Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Seventh Day of Christmas: "King Jesus Hath a Garden"

This is one of my favorite carols of all.   It makes it into the Christmas pantheon on account of the Bethlehem reference - and the joyous, celebratory melody and text - but it's more than a simple Christmas carol, too.  It was originally a Dutch traditional carol, Heer Jesus heeft een Hofken.




English words from this page:
1. King Jesus hath a garden, full of divers flowers,
Where I go culling posies gay, all times and hours.
Refrain:
There naught is heard but Paradise bird,
Harp, dulcimer, lute,
With cymbal, trump and tymbal,
And the tender, soothing flute.
2. The Lily, white in blossom there, is Chastity:
The Violet, with sweet perfume, [Humility]. Refrain

3. The bonny Damask-rose is known as Patience:
The blithe and thrifty Marygold, Obedience. Refrain

4. The Crown Imperial bloometh too in yonder place,
'Tis Charity, of stock divine, the flower of grace. Refrain

5. Yet, 'mid the brave, the bravest prize of all may claim
The Star of Bethlem-Jesus-bless'd be his Name! Refrain

6. Ah! Jesu Lord, my heal and weal, my bliss complete,
Make thou my heart thy garden-plot, fair, trim and neat. Refrain

The notes on that same page about the carol say this:
Traditional Dutch from Geestlijcke Harmonie, Emmerich, 1633
Translation by Rev. George R. Woodward (1848-1934)
Source: George Radcliffe Woodward, ed., Songs of Syon (London: Schott & Co., Third Edition, 1908), # 430

Quite nice for such a lovely, colorful hymn to speak about virtues (or "Fruits of the Spirit"), and in such a beautiful way.

Posting this for pure enjoyment for the time being, but I'm going to see if I can find out more about the text at some point, too.....

Friday, December 25, 2015

Chistmas Day Matins: Sancta et immaculata virginitas ("Holy and spotless Virgin")

Sancta et immaculata virginitas is the sixth responsory of Christmas Matins, but as CPDL notes, it is "frequently used for Marian feasts as well."  It's sung here by Ensemble Officium:



Here's the text in Latin and English, from Divinum Officium:

R. Sancta et immaculata virginitas, quibus te laudibus efferam nescio:
* Quia quem coeli capere non poterant, tuo gremio contulisti.
V. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui.
R. Quia quem coeli capere non poterant, tuo gremio contulisti.

V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Quia quem coeli capere non poterant, tuo gremio contulisti.
R. O Mary, how holy and how spotless is thy virginity! I am too dull to praise thee!
* For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.
V. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
R. For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.

See it here, too, in the Bute translation-Winter edition of the Roman Breviary (1908).

And sure enough, you find the same text as the Responsory after the first reading of "Matins of the Virgin," at medirvalist.net's Hypertext Book of Hours.

Here's the chant score, from the Liber Usualis 1961:



This Responsory contains one of those rare extra-Biblical citations; I'm trying to find the origin of the notion that "The highest heavens cannot contain God whom you carried in your womb"; that is an old idea.  But I haven't been able to pin down the coiner of that phrase so far; will return to edit this when I do.  It's a quite beautiful thought, and one of the reasons I wanted to post on this chant today. 

[EDIT
:  This cite may belong to Augustine, who said in Sermon 184, on the Nativity:  “He who sustains the world lay in a manger, a wordless Child, yet the Word of God. Him whom the heavens do not contain the bosom of one woman bore.  She ruled our King; she carried Him in whom we exist; she fed our Bread.” And in fact, it's not totally extra-biblical anyway;  Auggie was clearly riffing on 1 Kings 8:27 (or its clone, 2 Chronicles 6:18):  "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you...." ]

Several other composers have set this text; here's Gabrieli's:




A blessed Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December 16: O Sapientia ("O Wisdom")

O Sapientia is the Antiphon upon Magnificat on December 16 (in the English Church; it's December 17 elsewhere), and the first of the eight Great "O" Antiphons sung during the week before Christmas. These antiphons are sung before and after the Magnificat at Evensong.

The antiphon is sung here in English by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir; a reading from Isaiah 9 follows:



The text for this antiphon comes from Sirach 24:
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.
Here's a version in Latin, sung I believe by the Blackfriars:



December 16 is explicitly designated "O Sapientia" in the Church Calendar of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The texts for the Great "O"s come mostly from the Prophets and from the Wisdom literature, and become mystical  proclamations, made daily during those eight days, of the coming of Christ.  The antiphons themselves are over a thousand years old.

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:




Sing the Magnificat, too, if you wish; here's the Latin version:




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.

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.

Here are links on this blog to posts on all the Great Os.  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, in addition, is a good longish article about these antiphons, and some other related ones - and this article contains a bit more historical information about the Great "O"s. 

A blessed Sapientia-tide.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Two for the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6)

This feast was displaced by Sunday this year, but here are two videos of beautiful songs in honor of St. Nicholas.  Both are sung by the ensemble Peregrina:  Kelly Landerkin, Agnieszka Budzinska-Bennett and Hanna Järveläinen.   I haven't (yet) got the words for either of these songs, but I am working on it.   So let these just be for pure enjoyment, for now.  EDIT:  Well, yes, I do, at least for Gaudeat Ecclesia.   See below.

This one is described at the YouTube page as "a three-part Benedicamus trope for St. Nicholas based on popular Clementiam-melody."



And this lovely song (Gaudeat ecclesia - "The church rejoices") is described as "a beautiful and simple rondellus from 13th century Paris to praise Saint Nicholas and his miracles."   I seem always to be attracted to French melodies!|



I found these words at Archive.org, in the book Cantiones et muteti: Lieder und Motetten des Mittelalters (1895).  Here they are, in Latin; I'll work on an English translation.
1. Gaudeat ecclesia,
Praesulis solemnia
Colens et praeconia;

Refrain
Nicolae, propera,
Nos fove, nos libera,
Purga cordis scelera.

