Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Christmas Alleluia

This is the text of the Alleluia verse for Christmas Day:
Alleluia. Dies sanctificatus illuxit nobis;
venite gentes et adorate Dominum,
quia hodie descendit lux magna super terram.

Alleluia. A holy day has dawned for us;
come, nations, and worship the Lord,
for today a great light has descended over earth.

Here the Schola des Moines de Monserrat sing it:

This is Giovanni Vianini singing (and playing!) the "Alleluja di Natale - canto gregoriano nell'interpretazione di Giovanni Vianini direttore della Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis - Basilica di San Marco Milano, Italia":

Here's the chant score from the Brazilian Benedictines (and their mp3 version):

There is no Rose

There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bare Jesu.

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space.
Res miranda.

By that rose we may well see
That He is God in persons three.
Pares forma.

The angels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth.

Alleluia, res miranda,
Pares forma, gaudeamus,

Here's a video of this song; it's an anonymous 14th-century English carol (original words here):

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 27: St. John Evangelist

Here's Abelard's Hymn to St. John Evangelist:
Coelo celsius
Volans aquila
Ad Dominici
Sinus abdita
Nidi contulit

Solis intunes
Illic radios
Summo iubare
Visum reficit
Pascit oculus

Ex substantia
Solis ignea
Calor prodiens
Et lux genita
Praebet maxima

Translated by Peter Levi this way:

Heavenlier than heaven
The eagle flying
Even to the musteries
of the Lord’s breast
Has made a dwelling-place
and built his nest.

He sees the shining
of the sun there
in supreme light
shining most blest,
and feeds his eyes
his sight refreshed.

Out of the substance
of sunfire
Heat that proceeds
and generated light
offers absolute
of delight.

I have no tune for this, but the meter is 5 5 5 5 5 5 (= 10 10 10) - so any melody with that rhythm will do. You could sing it, for instance, to Vaughan Williams' Sine Nomine, or to Engleberg - if you add some alleluias at the end of each stanza. Or create your own melody; that's even more fun. I think, though, I'll be doing some research about Abelard and his time period, to see what the tune might have actually sounded like.

Alternatively, sing the hymns for Apostles and Evangelists today.

The Gospel for Christmas Day, and for the First Sunday of Christmas, seems appropriate here (although it's actually not a reading for St. John):
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"A Christmas Carol, Sung to the King in the Presence at White-Hall"

By Robert Herrick (1591-1674, written in 1620):
What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a Carol, for to sing
The Birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the Voice! Awake the String!
Heart, Ear, and Eye, and every thing
Awake! the while the active Finger
Runs division with the Singer.

{From the Flourish they came to the Song}.

Voice 1:
Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this Day,
That sees December turn'd to May.

Voice 2:
If we may ask the reason, say:
The why, and wherefore all things here
Seem like the Spring-time fo the year?

Voice 3:
Why does the chilling Winter's morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell, like to a mead new-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden?

Voice 4:
Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
'Tis He is born, whose quick'ning Birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To Heaven and the under-Earth.

We see Him come, and know Him ours,
Who, with His Sun-shine, and His Showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

Voice 1:
The Darling of the World is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome Him.

Voice 2:
The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the Heart,

Which we will give Him; and bequeath
This Holly and this Ivy Wreath,
To do Him honor; who's our King,
And Lord of all this Revelling.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Christmas Office

From Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books:
On Christmas Day:
1st Evensong: Veni, Redemptor gentium ... ... ... 25
Matins: Christe, Redemptor omnium, De ... ... 26
Lauds & 2nd Evensong: A solis ortus cardine ... ... ... 27

If you'd like to follow along with the entire office - Psalms, antiphons, Chapter readings, hymns, and responses - for Christmas, you can do it here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).  I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the page, too.

Here's the score to Hymn 25, listed as the song for First Evensong of the Feast of the Nativity, Veni, Redemptor Gentium:

LLPB offers this mp3 for Veni, Redemptor Gentium, which it calls "The first hymn for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord." The translation from Oremus is by J.M. Neale:
Come, thou Redeemer of the earth,
and manifest thy virgin birth:
let every age adoring fall;
such birth befits the God of all.

