Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Office Hymns, etc, for the Feast of the Annunciation

Here is the entry for the Feast of the Annunciation at Medieval Music Database.

These are the antiphons (and instructions) I have for Second Vespers of the Feast of the Annunciation:

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any recordings of the hymns in my sources. I do know, though, that the hymns listed for Mattins and Lauds in Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books (which hymns are notated "as on the Feast of the Conception") are sung to the same tune; the hymn is called "O gloriosa femina" (or "O gloriosa domina") at Lauds, and "Quem terra, pontus, ethera" at Mattins. The tune is the same as, but the words do not match up to, the hymn I have for Lauds:

Here's a page from the Poissy Antiphonal that includes both of these hymns - but the melodies seem quite different:

In the Sarum book - and in most others - the Vespers hymn is Ave, Maris Stella ("Hail, Star of the Sea!"). But that's not the one I have, about which I don't know much about at all. It does have that really interesting 11-11-11-5 Meter thing going, though; I'd sure like to know where that came from, and what significance it has; it seems to be used only for certain hymns and feasts, but I'm not sure what the link is. Anyway, the chant score:

The page for the Feast of the Purification at MMDB does have some of these hymns listed, however.

Here's an mp3 of Ave Maris Stella from the Benedictines of Brazil. Here's the Latin text, and an English translation:

Ave, maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper Virgo,
Felix caeli porta.

Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Evae nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
Profer lumen caecis,
Mala nostra pelle,
Bona cuncta posce

Monstra te esse matrem,
Sumat per te preces,
Qui pro nobis natus
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos,
Mites fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Jesum,
Semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus
Spiritui Sancto,
Tribus honor unus. Amen.
Hail, star of the sea,
loving Mother of God,
and also always a virgin,
Happy gate of heaven.

Receiving that Ave
from Gabriel's mouth
confirm us in peace,
Reversing Eva's name.

Break the chains of sinners,
Bring light to the blind,
Drive away our evils,
Ask for all good.

Show yourself to be a mother,
May he accept prayers through you,
he who, born for us,
Chose to be yours.

O unique virgin,
Meek above all,
Make us, absolved from sin,
Gentle and chaste.

Keep life pure,
Make the journey safe,
So that, seeing Jesus,
We may always rejoice together.

Let there be praise to God the Father,
Glory to Christ in the highest,
To the Holy Spirit,
One honor to all three. Amen.

You can hear an mp3 sample of Anonymous 4's version of Ave, Maris Stella here; Edvard Grieg, of all people, also composed an Ave, Maris Stella, which is quite beautiful. And here is an mp3 of "Orthodox Byzantine Hymn(s) for the Annunciation" at Wikipedia. Best I can do, this time - sorry.

Annunciation is one of my favorite feasts of the year; I love it as the most incarnational moment of direct connection between heaven and earth - as one of the most dramatic of the moments when angels come to speak directly to human beings. Unfortunately, I can't celebrate it tonight as I am sick.

I really like this Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner:

Here's a bit about Tanner:
The son of a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Henry Ossawa Tanner was raised in an affluent, well educated African-American family. Although reluctant at first, Tanner's parents eventually responded to their son's unflagging desire to pursue an artistic career and encouraged his ambitions. In 1879, Tanner enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he joined Thomas Eakins's coterie. Tanner moved to Atlanta in 1889 in an unsuccessful attempt to support himself as an artist and instructor among prosperous middle class African-Americans. Bishop and Mrs. Joseph C. Hartzell arranged for Tanner's first solo exhibition, the proceeds from which enabled the struggling artist to move to Paris in 1891. Illness brought him back to the United States in 1893, and it was at this point in his career that Tanner turned his attention to genre subjects of his own race.

In 1893 most American artists painted African-American subjects either as grotesque caricatures or sentimental figures of rural poverty. Henry Ossawa Tanner, who sought to represent black subjects with dignity, wrote: "Many of the artists who have represented Negro life have seen only the comic, the ludicrous side of it, and have lacked sympathy with and appreciation for the warm big heart that dwells within such a rough exterior." The banjo had become a symbol of derision, and caricatures of insipid, smiling African-Americans strumming the instrument were a cliche. In The Banjo Lesson, Tanner tackles this stereotype head on, portraying a man teaching his young protege to play the instrument - the large body of the older man lovingly envelops the boy as he patiently instructs him. If popular nineteenth-century imagery of the African-American male had divested him of authority and leadership, then Tanner in The Banjo Lesson recreated him in the role of father, mentor, and sage. The Banjo Lesson is about sharing knowledge and passing on wisdom.

And here's lots more Annunciation art.

And here's a different sort of take on Annunciation, one I like a lot:
I once heard an old piece of folklore about Mary. Imagine, this story goes, that the angel of God had been wandering the earth sine the beginning of time, asking people if they would be willing to bring God’s child into the world. Mary was not the most pure, most holy, most beautiful; she was simply the only one gutsy enough to say “yes.”

I love that little addition to the Gospel narrative because it makes us look at the story from a different angle. The Church has traditionally taught us that Mary was selected by God for the most important task of all time, the birth of Christ. Mary is seen as the most pure, the most devout woman in the world. She was selected, out of all the women of all time, to be the mother of God. It’s almost as if Mary is the valedictorian of devotion, she was the best, and she was awarded the greatest honor. But what if her role was awarded to her because she alone was willing, because she agreed? What if it was Mary’s willingness that set her apart?

In the Gospel of Luke, Mary says to the angel Gabriel, “Here am I.” These are words repeated by some of the most devout lovers of God in Scripture. Abraham says, “Here I am.” Isaiah says, “Here I am.” These are the words of those who volunteer to submit themselves to the will of God. These are the words of true devotion. After uttering these words, no one ever stands still.

From Between Two Worlds: Daily Readings for Advent by Kate Moorehead (Cowley Publications, 2003).

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...