2. Vita sancti praesulis
Claruit miraculis,
Vinctus in cunabulis.
Refrain

3. Tener in infantia
Servavit jejunia,
Non incurrit vitia.
Refrain

4. Hic tribus virginibus
Opibus carentibus
Subvenit muneribus.
Refrain

5. Ergo festum colite,
Laudes Deo dicite,
Deo benedicite.
Nicolae, propera,
Nos ama, nos libera,
Purga cordis scelera.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

A Lauds antiphon for Advent: Ecce Dominus veniet ("Behold the Lord comes")

Ecce Dominus veniet ("Behold the Lord comes") is a Psalm antiphon at Lauds on the First Sunday of Advent.



 These are the words, from CPDL:
Ecce dominus veniet et omnes sancti ejus cum eo
et erit in die illa lux magna alleluia.


Behold, the Lord comes and all his saints with him
and on that day there will be great light, alleluia.

(The Psalm verses sung here come from Psalm 148:
1  Alleluja. Laudate Dominum de caelis; laudate eum in excelsis.
2  Laudate eum, omnes angeli ejus; laudate eum, omnes virtutes ejus.)

So here's a clear example of a text referring to the Second Coming, as was (and still is) the theme in late Pentecost (or Trinity) and early Advent.   The footnote at the Roman Breviary (1879) says that the text comes from Zechariah 14:5-6 - and that's this:
5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.

Intriguing to see that the text of the antiphon reverses the second verse of the citation!  I love it when that happens.  Although I should point out, too, that a footnote at verse six notes that "Compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain."  And that verse 7 goes on to say:
And there shall be a unique[b] day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.

So perhaps it doesn't actually count as a "reversal."  It's an odd text  in any case.

It's interesting to look at the other 4 Psalm antiphons for this day, too.  Here are all 5, which show up various arrangements of order in the manuscripts below:
1.  In illa die * stillabunt montes dulcedinem, et colles fluent lac et mel, alleluia.

2.  Iucundare * filia Sion, et exsulta satis filia Ierusalem, alleluia.

3.  Ecce Dominus veniet, * et omnes Sancti eius cum eo et erit in die illa lux magna, alleluia.

4.  Omnes sitientes * venite ad aquas quaerite Dominum, dum inveniri potest, alleluia.

5.  Ecce veniet * Propheta magnus, et ipse renovabit Ierusalem, alleluia.

1.  In that day * the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey. Alleluia.

2. Sing, O daughter of Zion, * and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. Alleluia.
3.  Behold, the LORD shall come, * and all His saints with Him ; and it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall be great. Alleluia.

4.  Ho, every one that thirsteth * come ye to the waters : seek ye the LORD while He may be found. Alleluia.

5.  Behold, a great Prophet * shall arise, and He shall build up a new Jerusalem. Alleluia.

These texts are all taken from the various Prophets of Advent:  Zechariah, Joel, Isaiah.  And they all do allude to both the First and Second Coming; that's one of the great things about Advent, to me:  it's not just one thing - and it's cosmic in a way that no other season really is.

At Cantus database, I've found some good, clear instances of Ecce Dominus veniet; it's quite easy to read and follow along with the scores.  You'll see that this melody is indeed the same as what's on the video, and is quite consistent between the manuscripts, too.   The antiphons all start with a highly decorated, larger capital letter, often in another color.



For instance, here's a page from a Fourteenth-century antiphoner from Klosterneuburg, Austria, used at the Augustiner-ChorherrenstiftEcce Dominus veniet is the 4th Lauds antiphon:


This one comes from the same monastery, but is 200 years earlier ("Twelfth-century antiphoner from Klosterneuburg, Austria").  Interesting to note the difference in musical notation styles!  This is the old style chant notation:



This one's from the Antiphonarium Benedictinum (1400), which comes from the Abbey of Sankt Lambrecht (Steiermark, Austria); here, Ecce Dominus veniet is the 3rd Lauds antiphon.



And this last one is from Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek / Codex 611(89) / f. 3r. ("14th-century antiphoner from the monastery of Einsiedeln, Switzerland.")  Ecce Dominus veniet was the 3rd Lauds antiphon at this monastery, too.



One of the interesting things, to me, about this text is that it shows up again, as the 2nd Responsory at Matins on Advent 2 - but includes another interesting bit of content:
R. Ecce Dominus veniet, et omnes Sancti ejus cum eo, et erit in die illa lux magna: et exibunt de Jerusalem sicut aqua munda: et regnabit Dominus in aeternum
* Super omnes gentes.
V. Ecce Dominus cum virtute veniet: et regnum in manu ejus, et potestas, et imperium.
R. Super omnes gentes.


R. Behold, the Lord shall come, and all His saints with Him, and it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall be great; and they shall go out from Jerusalem like clean water; and the Lord shall be King for ever,
* Over all the earth.
V. Behold, the Lord cometh with an host, and in His hand are the kingdom, and power, and dominion.
R. Over all the earth.

Recall that  Advent 2 is notable for its inclusion of references to Jerusalem, something I talked about last year.    Dom Dominic Johner points out, in his Chants of the Vatican Gradual, that:
[On Advent 2] the Introit, Gradual, and Communion speak of Sion, i.e., of Jerusalem.  The Alleluia-verse also alludes to this.  For at Rome the principal service was held in the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, close to the Lateran.  It was a royal palace; now it shelters a most venerable relic of the holy cross.  Our present Sion is the Catholic Church.  It is also our individual soul, and likewise the church building in which we look for the Redeemer today.  Here it is that we are being prepared for the heavenly Sion.