Begotten of no human will,
but of the Spirit, thou art still
the Word of God in flesh arrayed,
the promised fruit to man displayed.

The virgin womb that burden gained
with virgin honor all unstained;
the banners there of virtue glow;
God in his temple dwells below.

Forth from his chamber goeth he,
that royal home of purity,
a giant in twofold substance one,
rejoicing now his course to run.

From God the Father he proceeds,
to God the Father back he speeds;
his course he runs to death and hell,
returning on God's throne to dwell.

O equal to thy Father, thou!
Gird on thy fleshly mantle now;
the weakness of our mortal state
with deathless might invigorate.

Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
and darkness breathe a newer light,
where endless faith shall shine serene,
and twilight never intervene.

All laud to God the Father be,
all praise, eternal Son, to thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to God the Holy Paraclete.

TPL says this about Veni, Redemptor Gentium:
Veni, redemptor gentium was composed by St. Ambrose of Milan (340-397). The current form of the hymn actually begins with Ambrose' second stanza. The original opening verse was "Intende, qui regis Israel".

The evidence in favor of St. Ambrose' authorship is, in part, due to a passing mention of it by St. Augustine. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose and was a good friend of his. St. Augustine both specifically mentions and quotes three of St. Ambrose' canonical hymns: "Aeterne rerum Conditor", "Deus Creator omnium", and "Iam surgit hora tertia". St. Augustine then goes on to mention "Veni, redemptor gentium" indirectly. Instead of giving the full title, he only gives a brief quote from the middle of the hymn, which matches that of the Veni, redemptor gentium. The hymn is also mentioned by other authors of the period as being by St. Ambrose. Pope Celestine mentions it in a sermon against the Nestorians, which he preached before a synod at Rome in 430. The Pope attributes it to St. Ambrose. Likewise Bishop Faustus of Riez (A. D. 455) and Cassiodorus (died 575) also quote it and attribute it to St. Ambrose.

The hymn is not used in the Breviarium Romanum, but does appear in the Liturgia Horarum. It is used as the Advent hymn for the Office of the Readings for the octave before Christmas.

Here's the score to Hymn 26, listed here as the tune for the Matins hymn, Christe, Redemptor omnium, De.  (This hymn's first line in full is, as far as I can tell, Christe, Redemptor omnium, de Patre, Patris unice; it's normally given as Christe, Redemptor omnium, ex Patre, Patris unice.  Not sure why the different article there, though.  There are at least two "Christe, Redemptor Omnium"s, so this is to point this particular one.)

LLPB provides an mp3 that matches this tune; it's called "Jesus, the Father's Only Son," and is listed as a "Hymn for the first Vespers of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord." Here are the words used here (Words: Latin, sixth century; trans. John Mason Neale):
Jesus, the Father's only Son,
whose death for all redemption won;
before the worlds, of God most high
begotten all ineffably.

The Father's light and splendor thou,
their endless hope to thee that bow;
accept the prayers and praise today
that through the world thy servants pay.

Salvation's author, call to mind
how, taking form of humankind,
born of a Virgin undefiled,
thou in a man's flesh becam'st a child.

Thus testifies the present day,
through every year in long array,
that thou, salvation's source alone,
proceedest from the Father's throne.

Whence sky, and stars, and sea's abyss,
and earth, and all that therein is,
shall still, with laud and carol meet,
the Author of thine advent greet.

And we who, by thy precious blood
from sin redeemed, are marked for God,
on this the day that saw thy birth,
sing the new song of ransomed earth:

for that thine advent glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to thee;
with Father, and with Holy Ghost,
from men and from the heavenly host.

Here's the score to Hymn 27, listed above as the hymn Lauds & 2nd Evensong: A solis ortus cardine:

LLPB has this one, too, and calls it "From East to West, from shore to shore" (mp3). Here are the words, from Oremus Hymnal (Words: Caelius Sedulius (fifth century); trans. John Ellerton, 1889):
From east to west, from shore to shore,
let every heart awake and sing
the holy child whom Mary bore,
the Christ, the everlasting King.

Behold, the world's Creator wears
the form and fashion of a slave;
our very flesh our Maker shares,
his fallen creature, man, to save.

For this how wondrously he wrought!
A maiden, in her lowly place,
became, in ways beyond all thought,
the chosen vessel of his grace.

