Saturday, November 03, 2007

An Office Hymn Tune Compendium, Part II

[EDIT:   This article is from 2007, and was part of my first foray into posting about music for the Offices.    But I've posted quite a bit about Office hymns and other music since then.  You can find posts about the Offices themselves at the Divine Office page, or on the Resources page (where there are many links to other chant hymnody resources).]

A post continuing my harmonizing of two sources to match Office hymn tunes to their words.
  1. Next comes an Easter Vespers hymn, Ad coenam Agni; here is the rather odd music. This is another hymn I'm totally unfamiliar with; here's the listing at Thesaurus Precum Latinarum, and here's the blurb:
    One of the earliest of the Ambrosian hymns, 6th century or earlier, this hymn is used for Vespers from Easter Sunday until Ascension. In the Breviary revision of 1632 by Pope Urban VIII the hymn was so greatly altered that only three lines of the original remained and thus is really a different hymn entirely. The revised hymn can be found under the title of Ad regias Agni dapes.

    I found a blog entry while Googling that gives those words, and notes that they were translated from a "6th century hymn, translated by John Mason Neale." Neale seems to have translated many of the office hymns into English; that's interesting. This one's also in our hymnal: it's #202, and the music apparently comes from the 12th Century. It's very strangely martial.

  2. We sang this one around Easter: "O sons and daughters" (Filii et Filiae) (mp3 here). Here's the TPL page, which says:
    This hymn was written by Jean Tisserand, O.F.M. (d. 1494) and originally had only nine stanzas. Stanzas "Discipulis adstantibus", "Ut intellexit Didymus", "Beati qui non viderunt" are early additions to the hymn. There are several different versions of the hymn. The one below is one of the more common versions.

    So, fairly recent.

  3. Here's the music for an "Epiphany Te Lucis." Words a bit different than this, but the same idea.

  4. Here is the mp3 for O lux beata Trinitas; here's the TPL page, where it says:
    This hymn is ascribed to St. Ambrose (340-397) and is used for Sunday Vespers for the second and fourth weeks of the Psalter in the Liturgy of the Hours. The hymn appears in the Roman Breviary under the title of Iam sol recedit igneus, where it is the Vespers hymn for the ferial office on Saturdays and Trinity Sunday.

    This one is #30 in the 1982 hymnal, listed as an Evening hymn.

  5. Here's a different set of words to one of my favorite hymns of all: Vexilla regis prodeunt (The Royal Banners Forward Go), a Vespers hymn for Passiontide. It's the last hymn we sing at St. Mary's on Palm Sunday. Here's the TPL page, and the writeup:
    Vexilla Regis was written by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) and is considered one of the greatest hymns of the liturgy. Fortunatus wrote it in honor of the arrival of a large relic of the True Cross which had been sent to Queen Radegunda by the Emperor Justin II and his Empress Sophia. Queen Radegunda had retired to a convent she had built near Poitiers and was seeking out relics for the church there. To help celebrate the arrival of the relic, the Queen asked Fortunatus to write a hymn for the procession of the relic to the church.

    The hymn has, thus, a strong connection with the Cross and is fittingly sung at Vespers from Passion Sunday to Holy Thursday and on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The hymn was also formerly sung on Good Friday when the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the repository to the altar. The text given below is the full text of Fortunatus' hymn, but verses 2, 4, and 7 are omitted when the hymn is used liturgically. The last two verses which form the concluding doxology are not by Fortunatus, but is rather the work of some later poet.

    This version, called "Fulfilled is all that David told," is called in Latin Impleta sunt. Here are the words, from the blog "Meam Commemorationem," (where there is a wonderful chant that plays when the page loads):
    Fulfilled is all that David told
    In true prophetic song of old:
    Amidst the nations, God, saith he,
    Hath reigned and trimphed from the Tree.

    O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
    O Tree with royal purple dight!
    Elect on whose trumphas breast
    Those holy limbs should find their rest:

    On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
    The wight of this world's ransom hung,
    The price of humankind to pay,
    And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

    O Cross, our one reliance, hail!
    In this our Easter joy, avail
    To give fresh meric to the saint,
    And pardon to the penitent.

    To thee eternal Three in One,
    Let homage meet by all be done:
    Whom by the Cross thou dost restore,
    Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

    Both sets of words have similar themes, though.

  6. Here is the music for Christe, Lux Mundi. This one is also in our hymnal; it's an Evening hymn, #33. It says the words are 10th C. Mozarabic and the music is from the "Friebourg MS," 14th C.

    While Googling for this one, I found another crazy thing at JSTOR: "'Christe Qui Lux es et Dies': And Its German, Dutch, and English Translations," an 1898 article in the American Journal of Philology. I also learned that Taizé has put out a CD called Christe, Lux Mundi, and also has written a little chant of the same name.

I still have more to go on this. Eventually, I'd like to order these liturgically, too; for now, I'm kind of liking giving the history, so it doesn't matter if they are in order.

Our 1982 hymnal has included many really interesting things, including some of the most ancient chants. I just found another thing this morning, too: S288 in the Service Music section is a Slavonic Te Deum in four parts! Gotta sing that baby someday.

Move on to An Office Hymn (no tunes) Compendium, Part III (with thanks to Wiki-pedia - Największa internetowa encyklopedia.) Or, go back to An Office Hymn Compendium, Part I.

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