And so we have a preview of that emphasis on Sion at Matins by the addition of the extra text to the previous Sunday's Lauds antiphon, Ecce Dominus veniet
Behold, the Lord comes and all his saints with him
and on that day there will be great light, alleluia.

And shall go out from Jerusalem, like pure water.
And the Lord shall reign for ever over all the nations.

The reference to "pure water" is another bit of text from Zechariah 14 - this time, from verse 8:
On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.

(Revelation 22:1 picks up the theme later on, too:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb....)


I wish I had a sound file of this Responsory, but alas - I don't.  My plan going forward is to create files in MuseScore and post them, though; it'll be electronic music and without words, but at least we'll get the sense of how the chants sounded.

But Hieronymus Praetorius set this text, and I can post a video of that piece:




Here are all the mass propers for Advent 2, from ChristusRex.org and sung by the monks of St. Benedict's Monastery, Sao Paulo, Brazil:


Hebdomada secunda adventus
Dominica
Introitus: Cf. Is. 30, 19.30; Ps. 79 Populus Sion (3m15.8s - 3061 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 40, 2.3. V. 5 Ex Sion (2m50.7s - 2675 kb) score
Alleluia: Ps. 121, 1 Lætatus sum (2m11.2s - 2057 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 84, 7.8 Deus, tu convertens (2m01.6s - 1901 kb) score
Communio: Bar. 5, 5; 4, 36 Ierusalem, surge cum Ps. 147, 12.13 (1m56.7s - 1825 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog for the Advent 2 Propers:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Aspiciens a longe ("I look from afar")

Aspiciens a longe is the First Mattins Responsory for the first Sunday in Advent.   Here's a beautiful chant version sung by "Ensemble Officium."



Here are the words, in Latin and English, from the CPDL page about this piece:
Use of Sarum, Latin text

R Aspiciens a longe,
ecce video Dei potentiam venientem:
et nebulam totam terram regentem.
† Ite obviam ei et dicite
‡ nuncia nobis si tu es ipse
†† qui regnaturus es
‡‡ in populo Israel.
V Quique terrigene et filii hominum: simul in unum dives et pauper. †
V Qui regis Israel intende: qui deducis velut ovem Joseph. ‡
V Excita Domine Potentiam tuam et veni: ut salvos factias nos. ††
V Gloria Patri et Filio: et Spiritui Sancto. ‡‡ R
 
As used in Carols for Choirs 2, English text
R I look from afar:
and lo, I see the power of God coming,
and a cloud covering the whole earth.
† Go ye out to meet him and say:
‡ Tell us, art thou he that should come
†† to reign over thy people Israel?
V High and low, rich and poor, one with another. †
V Hear, O thou shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. ‡
V Stir up thy strength, O Lord, and come. ††
V Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R


Here's another chant recording, sung by the "Choeur des Moniales cisterciennes de Boulaur et Rieunette."   It's also quite beautiful:




This is "a setting in English, based on a Nunc dimittis by Palestrina," sung by the Choir of Kings' College Cambridge.  It's quite well-known and is used by many Anglican and Episcopal churches on the first Sunday in Advent:



Again, here are the words in Latin and English from that page:
Use of Sarum, Latin text

R Aspiciens a longe,
ecce video Dei potentiam venientem:
et nebulam totam terram regentem.
† Ite obviam ei et dicite
‡ nuncia nobis si tu es ipse
†† qui regnaturus es
‡‡ in populo Israel.
V Quique terrigene et filii hominum: simul in unum dives et pauper. †
V Qui regis Israel intende: qui deducis velut ovem Joseph. ‡
V Excita Domine Potentiam tuam et veni: ut salvos factias nos. ††
V Gloria Patri et Filio: et Spiritui Sancto. ‡‡ R
 
As used in Carols for Choirs 2, English text
R I look from afar:
and lo, I see the power of God coming,
and a cloud covering the whole earth.
† Go ye out to meet him and say:
‡ Tell us, art thou he that should come
†† to reign over thy people Israel?
V High and low, rich and poor, one with another. †
V Hear, O thou shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. ‡
V Stir up thy strength, O Lord, and come. ††
V Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R

Here's some stuff of interest from the Wikipedia entry for Responsory:
The most general definition of a responsory is any psalm, canticle, or other sacred musical work sung responsorially, that is, with a cantor or small group singing verses while the whole choir or congregation respond with a refrain. However, this article focuses on those chants of the western Christian tradition that have traditionally been designated by the term responsory. In the Roman Rite and rites strongly influenced by it, such as the pre-reformation English rite and the monastic rite of the Rule of St. Benedict, these chants ordinarily follow readings[1]:61[2] at services of the Divine Office (also called the Liturgy of the Hours); however, they have also been used as processional chants.[1]:91
A responsory has two parts: a respond (or refrain), and a verse.[3]:181–182,331 Methods of performance vary, but typically the respond will be begun by the cantor then taken up by the entire choir. The verse is then sung by a cantor or a small group; or the verse can be begun by the cantor and continued by the entire choir.[3]:196–198 The chant concludes with a repetition of all or part of the respond. Sometimes the second repetition of the respond is followed by a half-doxology, Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sung by the cantor, followed in turn by a third repetition of all or part of the respond.

That same article elaborates on Aspiciens a longe, as well:
Most responsories have a single verse, but a few have multiple verses.[3]:184–185 One of the most famous of the latter is the responsory Aspiciens a longe, sung on the first Sunday of Advent after the first reading in the night office of the Latin secular (non-monastic) rite. The version that was sung in the medieval rite of Salisbury cathedral was worded as follows:[5]

Respond: Aspiciens a longe et ecce video Dei potentiam venientem et nebulam totam terram tegentem. Ite obviam ei et dicite, Nuntia nobis si tu es ipse qui regnaturus es in populo Israel. (I look from afar, and behold I see the power of God coming, and a cloud covering the whole earth. Go out to meet him and say, tell us if you are the one who is to reign over the people of Israel.)