She bowed her to the angel's word
declaring what the Father willed,
and suddenly the promised Lord
that pure and hallowed temple filled.

He shrank not from the oxen's stall,
he lay within the manger-bed,
and he, whose bounty feedeth all,
at Mary's breast himself was fed.

And while the angels in the sky
sang praise above the silent field,
to shepherds poor the Lord Most High,

the one great Shepherd, was revealed.

All glory for this blessed morn
to God the Father ever be;
all praise to thee, O Virgin-born,
all praise, O Holy Ghost, to thee.

Here's a very pretty Latin version of A solis ortus cardine, sung to melody #27:

LLPB also offers this "versicle for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord" (mp3) The text is from the Prologue of John, and is for Christmas Day.

Here's that peek-in to the SSM Breviary:

Hodie Christus Natus Est - "Today Christ Is Born" - is the antiphon upon Magnificat at Vespers of Christmas Day. Here it is, sung by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey at Ganagobie.

Hodie Christus natus est:
Hodie Salvator apparuit:
Hodie in terra canunt Angeli,
laetantur Archangeli
Hodie exsultant justi, dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Today Christ is born:
Today the Savior appeared:
Today on Earth the Angels sing,
Archangels rejoice:
Today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory to God in the highest.

Here's the chant score from the Liber Usualis:

And here's an mp3, from the Brazilian Benedictines.

There are also lots of  composed settings of Hodie Christus Natus Est to listen to at YouTube.

Here's one from Argentina, a Heinrich Schütz version:

Here's a Poulenc:

A blessed Christmas to all. O Magnum Mysterium.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Virgo Virginum

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.

There is no available sound file for this one; the only people who sing it are Anglican and Norbertine monastics - and neither has recorded it, apparently. By now, though, you know the tune, no doubt - so have a go at it yourself; Gregorian Chant is meant to be sung and not merely listened to!

More about "O Virgo Virginum" here and here.

A blessed Feast of the Incarnation to all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

O Emmanuel

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

More here and here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O Rex Gentium

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

More here and here.

Advent 4: Rorate cæli desuper

This is the Introit for the Fourth Sunday in Advent; in English: "Let the heavens drop down dew."

Here is an mp3 of the chant, thanks to the Brazilian Benedictines. Here's the score:

The first part of the text is taken from Isaiah 45:8:
“ Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the LORD, have created it.

The second half is taken from Psalm 19, Coeli enarrant: "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork." Obviously the common theme is "what the heavens are up to."

Most interesting to me about this Introit is that the same text is the basis for the Rorate Coeli, or "the Advent Prose," a lovely set of responses sung in Advent:

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

Be not very angry, O Lord, neither remember our iniquity for ever:
thy holy cities are a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation:
our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing,
and we all do fade as a leaf:
our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away;
thou hast hid thy face from us:
and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen;
that ye may know me and believe me:
I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour:
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, my salvation shall not tarry:
I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions:
fear not for I will save thee:
for I am the Lord thy god, the holy one of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Here is an mp3 of the Advent Prose, with Vaughan Williams fauxbourdons, sung by the St. David's Compline Choir in Austin, TX; the words do not match exactly with those above. 

See more about the Advent Prose here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

O Oriens

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.

More here and here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

O Clavis David

O Key of David, 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.

More here and here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Radix 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.

More here and here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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.

More here and here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

O Sapientia

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.

As we enter Sapientia-tide, I'll again each day provide the sung Antiphon upon Magnificat designated for this special time of the year. I'll also on each page provide links to previous posts with various other sound files and content, like this: more here and here about "O Sapientia."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Advent 3: Gaudete in Domino

This is the Introit for the Third Sunday in Advent; in English: "Rejoice in the Lord always."  Here it is, sung by Cantori Gregoriani:

Here's an mp3 of the chant, thanks to the Brazilian Benedictines. Here's the score:

The first part of the text is taken from Philippians 4:4-6:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

The second half is taken from Psalm 85, Benedixisti Domine: "LORD, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob."

This Sunday has taken the name, Gaudete, from this Introit, and is a lightening of mood; the liturgical color sometimes changes (for those who can afford another set of vestments!) from purple or blue to rose.

