Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Universi, qui te exspectant (or, It's never too early for Advent)

As we approach November, I thought it would be good to link to the chanted propers of the Mass for Advent 1, as sung by the Benedictine monks of Brazil (see previous post).

To me, the Graduale in particular ("Universi, qui te exspectant") is stunningly beautiful - full of gorgeous melismatic musical lines and lovely lilting phrases. Very evocative of the Advent hope and expectant waiting. [Edited to add that I'm now in the process of listening to the others, and the Alleluia, Ostende Nobis is another simply glorious chant for the day; it comes from Psalm 85, I think.] I'm curious as to whether chants like this were ever used in parish settings, or whether they were exclusively monastic. It's amazing how little anybody knows about this anymore, and what a shame that is, because the music is just so beautiful.

Here's a video of this chant:

Something I find interesting, BTW, is that the text for this chant - and for others for the day - comes from Psalm 25. I checked out the BCP, which doesn't use this Psalm in any of year A, B, or C for Advent 1 - but the RCL does use it, at least this year. But I had understood that the RCL is the "Protestant" lectionary, and that the BCP was normally closer to what the Catholic Church uses. So how come this, then?

One other thing maybe somebody can help me with. Notice that on the website, Psalm 25 is labeled "Psalm 24." I've noticed this before - that the Catholics numbering system is 1 different from ours, but never thought much about it. What's the deal with that? [EDIT: Caelius notes that "The numbering difference is because Psalm 9 and 10 are one psalm in the LXX, but are apparently separate in the Hebrew manuscripts. There's probably a story there, especially since the two psalms form an alphabetic acrostic in Hebrew, just not a perfect one, suggesting a few errors in transmission."]

Psalm 25
1 Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.

2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

Here are all the chants for this day, from ChristusRex.org:
Hebdomada Prima Adventus
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:

If you're interested in the Introits for every Sunday in Advent, see them here:


lorenc montreal said...

Hi, my understanding is that the RCL is the general usage lectionary for most everyone post Vatican II, with some exceptions, of course.


bls said...

Hi and thanks for commenting. I just Googled this and found this quote at a TEC Liturgy page: "The Roman Catholic Church has not adopted the RCL. However, there are already many differences between the Episcopal and Roman Lectionaries, even though the Episcopal Lectionary was patterned after the Roman Lectionary."

But, most Anglican national churches in the world do use it, so that's reason enough, I'd say.


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