1st verse (sung by a boy) Quique terrigenae et filii hominum simul in unum dives et pauper (Whoever are earth-born, the sons of men, together in one rich and poor)
Partial respond (sung by the choir) Ite obviam ei et dicite, Nuntia nobis si tu es ipse qui regnaturus es in populo Israel. (Go out to meet him and say, tell us if you are the one who is to reign over the people of Israel.)

2nd verse (sung by a boy) Qui regis Israel intende, qui deducis velut ovem Joseph (Hear, O shepherd of Israel, who leadest Joseph like a sheep)
Partial respond (sung by the choir) Nuntia nobis si tu es ipse qui regnaturus es in populo Israel. (Tell us if you are the one who is to reign over the people of Israel.)

3rd verse (sung by a boy) Excita Domine potentiam tuam et veni ut salvos facias nos (Stir up your power O Lord and come that you may save us)
Partial respond (sung by the choir) Qui regnaturus es in populo Israel. (O you who are to reign over the people of Israel.)

Half-doxology (sung by all three boys) Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto (Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost)
Partial respond (sung by the choir) In populo Israel. (In the people of Israel.)

The three boys then sang Aspiciens a longe whereupon the choir took up the full respond: et ecce video Dei potentian venientem et nebulam totam terram tegentem. Ite obviam ei et dicite, Nuntia nobis si tu es ipse qui regnaturus es in populo Israel. (I look from afar, and behold I see the power of God coming, and a cloud covering the whole earth. Go out to meet him and say, tell us if you are the one who is to reign over the people of Israel.)

This responsory, Aspiciens a longe, has become familiar in the English-speaking world in an arrangement published in the second volume of Carols for Choirs edited by David Willcocks and John Rutter,[6] where it is given the title "Matin Responsory", and is set to music adapted from a setting by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina of the Nunc dimittis (free score of the Nunc dimittis here on CPDL) - and not of the Magnificat as stated by the editors. The structure of the Willcocks/Rutter arrangement, however, differs somewhat from what is shown above since it does not repeat the refrain after each verse in the traditional English way. For example, in the traditional English form (shown above) after the first verse, the choir sings all the words of the refrain from ite obviam ei to the end. In the Willcocks/Rutter arrangement, on the other hand, after the first verse the choir sings (in English translation) only the portion of the refrain corresponding to the Latin words ite obviam ei et dicite.


And this is from the services of Mattins itself for the first Sunday in Advent, and from the "Trident 1570" version at Divinum Officium:
R. Aspíciens a longe, ecce video Dei poténtiam veniéntem, et nébulam totam terram tegéntem. * Ite obviam ei, et dícite: * Núntia nobis, si tu es ipse, * Qui regnatúrus es in pópulo Israël.
V. Quique terrígenæ, et fílii hóminum, simul in unum dives et pauper. Ite obviam et, et dícite.
V. Qui regis Israël, inténde, qui dedúcis velut ovem Joseph. Núntia nobis, si tu es ipse.
V. Tóllite portas, príncipes, vestras, et elevámini portæ æternáles, et introíbit Rex glóriæ. Qui regnatúrus es in pópulo Israël.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Aspíciens a longe, ecce video Dei poténtiam veniéntem, et nébulam totam terram tegéntem. * Ite obviam ei, et dícite: * Núntia nobis, si tu es ipse, * Qui regnatúrus es in pópulo Israël.


 R. I look from afar, and behold I see the Power of God, coming like as a cloud to cover the land with the hosts of his People: * Go ye out to meet him and say: * Tell us if thou art he, * That shalt reign over God's people Israel.
V. All ye that dwell in the world, all ye children of men, high and low, rich and poor, one with another. Go ye out to meet him and say.
V. Hear, O thou Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. Tell us if thou art he.
V. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. That shalt reign over God's people Israel.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I look from afar, and behold I see the Power of God, coming like as a cloud to cover the land with the hosts of his People: * Go ye out to meet him and say: * Tell us if thou art he, * That shalt reign over God's people Israel.

I haven't found a chant score for this so far; still looking.  EDIT:  I did finally find it, in the Liber Hymnarius:



Here are all the mass chants for the day, from ChristusRex.org:

Hebdomada Prima Adventus
Dominica
Introitus: Ps. 24, 1-4 Ad te levavi (3m29.7s - 3275 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 24, 3. V. 4 Universi, qui te exspectant (2m00.6s - 1887 kb) score
Alleluia: Ps. 84, 8 Ostende nobis (2m41.5s - 2525 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 24, 1-3 Ad te, Domine, levavi (1m41.0s - 1579 kb) score
Communio: Ps. 84, 13 Dominus dabit benignitatem (51.2s - 801 kb) score

And these are posts on Chantblog for the Advent 1 propers:
Blessed Advent to all!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Introit for the Solemnity of Christ the King: Dignus Est Agnus ("Worthy is the Lamb")

Sung here by the Schola of the Vienna Hofburgkapelle:




The text is taken from Revelation 5, vv 12, 1, and 6; the Psalm verse comes from Psalm (71/)72.  Here's the Latin and an English translation:
Dignus est Agnus,
qui occísus est accípere virtútem,
et divinitátem, et sapiéntiam, et fortitúdinem, et honórem. 
Ipsi glória et impérium in saécula saeculórum.   
Ps:  Déus, judícium túum Régida: et justítiam túam Fílio Régis.


The Lamb that was slain
is worthy to receive power
and divinity and wisdom and strength and honour;
to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. 
Ps:  Give to the King, O God, Thy justice, and to the King's Son Thy judgment.