Here's a polyphonic setting of this text; it isn't known who the composer was - kind of interesting, that, I think. It's sung by the College of William & Mary Choir, and they do a good job keeping a really brisk pace:

Here's the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, singing Henry Purcell's setting, also called "The Bell Anthem" - and it is gorgeous:

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

Hebdomada tertia adventus
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:

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Advent 2: Populus Sion

This is the Introit for the Second Sunday in Advent; in English: "People of Zion." Here it's sung by the Congregation of St. Lazarus Autun.

Here's an mp3 of the chant, too, thanks to the Brazilian Benedictines - and  the score:

The first part of the text is from Isaiah 30; the second half is taken from Psalm 80, Qui Regis Israel. Here's one translation of this Introit:
People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations: and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice to be heard, in the joy of your heart. Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep.

I'm not sure exactly what the relationship is between the Isaiah and the Psalm; perhaps the "voice of the Lord" in the Isaiah passage is an allusion to the sheep - who in Christ's later metaphor, know the shepherd's voice - in the Psalm.

In any case, this is about the people of Zion and the Reign of God; my friend the Postulant says that " the same verb as in Dominus regit me, 'The Lord is my shepherd.'"

The collect for the day is this one:
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This is a new collect, about which Marion Hatchett says, in his Commentary on the American Prayer Book:
This new collect is based on that for the third Sunday of Advent in the Book of Common Worship of the Church of South India; the theme is "The Fore-runner":
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare the way before thee: Grant that we, paying urgent heed to the message of repentance, may with hearts prepared await they final coming to judge the world; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.
The petition is similar to that of the first of the collects for the Nativity: Christmas Day. The prayer might be compared to this collect for the third Sunday in Advent which entered the Prayer Book in 1662, generally attributed to John Cosin:
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send they messenger to prepare the way before thee: Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
The essential difference between Bishop Cosin's collect and that in the present revision lies in the placing of responsibility not only upon the ministers and stewards but upon all of us to be prepared for Christ's coming again.

Here are all the propers for today, from and sung by the monks of St. Benedict's Monastery, Sao Paulo, Brazil:

Hebdomada secunda adventus
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 today's Propers:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent 1: Ad Te Levavi Animam Meam

This is the Introit for the First Sunday in Advent; in English: "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."

 Here is an mp3 of the chant, thanks to the Brazilian Benedictines. Here's the score:

The text comes from verses 1-4 of Psalm 25, Ad te, Domine, levavi:
1 To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
4 Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.

Here's another video of this Introit, sung by "the three cantores of the major seminary of the diocese of Haarlem (The Netherlands)":

Here are all the chants for the day, from
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:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Advent Office

From Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books:
On the 1st Sunday in Advent, and daily (when the Service
is of the Season) until Christmas Day :-
Evensong: Conditor alme siderum ... ... ... 23
Mattins: Verbum supernum prodiens A Patre ... 24
Lauds: Vox clara ecce intonat ... ... ... 24

If you'd like to follow along with the entire office - Psalms, antiphons, Chapter readings, hymns, and responses - for Advent, you can do it here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885); that link sends you to the first page of their breviary from that era.  I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the page, too.

Here's the chant score for melody #23 from Hymn melodies:

The Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood provides an mp3 of the beautiful Conditor alme siderum sung in English to this melody; following is the Latin and one translation from CPDL, which notes that:
Conditor alme siderum is an anonymous text from the 7th century used at Vespers during Advent.

Conditor alme siderum
aetérna lux credéntium
Christe redémptor
ómnium exáudi preces súpplicum

Qui cóndolens intéritu
mortis perire saeculum
salvásti mundum languidum
donnas reis remedium.

Vergénte mundi véspere
uti sponsus de thálamo
egréssus honestissima
Virginis matris cláusula.

Cuius forti ponténtiae
genu curvántur ómnia
caeléstia, terréstia
nutu faténtur súbdita.

Te, Sancte fide quáesumus,
venture iudex sáeculi,
consérva nos in témpore
hostis a telo perfidi.

Sit, Christe rex piissime
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito
in sempitérna sáecula.

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people's everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
and hear Thy servants when they call.

Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
should doom to death a universe,
hast found the medicine, full of grace,
to save and heal a ruined race.

Thou camest, the Bridegroom of the Bride,
as drew the world to evening tide,
proceeding from a virgin shrine,
the spotless Victim all divine.

At whose dread Name, majestic now,
all knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
and things celestial Thee shall own,
and things terrestrial Lord alone.

O Thou whose coming is with dread,
to judge and doom the quick and dead,
preserve us, while we dwell below,
from every insult of the foe.

To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
laud, honor, might, and glory be
from age to age eternally.

Here's a recording of  the Latin version of this wonderful hymn, sung by the Cistercian Monks Of Stift Heiligenkreuz:

Here's the chant score for melody #24, used for both Verbum supernum prodiens and Vox clara ecce intonat for  the Advent Office:

LLPB gives Verbum supernum prodiens as High Word of God (mp3), which uses these words:

VERBUM supernum prodiens
a Patre lumen exiens,
qui natus orbi subvenis
cursu declivi temporis:

Illumina nunc pectora
tuoque amore concrema;
audita per praeconia
sint pulsa tandem lubrica.

Iudexque cum post aderis
rimari facta pectoris,
reddens vicem pro abditis
iustisque regnum pro bonis,

Non demum artemur malis
pro qualitate criminis,
sed cum beatis compotes
simus perennes caelites.

Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
tibi Patrique gloria
cum Sancto Spiritu Paraclito,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.

High Word of God, who once didst come,
Leaving Thy Father and Thy home,
To succor by Thy birth our kind,
When, towards Thy advent, time declined,

Pour light upon us from above,
And fire our hearts with Thy strong love,
That, as we hear Thy Gospel read,
All fond desires may flee in dread;

That when Thou comest from the skies,
Great Judge, to open Thine assize,
To give each hidden sin its smart,
And crown as kings the pure in heart,

We be not set at Thy left hand,
Where sentence due would bid us stand,
But with the saints Thy face may see,
Forever wholly loving Thee.

Praise to the Father and the Son,
Through all the ages as they run;
And to the holy Paraclete
Be praise with Them and worship meet. Amen.

TPL has a different set of English words, here, and notes of this hymn that:
Verbum supernum prodiens dates to somewhere around the 6th or 7th century and can be found in monastic breviaries of the 10th century. The hymn is used for the Office of the Readings as an Advent Hymn.

Here's a pretty interesting modern version of Verbum supernum prodiens.  According to the YouTube page:
The University of Utah Singers perform "Verbum supernum prodiens" by Damijan Močnik in a collaboration concert with the Salt Lake Choral Artists, February 21, 2009 in Libby Gardner concert hall under the direction of Dr. Brady Allred.

The same (Gregorian) tune is used, according to Hymn melodies, for Vox clara ecce intonat ("Written in the 6th century, this hymn is traditionally used for Lauds during the Advent season"), from TPL:

VOX clara ecce intonat,
obscura quaeque increpat:
procul fugentur somnia;
ab aethere Christus promicat.

Mens iam resurgat torpida
quae sorde exstat saucia;
sidus refulget iam novum,
ut tollat omne noxium.

E sursum Agnus mittitur
laxare gratis debitum;
omnes pro indulgentia
vocem demus cum lacrimis,

Secundo ut cum fulserit
mundumque horror cinxerit,
non pro reatu puniat,
sed nos pius tunc protegat.

Summo Parenti gloria
Natoque sit victoria,
et Flamini laus debita
per saeculorum saecula. Amen.
A THRILLING voice by Jordan rings,
rebuking guilt and darksome things:
vain dreams of sin and visions fly;
Christ in His might shines forth on high.

Now let each torpid soul arise,
that sunk in guilt and wounded lies;
see! the new Star's refulgent ray
shall chase disease and sin away.

The Lamb descends from heaven above
to pardon sin with freest love:
for such indulgent mercy shewn
with tearful joy our thanks we own.

That when again He shines revealed,
and trembling worlds to terror yield.
He give not sin its just reward,
but in His love protect and guard.

To the most high Parent glory be
and to the Son be victory,
and to the Spirit praise is owed
from age to age eternally. Amen.

