Here are other posts on Chantblog about the propers for this day:



To celebrate the day, here's a very nice recording of Purcell's "Rejoice in the Lord Alway," sung by the Choir of King's College Cambridge:




Ant this is a fresco "in der Kirche von Gracanica, Szene" of John the Baptist from around 1235, by "Meister von Gracanica."



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