Here's the chant score:




I'm interested to know where this chant has come from, since Christ the King is a new feast day, instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI  in his encyclical Quas primas.   Will investigate a bit and return to post what I find.

Although Anglicans do not officially celebrate the Feast of Christ the King this Sunday (on our Calendar, it's simply "The Last Sunday After Pentecost"), many of us do observe it anyway - and the Collect for the day is a breathtakingly beautiful and Kingly one:
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
And the readings for today, Year B in the 3-year Calendar, are absolutely wonderful - kingly, too, and spooky and apocalyptic (as befits this time of year): 
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
and an Ancient One took his throne,
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
and its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.
To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed. 

Psalm 93     Page 722, BCP
Dominus regnavit


1 The LORD is King;
he has put on splendid apparel; *
the LORD has put on his apparel
and girded himself with strength.

2 He has made the whole world so sure *
that it cannot be moved;

3 Ever since the world began, your throne has been established; *
you are from everlasting. \

4 The waters have lifted up, O LORD,
the waters have lifted up their voice; *
the waters have lifted up their pounding waves.

5 Mightier than the sound of many waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea, *
mightier is the LORD who dwells on high.

6 Your testimonies are very sure, *
and holiness adorns your house, O LORD,
for ever and for evermore.


Revelation 1:4b-8


Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."


John 18:33-37

Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

(It's not really so strange, then, that this Sunday - the last before Advent - has been referred to in the Evangelical Church of Sweden as "the Sunday of Doom"!)

There is no set of historic lectionary readings for today, because this is a new feast.  However, according to this page, the historic Lutheran lectionary for today ("the last Sunday") consists of these readings, which are mostly about the Last Things as well:  Isaiah's "New Creation," Thessalonians 5 ("For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night."), and the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids.   (It appears that the old Catholic and Anglican lectionaries did not provide for "the Last Sunday," but merely used the readings for the appropriate Sunday After Trinity.  I must say I like the Lutheran and current "Christ the King Sunday" arrangement better.)

Because truly, this is one of my favorite Sundays of the year.  Here's the opening hymn we had today:



That video is from an Eastertide Service in Wales; we naturally didn't have a cast of thousands or cymbals or a trumpet section this morning. But take a look at these words for an idea of how really great this hymn is:
1 Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own;
awake, my soul, and sing of him
who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.

2 Crown him the Son of God
before the worlds began,
and ye, who tread where he hath trod,
crown him the Son of man;
who every grief hath known
that wrings the human breast,
and takes and bears them for his own,
that all in him may rest.

3 Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed over the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save;
his glories now we sing,
who died, and rose on high,
who died, eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.

4 Crown him of lords the Lord,
who over all doth reign,
who once on earth, the incarnate Word,
for ransomed sinners slain,
now lives in realms of light,
where saints with angels sing
their songs before him day and night,
their God, Redeemer, King.

5 Crown him the Lord of heaven,
enthroned in worlds above;
crown him the King,to whom is given,
the wondrous name of Love.
Crown him with many crowns,
as thrones before him fall,
crown him, ye kings, with many crowns,
for he is King of all.

We had two other great Kingly hymns, today, too - one I'd never heard before.  Will come back later to post on them.

Here's a list of all the chant propers for this day, from ChristusRex.org:


Sollemnitatis
Domini Nostri Iesu Christi
Universorum Regis
Introitus: Apoc. 5, 12 et 1, 6; Ps. 71 Dignus est Agnus (3m34.5s - 3355 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 71, 8. V. 11 Dominabitur (2m33.3s - 2399 kb) score
Alleluia: Dan. 7, 14 Potestas eius (3m10.7s - 2983 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 2, 8 Postula a me (1m20.3s - 1259 kb) score
Communio:
                   (anno A) Mt. 25, 40.34 Amen dico vobis: quod uni (not yet available)
                    Ps. 28, 10b.11b Sedebit Dominus (43.5s - 683 kb) score

 Other Chantblog posts for this day include:

Here's "Worthy is the Lamb" and "Amen" - the last two movements - from Handel's Messiah:




This is the central figure from Van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece:







Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kyrie: Rex immense, Pater Pie

This Kyrie trope/motet comes from the Codex Calixtinus (or, as some call it - and more accurately, too! -  the Liber Sancti Jacobi).   This video comes from the Budapest Schola Cantorum; here's the information about it that they posted at the YouTube page:
Budapesti Énekes Iskola / Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis
Művészeti vezetők / Artistic directors: János MEZEI, Tamás BUBNÓ

Kyrie "Rex immensae" for two voice, from Codex Callixtinus

From the photos I've seen, the Schola appears to be a mixed choir of male and female voices, both young and older.  Very nice! 



Here are the words they are singing; I found them in a German Google book.  Interestingly, there is a bit of Greek mixed with the Latin text.

              Kyrie.
Fulbertus episcopus de sancto Jacobo.

 Rex immense, pater pie,
        eleison,
 Kyrie, eleìson,
 Palmo cuncta qui concludis,
        eleison,
         Kyrie, eleison,
  Sother, theos athanatos,
        eleison,
         Kyrie, eleison.

 Christe, fili patris summi,
      eleison,
        Christe, eleisou,
Qui de coelis descendisti,
      eleìson,
        Christe, eleison,
Tuum plasma redemisti,
      eleìson,
        Christe, eleison.

Consolator, dulcis amor,
      eleison,
        Kyrie, eleison,
Qui Jacobum illustraSti,
      eleison,
        Kyrie, eleison,
Cujus prece nobis parce,
      eleison,
        Kyrie, eleison.