Here's Ensemble N:un, using the same melody (with saxophone and some improvisation).  Some may not like this, but I really do; I definitely appreciate contemporary musicians who make people aware of these chants, and create new ways to hear them:

Here's that peek-in to the SSM Breviary:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
Der Wächter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
Wach auf, du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heißt diese Stunde;
Sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde:
Wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohl auf, der Bräutgam kömmt;
Steht auf, die Lampen nehmt! Alleluja!
Macht euch bereit
Zu der Hochzeit,
Ihr müsset ihm entgegen gehn!

"Sleepers, wake!" A voice astounds us,
the shout of rampart-guards surrounds us:
"Awake, Jerusalem, arise!"
Midnight's peace their cry has broken,
their urgent summons clearly spoken:
"The time has come, O maidens wise!
Rise up, and give us light;
the Bridegroom is in sight.
Your lamps prepare and hasten there,
that you the wedding feast may share."

Wake up! Wake up! It's time!

You can listen to the complete Cantata - BWV 140 - via .ram file here.

Some info about the Cantata from Wikipedia:
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, also known as Sleepers, Wake, is a cantata written in 1731 by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is scored for horn, 2 oboes, taille (an instrument similar to the oboe da caccia, today often substituted with an English horn), violino piccolo, violin, viola, basso continuo, and choir with soprano, tenor, and bass soloists.

BWV 140 is based on the chorale of the same name by Philipp Nicolai. This Lutheran hymn remains popular today both in its original German and in a variety of English translations. The text on which it is based is the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1–13, a reading that was scheduled in the Lutheran lectionary of the time for the 27th Sunday after Trinity. Because this Sunday only occurred in the church year when Easter was very early, the cantata was rarely performed. The infrequency of the occasion for which it was composed makes it one of the few cantatas whose date of composition is definitively known.

In the modern three-year Revised Common Lectionary, however, the reading is scheduled for Proper 27, or the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, in the first year of the three-year cycle of lessons. Thus, the hymn or the cantata are commonly performed in churches on that Sunday. The text and its eschatological themes are also commonly associated with the early Sundays of the season of Advent, and so the cantata is also commonly performed during that season.


BWV 140 is a chorale cantata; its primary melody and text are drawn from a Lutheran chorale, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme. The first movement is a chorale fantasia based on the first verse of the chorale, which is a common feature of Bach's cantatas. The second movement is a recitative for tenor that precedes the third movement, a duet for soprano and bass with obbligato violin. In the duet, the soprano represents the soul and the bass represents Jesus. The fourth movement, based on the second verse of the chorale, is written in a trio sonata-like texture for the tenors of the chorus, oboe da caccia, and continuo. Bach later transcribed this movement for organ (BWV 645), and it was subsequently published along with five other transcriptions Bach made of his cantata movements as the Schübler Chorales. The fifth movement is a recitative for bass, preceding the sixth movement, which is another duet for soprano and bass with obbligato oboe. This duet, like the third movement, is a love duet between the soprano soul and the bass Jesus. The final movement, as with many of Bach's cantatas, is based on the final verse of the chorale and is a four-part harmonization of the chorale melody.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Chant Revival"

From Episcopal Life Online:
It doesn't have much of a beat, the kids can't dance to it, and it's sung in a dead language, but Gregorian chant seems to be the hottest thing in sacred music right now.

Nearly 200 scholas -- choirs that sing plainsong -- have emerged around the country, many in the last five years, according to the Church Music Association of America.

Sacred music seminars that once drew few people now lure musical directors, organists and singers who want to learn more about Gregorian chant, said CMA president William Mahrt.

Religious publishers are stocking and selling large collections of plainsong books and music. Paraclete Press, the Massachusetts publishing house of the Community of Jesus, a monastic, Christian community in the Benedictine tradition, sold 5,000 copies of its "Gregorian Melodies" CD in the first half of this year -- more than it did all of last year.

The style of chant is named for the sainted Pope Gregory I (circa A.D. 540–604) in what was probably an early exercise in brand marketing. Musicologists say the pope most likely didn't invent plainsong, but his name was used to help it spread from monastery to monastery in medieval Europe.

Written records of Gregorian chant date to the 10th century. Over the years, plainsongs' unadorned melodies, sung in Latin to an uneven meter, became somehow suggestive of high religiosity.