Great King, gentle father,
        have mercy,
      Lord have mercy,
 You hold all things in your hand,
        have mercy,
      Lord have mercy,
  Savior, immortal God,
        have mercy,
      Lord have mercy.


 Christ, Son of the Most High,
        have mercy,
      Christ have mercy,
He came down from heaven,     
       have mercy,
     Christ have mercy,
You have redeemed your creatures,
      have mercy,
    Christ have mercy.


Comforter, sweet love,
      have mercy,
    Lord have mercy,
You are illumined by James,
      have mercy,
    Lord have mercy,
By his prayer spare us,
      have mercy ,
    Lord have mercy.


The words are also here, at a Wikisource site about the Codex Calixtinus; there are some misspellings there, though.

This Kyrie is apparently contained in in an appendix to the Codex.   (I have not been able to find a full digital copy of this manuscript online so far, so this is just an assumption on my part.)   A note at this page says (in reference to the organum included in the Codex) that:
It is possible that the Benedictines of Cluny (France) assembled this collection from various sources and presented it to the Cathedral of Santiago.  The concluding appendix to the codex contains 20 polyphonic pieces and one more appears in the main body of the codex.

Kyrie: Rex Immense is a trope on the Mass 12 (Pater cuncta) Kyrie.  A trope is a musical composition in which something new - either music or text, or both - added to an original chant.

In most cases, the original chant - the Kyrie, in this case - became melismatic (ornate in melody) over time; that is, musical ornament was, over the course of years, added to a simple Kyrie eleison chant.    (The ornament here is in the wandering melody of the "Kyrie" and "Christe" sections.)

Later on (or at the same time), words were written to the melodic ornament on the simple chant; the words - and perhaps the melody? - for this particular Kyrie are apparently attributed to Bishop Fulbert of Chartres.  Fulbert actually lived from the middle of the tenth century until 1028, two full centuries before the era of the Liber Sancti Jacobi (12th Century), so this attribution may not be accurate - although Fulbert was a hymn-writer.  (One of his compositions was the familiar Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem.)

(Just to note:  Mass 12 may originally have been known as Mass 13; I'm finding several references that may indicate this.)

Here's the Mass 12 Kyrie itself:



Here's a score:

Here's a page at DIAMM with some information about the LSJ - although, again, no images of the manuscript itself.  (You can apparently see a few images at this Wikipedia page, though.  I'm not sure where these are coming from.)  This Kyrie is listed as piece #16, folio 189.  (Which is, perhaps, otherwise known as folio 218!  Really, I have no idea, since I can't see what's going on.)

In this video, you can see and hear the original chant, as well as the trope; listen for the complete "Kyrie eleison" and "Christe eleison" chants.  These are included in the words I cited above, but are left out in the video above.




And another, similar interpretation (to start with, anyway!), from Ensemble Nu:n, a favorite group of mine.   They mix medieval chant and jazz improvisation, always to interesting effect.  How could I not like them?




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For the Feast of St. Martin of Tours: Ecce Sacerdos Magnus ("Behold the Great Priest")

Today is the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, and this is the beautiful Gradual at the Mass for Feasts of Confessor Bishops:



These are the words for the Gradual:
Ecce sacerdos magnus, qui in diebus suis, placuit Deo;
Non est inventus similis illi, qui conservaret legem excelsi.

Behold the great priest, who in his days, pleased God;
No one has been found to be like him in the keeping of the laws of the Most High.


Here's the chant score:



Ecce Sacerdos Magnus is or can be used several times on these Feast days:  it's a "Responsory for the reception of a Bishop"; it's, as here, the Gradual at the mass; and it's the first Psalm antiphon at 2nd Vespers.   For each of these, a different text is used.

The odd thing, to me, is that the Mass Epistle reading is given as Ecce sacerdos magnus, too, noted as taken from "Ecclesiasticus 44:16-27; 45:3-20."  I've seen this not only at Divinum Officium, but in several other places as well - including the Liber Usualis.    The only problem is that, as far as I can tell, the reading itself takes extreme liberties with the actual verses from Scripture!


Here's Divinum Officium, 11-11-2015, Rubrics 1960 for the Sancta Missa:
Lectio
Léctio libri Sapiéntiæ.
Eccli 44:16-27; 45:3-20
Ecce sacérdos magnus, qui in diébus suis plácuit Deo, et invéntus est iustus: et in témpore iracúndiæ factus est reconciliátio. Non est inventus símilis illi, qui conservávit legem Excélsi. Ideo iureiurándo fecit illum Dóminus créscere in plebem suam. Benedictiónem ómnium géntium dedit illi, et testaméntum suum confirmávit super caput eius. Agnóvit eum in benedictiónibus suis: conservávit illi misericórdiam suam: et invénit grátiam coram óculis Dómini. Magnificávit eum in conspéctu regum: et dedit illi corónam glóriæ. Státuit illi testaméntum ætérnum, et dedit illi sacerdótium magnum: et beatificávit illum in glória. Fungi sacerdótio, et habére laudem in nómine ipsíus, et offérre illi incénsum dignum in odórem suavitátis.
R. Deo gratias.

Lesson
Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus
Sir 44:16-27: 45:3-20
Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was not found the like to him, who kept the law of the Most High. Therefore, by an oath, the Lord made him to increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood; and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in His name, and to offer Him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.
R. Thanks be to God.

And here are those actual verses taken directly from the Douay-Rheims:
[16] Henoch pleased God, and was translated into paradise, that he may give repentance to the nations. [17] Noe was found perfect, just, and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. [18] Therefore was there a remnant left to the earth, when the flood came. [19] The covenants of the world were made with him, that all flesh should no more be destroyed with the flood. [20] Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations, and there was not found the like to him in glory, who kept the law of the most High, and was in covenant with him.
[21] In his flesh he established the covenant, and in temptation he was found faithful. [22] Therefore by an oath he gave him glory in his posterity, that he should increase as the dust of the earth, [23] And that he would exalt his seed as the stars, and they should inherit from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. [24] And he did in like manner with Isaac for the sake of Abraham his father. [25] The Lord gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed his covenant upon the head of Jacob.
[26] He acknowledged him in his blessings, and gave him an inheritance, and divided him his portion in twelve tribes. [27] And he preserved for him men of mercy, that found grace in the eyes of all flesh.

[3] He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and shewed him his glory. [4] He sanctified him in his faith, and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh. [5] For he heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud.
[6] And he gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction, that he might teach Jacob his covenant, and Israel his judgments. [7] He exalted Aaron his brother, and like to himself of the tribe of Levi: [8] He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him the priesthood of the nation, and made him blessed in glory, [9] And he girded him about with a glorious girdle, and clothed him with a robe of glory, and crowned him with majestic attire. [10] He put upon him a garment to the feet, and breeches, and as ephod, and he compassed him with many little bells of gold all round about,
[11] That as he went there might be a sound, and a noise made that might be heard in the temple, for a memorial to the children of his people. [12] He gave him a holy robe of gold, and blue, and purple, a woven work of a wise man, endued with judgment and truth: [13] Of twisted scarlet the work of an artist, with precious stones cut and set in gold, and graven by the work of a lapidary for a memorial, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. [14] And a crown of gold upon his mitre wherein was engraved Holiness, an ornament of honour: a work of power, and delightful to the eyes for its beauty. [15] Before him there were none so beautiful, even from the beginning.
[16] No stranger was ever clothed with them, but only his children alone, and his grandchildren for ever. [17] His sacrifices were consumed with fire every day. [18] Moses filled his hands and anointed him with holy oil. [19] This was made to him for an everlasting testament, and to his seed as the days of heaven, to execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise, and to glorify his people in his name. [20] He chose him out of all men living, to offer sacrifice to God, incense, and a good savour, for a memorial to make reconciliation for his people:

Truly strange!  This oddity goes back awhile, too; I found the same thing in the Tridentine Sancta Missa.  I have no explanation at all for this; will post again here if I find one!


Many composers have set Ecce Sacerdos Magnus; here's Bruckner's setting (he's using the text from the Responsory):




The words here are:
Ecce sacerdos magnus, qui in diébus suis plácuit Deo: Ideo jure jurando fecit illum Dóminus crescere in plebem suam.

Benedictiónem ómnium géntium dedit illi, et testaméntum suum confirmávit super caput ejus. Ideo jure jurando fecit illum Dóminus crescere in plebem suam.

Gloria patri et filio et spiritui sancto. . .


Behold a great priest who in his days pleased God: Therefore by an oath the Lord made him to increase among his people.

To him He gave the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. Therefore by an oath the Lord made him to increase among his people.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. . .

You can read at Wikipedia for more about Martin of Tours.  But I'll quote a bit from Full Homely Divinity's "Saints of Advent" page:
St. Martin was born about 316 in Pannonia (modern Hungary). At the age of 10 he became a catechumen and at 15 he joined the army, serving under the emperors Constantius and Julian. The most famous story about Martin tells how on a cold day he met a beggar who asked for alms. Having nothing else to give, Martin drew his sword and cut his cloak in two, giving half to the beggar. Christ appeared to him in a dream the following night, clothed in half a cloak, and said, "Martin, the catechumen, has clothed me with this mantle!" At the age of 18, he was baptized and wished to leave the military, but stayed for two more years at the request of his commander. Following a successful campaign against the Teutons, he went before the emperor who was distributing rewards to his men. Martin, however, declined the bounty and asked instead that he be released from military service. He said, "Up to now, I have served you as a soldier; allow me henceforth to serve Christ. Give the bounty to these others who are going out to battle. I am a soldier of Christ and it is not lawful for me to fight." Julian accused him of cowardice and imprisoned him for a time. When he was released, Martin sought out the saintly Bishop Hilary of Poitiers, under whose direction Martin lived a solitary life for a time, until he was joined by others and founded a Benedictine monastery at Ligugé.

Martin became famous for his holiness of life, his preaching, and for his gifts of healing and spiritual discernment. People often sought him out for help and when the bishop of Tours died, they chose Martin to be their new bishop. He declined the honor and responsibility and hid from the people when they came looking for him. However, a goose revealed his whereabouts with her honking and Martin was unable to resist the will of the Church that he become a bishop. The goose is one of Martin's symbols. It is also a popular food on his feast day. Martinmas is the last day before the traditional 40 day fast before Christmas (St. Martin's Lent). The new wine is usually ready to drink on Martinmas, which is also the traditional day for slaughtering livestock for the winter, so it is a kind of harvest festival and a late fall Mardi Gras all rolled into one.

St. Martin was an exemplary bishop, and much loved by his people. He visited every church in his diocese once a year and founded several more religious communities, including the monastery of Marmoutier near Tours, where he lived with 80 monks. He lived to the great old age of 81 and was so renowned that he came to be known as the "Glory of Gaul." The hymn Iste confessor was composed in honor of St. Martin in the eighth century, and was later appointed to be sung as the Office Hymn on the feasts of confessors. Click here for an English translation by Laurence Housman, set to a metrical tune.

For a modern observance of the feast, this would be a good day to sort through drawers and closets to gather good used clothing that could be donated to a local ministry to the needy, or to a thrift shop. Contributions to a food pantry or soup kitchen would be in order, as well. In many communities in the U.S., churches or other service organizations provide a free Thanksgiving dinner to any and all. Martinmas would be a good day to find out if there is such a meal served in your community and to sign up to help or to contribute money or food to the effort. If you are keeping St. Martin's Day at home, roast goose and a bottle of this year's Nouveau Beaujolais might top the menu, especially if you will be starting the St. Martin's Lent fast the next day.