"It has an inner pulse like a heart beat, but it doesn't have a regular rhythm," said Jeffrey Tucker, managing editor of the magazine Sacred Music. "The effect is like musical incense. It's always sort of floating and rising."

There follows an extensive list of CDs and books available for purchase.

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 11: Martin, Bishop of Tours (397)

It's appropriate today to sing any of the hymns "For a Holy Man," "For a Confessor," "For a Monastic," or "For Bishops and Pastors," because Martin of Tours was all of these. The choice from the listing at Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books, though, is only "For a Confessor." From an earlier post:

Here's an mp3 of Iste Confessor, labeled a "hymn about a Holy Man" for the Common of Saints, from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood. Here's the listing at Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books, where Iste Confessor is appointed as the hymn for First Vespers and Mattins. Below is a an image of the chant score for this hymn:

The words to the hymn above - the first line of which is "He whose confession God of old accepted" - are found at Oremus Hymnal, where it says the hymn is "Latin, eighth century; trans. Laurence Housman, 1906."
He whose confession God of old accepted,
whom through the ages all now hold in honor,
gaining his guerdon this day came to enter
heaven's high portal.

God-fearing, watchful, pure of mind and body,
holy and humble, thus did all men find him;
while, through his members, to the life immortal
mortal life called him.

Thus to the weary, from the life enshrinèd,
potent in virtue, flowed humane compassion;
sick and sore laden, howsoever burdened,
there they found healing.

So now in chorus, giving God the g lory,
raise we our anthem gladly to his honor,
that in fair kinship we may all be sharers
here and hereafter.

Honor and glory, power and salvation,
be in the highest unto him who reigneth
changeless in heaven over earthly changes,
triune, eternal.

Here is another set of words for this hymn; this source says that the hymn "was originally composed in honor of St. Martin of Tours":
This the Confessor of the Lord, whose triumph Now all the faithful celebrate, with gladness Erst on this feat-day merited to enter Into his glory.

Saintly and prudent, modest in behavior, Peaceful and sober, chaste was he, and lowly, While that life's vigor, coursing through his members, Quickened his being.

Sick ones of old time, to his tomb resorting, Sorely by ailments manifold afflicted, Oft-times have welcomed health and strength returning, At his petition.

Whence we in chorus gladly do him honor, Chanting his praises with devout affection, That in his merits we may have a portion, Now and forever.

Glory and virtue, honour and salvation, Be unto him that, sitting in the highest, Governeth all things, Lord and God Almighty, Trinity blessed.

Here's the chant score from my source to the hymn sung at Vespers on the feast days of monastics; the words are quite similar in content to those above. (That source lists hymns - different ones - for both monastics and "Holy Men.") The tune for this one is the same as on the mp3 and in the chant score above; again it's my favorite 11 11 11 5 meter, and this is one of my favorite of all hymns:

And here's the chant score for "Holy Men"; again, the music is the same:

Here's "Bishops and Pastors," using the same tune again:

Again from an earlier post:
But actually, Hymn melodies lists Iste Confessor as the hymn only for 1st Evensong and Mattins; Jesu, Redemptor Omnium is sung at Lauds and 2nd Evensong, to several different tunes, depending on the season. Here's the rundown:

At L. (except in Xmas & Paschal-tides) ... 25
At 2пd Ev. (& L. when по 2пd Ev.) ... 49
During Xmas-tide (L. & 2пd Ev.) ... 26
During Easter-tide ... ... 39
During Ascension-tide ... ... 41
On Simple Feasts of the lowest class throughout the year (L.) ... ... ... ... 6l

So there you have it. We are talking 25, 49, and/or 61 here. That's this gang:

#25 above uses the tune heard on this mp3, a tune I've heard used for the Lauds hymn on a Feast day.

Use the words to Jesu Redemptor Omnium with any one of these, and you're in business:
1. Jesu Redemptor omnium,
Quem lucis ante originem,
Parem paternae gloriae,
Pater supremus edidit.

2. Tu lumen et splendor Patris,
Tu spes perennis omnium:
Intende quas fundunt preces
Tui per orbem servuli.

3. Memento, rerum Conditor,
Nostri quod olim corporis,
Sacrata ab alvo Virginis,
Nascendo, formam sumpseris.

4. Testatur hoc praesens dies,
Currens per anni circulum,
Quod solus e sinu Patris
Mundi salus adveneris.

5. Hunc astra, tellus, aequora,
Hunc omne quod caelo subest,
Salutis auctorem novae,
Novo salutat cantico.

6. Et nos, beata quos sacri
Rigavit unda sanguinis,
Natalis ob diem tui,
Hymni tributum solvimus.

7. Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna saecula.

The Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood does offer a hymn "about the Bishops, Pastors, and Missionaries," though. Here's the mp3 of "O Thou Whose All-Redeeming Might"; the tune is the same as #49 above. The words used on this mp3 are the same as those at Oremus Hymnal (which lists the hymn as "Latin, eighth century; trans. Richard Meux Benson, 1906; Music: Jesu, Redemptor omnium"); so that's another loose end cleaned up (although as far as I can tell, these words do not match those in the Latin given above).
O thou whose all-redeeming might
crowns every chief in faith's true fight,
on this commemoration day
hear us, good Jesus, while we pray.

In faithful strife for thy dear Name
thy servant earned the saintly fame,
which pious hearts with praise revere
in constant memory year by year.

Earth's fleeting joys he counted nought,
for higher, truer joys he sought,
and now, with angels round thy throne,
unfading treasures are his own.

O grant that we, most gracious God,
may follow in the steps he trod;
and, freed from every stain of sin,
as he hath won may also win.

To thee, O Christ, our loving King,
all glory, praise and thanks we bring;
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

One of the interesting things about Martin of Tours is that his feast day, November 11, was once the de facto start of Advent (although that concept didn't really exist at that point). November 11 is 40 (liturgical) days before Christmas, and the Feast of Martin of Tours was the night before the fasting-before-Christmas began. According to the Martin page at Wikipedia:
From the late 4th century to the late Middle Ages, much of Western Europe, including Great Britain, engaged in a period of fasting beginning on the day after St. Martin's Day, November 11. This fast period lasted 40 days, and was, therefore, called "Quadragesima Sancti Martini," which means in Latin "the forty days of St. Martin." At St. Martin's eve and on the feast day, people ate and drank very heartily for a last time before they started to fast. This fasting time was later called "Advent" by the Church.

The feast is still celebrated (even with days off from work and school) in many parts of northern Europe, and it's still customary to have a big meal on the night of the feast - traditionally with goose as the main course.

This excellent history of Martin of Tours comes from the Order of St. Martin, of the the US Army Quartermaster Corps:
Saint Martin, whose name comes from Martem Tenens (one who sustains Mars), was born in Hungary during the reign of Emperor Constantine, and spent his early childhood in northern Italy. Drafted into the Roman Army at age 15, he later became a member of the royal cavalry guard. It was while he was campaigning in Gaul, as an 18-year-old tribune, stationed in Amiens, that the famous legend of Saint Martin and the beggar took place.

One bitterly cold day a beggar, naked and shivering, came near his station. Martin, like all the other soldiers, was in armor, but over his iron plated suit he wore a large military cloak. As none of his companions took notice of the beggar, Martin cut his cloak in two with his sword and gave half of it to the beggar. That night Christ appeared to him in a vision, dressed in the parted cloak, and commended the young soldier for his charity.

Saint Martin -- the patron saint of the Quartermaster Regiment -- was the most popular saint in France during antiquity and the early Middle Ages. It is said that French kings carried his cloak into battle as a spur to victory. Usually pictured on horseback dividing his cloak with the beggar, the image of Saint Martin as a Soldier-Provider offers a fitting symbol for Logistics Warriors charged with SUPPORTING VICTORY now and for all time.

Here's the St. Martin medal:

The readings are here, along with the collect:
Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

The Hebrew Bible reading is Isaiah 58:6-12:

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

And the Gospel is, of course, Matthew 25:34-40:
Jesus said, "Then the king will say to those at his right hand, `Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' "

From Full Homely Divinity, "The Saints of Advent":
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.

Here's an El Greco of St. Martin:

And here's a "modern icon in the chapel of the Eastern Orthodox Monastery of the Theotokos and St Martin, Cantauque, Provence":


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