This comes from the site AllesGerman:
St. Martin’s Day or Martinstag is one of the most popular saint’s days in Germany, particularly celebrated by children and young people.

Martin of Tours was born in the 4th Century and started out as a Roman soldier, later becoming a monk, and because of his exemplary way of life was later appointed Bishop of Tours. Many legends surround his life, the most famous of which tells how he cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar who was dying in the cold.

Taking place on November 11th, the day is particularly popular with children, with many German schools celebrating the life of the Saint through reenactments and plays. Later in the evening children carry candle-lit lanterns (usually homemade) and sing “lantern songs” in celebration of St. Martin’s Day, as they walk around the streets in a procession after darkness falls. The procession often ends with a bonfire after which they may go from door to door singing songs. Much like trick or treating in the USA, the children are given gingerbread men, money and other goodies as a reward for their singing and the beauty of their homemade or purchased lanterns.

One of the most popular St. Martin’s Day children songs is “Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne” or “I walk with my lantern”:

“Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne
Und meine Laterne mit mir.
Dort oben leuchten die Sterne,
Hier unten, da leuchten wir.
Mein Licht ist aus,
Wir geh’n nach Haus,
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.

English Translation

I walk with my lantern
And my lantern goes with me.
Up above the stars are glowing,
And glowing, too, are we.
My light is out,
We’re going home,
Rabimmel, rabammel, rabum.”



Here is an image, from the same site, of German kids with their lanterns:




Here's a colorful painting called "St. Martin and the Beggar"; Wikipedia says that it's from an "Unknown Master, Hungarian (active around 1490)."  The painting hangs in the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest.   As in almost every representation of the saint, Martin is cutting his cloak in two, to give half to the beggar, as described above.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Offertory for the Feast of All Saints: Justorum animae ("The souls of the righteous")

Justorum animae is the Offertory for the Feast of All Saints - one of my favorite feast days of the year.  And as with so much else on this day, the chant is beautiful:



(Not sure who the singers are there; there's nothing at the YouTube page about them.)

The words, too, are very beautiful; they come from Wisdom 3:1-2a, 3b:
Justorum animae in manu Dei sunt,
et non tanget illos tormentum mortis.
Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori,
illi autem sunt in pace.


The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and the torment of death shall not touch them.
In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die;
but they are in peace.

Translation by St Ann choir

Here's the chant score:





In his Chants of the Vatican Gradual (1934), Dom Dominic Johner points out that this melody was, in the Tridentine mass, also used for the Offertory for the Feast of St. Michael, Stetit Angelus ("An angel stood near the altar of the temple").  In his explication of Stetit Angelus, Johner discusses the melody in detail, and finally notes that:
This melody is also sung on the feast of All Saints to the text Justorum Animae, and, with the same text, in the third Mass for several Martyrs; likewise in the Mass for Deliverance in Time of Pestilence to the text Stetit pontifex, and its first half on the feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome (January 18) to the text Tu es Petrus. In some places it is sung on the feast of St. Vincent de Paul (July 19) to the text Inclinet.
In his discussion of this proper, Justorum Animae, John says:
The melody was explained on the feast of St. Michael. The happy  adaptation of this text was accomplished in the twelfth century. We are  tempted to ask why the small word autem was favored with such florid  neums. In the original we find them over ascendit, which easily lends  itself to tone-painting. But we must take into consideration not so much  the word as the entire thought. This part, with its jubilant melody,  forms a magnificent contrast to mori ("to die") with its low pitch in the  preceding phrase. Individually, the phrases, according to their text, are  shorter than those of the original. This might explain the omission of  the descent to the fourth below the tonic which we find there at the end  of the second, third, and fourth phrases.  
"The priest offers up pure sacrificial gifts in the sight of God. With  these gifts also the earthly sufferings and heavenly joys of the saints  ascend to the throne of God. A most mysterious and most intimate connection is thus forged between their lives and the life and death of  Christ. Their lives are woven into His sacrifice, and together with the  Eucharistic Sacrifice they are immolated to God. The singer recognizes  this; he would also have his song ascend to heaven bright and clear as  the clouds of incense which he sees rising from the altar" (C. 0., 50, 151).

Orlando di Lasso wrote a beautiful setting for this proper:

 

Surprisingly, to me at least, Camille Saint-Saens set it, too; that piece doesn't seem to be online, though.  Gabriel Jackson's beautiful setting is, though; lucky for us!



The YouTube page says, about the video above, that it's:
A recording of a live television broadcast on the 3rd of November 2013. Sung by the Cappella Nicolai, conducted by Michael Hedley.

http://www.cappellanicolai.nl http://www.muziekindenicolaas.nl

That's a Dutch choir, evidently.

Gabriel Jackson seems to enjoy writing settings for some of the old chant propers (for instance, see his setting of the Advent Sequence, Salus Aeterna), so I'm always interested when I discover another. 

Here are mp3 files for all the propers on the day, from ChristusRex.org:

Die 1 novembris
Omnium Sanctorum
Introitus: Ps. 32 Gaudeamus... Sanctorum omnium (3m09.8s - 2969 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 33, 10. V. 11b Timete Dominum (2m33.1s - 2395 kb) score
Alleluia: Mt. 11, 28 Venite ad me (3m34.5s - 3355 kb) score
Offertorium: Sap. 3, 1.2.3 Iustorum animæ (2m25.8s - 2281 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 5, 8.9.10 Beati mundo corde (1m29.8s - 1408 kb) score

And here are posts about these on Chantblog:

This is a photograph (by user Silar) of Central Cemetery in Sanok, Poland, on All Saints' Day:


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