Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Cistercian monks of the Stift Heiligenkreuz

These are the monks who've made the recent chant CD (now at #7 on the British top-seller list).

The New York Times ran this article on Friday. Here's an excerpt:
When the album, “Chant: Music for Paradise,” was released in Europe in May — and shot to No. 7 in the British pop charts, at one point outselling releases from Amy Winehouse and Madonna — the trickle of press attention turned into a torrent. (The CD will be released in the United States on Tuesday.)

Now this monastery, where the daily rituals of prayer and work have guided life for 875 years, finds itself in a media whirligig at once exhilarating and unsettling for its 77 brothers.

“We’re monks,” said Johannes Paul Chavanne, 25, a Viennese who entered the monastery after studying law and is training to be a priest. “We’re not pop stars, and we don’t want to be pop stars.”

Too late: the album has made the monks of Heiligenkreuz a crossover hit, the latest example of how Gregorian chant, a once-neglected 1,000-year-old part of the Roman Catholic liturgy, can be repackaged for a secular society that savors its soothing, otherworldly cadences.

Apparently this monastery has long been known far and wide for its excellent music and beautiful chant.
While monks in many monasteries chant, Heiligenkreuz is particularly proud of its singing, which has been honed over years by one of the monks, who used to direct choirs in Germany.

Mr. Lewis was entranced, recalling that the video eclipsed the more than 100 other submissions. “There was a smoothness and softness to the voices that you associate with younger people,” he said.

Universal negotiated a contract with the monks, who proved to be anything but naïve in the ways of business. It helped that the abbot, Gregor Henckel Donnersmark, has an M.B.A. and ran the Spanish outpost of a German shipping company before he entered the monastery in 1977.

Among the clauses he sought: Universal cannot use the chanting in video games or pop music. The monks will never tour or perform on stage. And Heiligenkreuz will earn a royalty based on the sales of the album, which the abbot said worked out to roughly 1 euro per CD sold.

The monastery’s share, Father Henckel Donnersmark figures optimistically, could be between $1.5 million and $3.1 million, which it will use to help finance the theological studies of young men from developing countries. So far, Universal has sold nearly 200,000 copies.

“Money is not a source of fulfillment,” the abbot said, though he pointed out that it would defray the monastery’s expenses, which are high, partly because of its success in attracting novices.

Here's a video of some of the chant:

HT Episcopal Cafe.

A Coptic Chant Web Resource

It's here, at From this page:
The word, Agpeya, is a Coptic (ancient Egyptian) word meaning “Book of Hours.” It is based on the Coptic root word, ti agp, which means “hour.”

The Agpeya is primarily used by the Coptic Orthodox Church. It contains prayers for seven different hours to be said throughout the day. The hours are chronologically laid out, each containing a theme corresponding to events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each hour is composed of an introduction which includes the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer of Thanksgiving, and Psalm 50. It is followed by various Psalms, an excerpt from the Holy Gospel, and Litanies. Lord Have Mercy is then chanted 41 times (representing the 39 lashes Christ received before the crucifixion, plus one for the spear in His side, plus one for the crown of thorns), followed by several other prayers and a conclusion.

From the Chanting the Agpeya page:
What do we mean by “chanting the Agpeya”?. Well, it’s simple. Not only are many prayers read in a normal fashion, but many are chanted, or sung, in a specific tune. Chanting is a very important aspect of Orthodox prayer and worship. In the Coptic Orthodox liturgical service, almost the entire liturgy is chanted and/or sung.

Throughout the website, if you see the following icon click on it to hear the appropriate prayer being chanted.

An example of a chant used in the Agpeya would be in the following line which is chanted after the gospel reading of each hour:

We worship You, O Christ, with Your good Father and the Holy Spirit, for You have come and saved us.

In Coptic, it would be the following:

It is pronounced like the following in the English transliteration:

Tenoo oasht emmok o piekhristos nem pekyot en aghathos nem pi epnevma ethowab je akee ak soati emmon nai nan

Yet, although it may just be read, it should be chanted with a very specific tune. Click here to listen to how it should sound.

There are dozens of mp3s of the chants on that page.

And each of the Hours is listed on its own page; start here and click through them.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Felix per omnes festum mundi cardines

As I wrote in the previous post about the hymns for the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul:
The book Pange Lingua: Breviary Hymns of Old Uses with an English Rendering (a large PDF!), says of Felix per omnes festum mundi cardines (the hymn itself is found on page 52 by page number of that document) that:
"This hymn was sung at First Vespers of SS. Peter and Paul according to the use of the Church of York, which was followed of old throughout the north of England as that of Sarum was in the south. The seventh verse, in a slightly altered form, now forms part of the Breviary Vesper hymn for the feast, and the fourth and fifth verses are also retained in the Breviary for use on the lesser feasts of St. Peter."

So I think we might find this one listed in the Anglican Breviary; the ones above are obviously from the Roman one.

Interestingly, two of the above hymns were written by a woman, according to Wikipedia:
H. Elpis, wife of Christian philosopher poet Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, wrote the lyrics to two hymns for the feast of St. Peter and Paul: "Aurea luce et decore roseo" and "Felix per omnes festum mundi cardines".

Well, it's definitely worth putting up another post with the translation of this hymn from that book; it's terrific. Here are the words, in Latin and English:

Felix per omnes festum mundi caardines
Apostolorum praepollet alacriter
Petri beati, Pauli sacratissimi,
Quos Christus almo consecrauit sanguine,
Ecclesiarum deputauit principes.

Hi sunt oliuae duae coram Domino,
Et candelabra luce readiantia,
Praeclara coeli duo luminaria,
Fortian soluunt peccatorum unicula,
Portas Olympi resurent fidelibus.

Habent supernas potestatem claudere
Sermone sedes, pandere splendentia
Limina poli super alta sidera,
Linguae eorum claues coeli factae sunt,
Laruas repellunt ultra mundi limitem.

Petrus beatus catenarum laqueos
Christo iubente rupit mirabiliter,
Custos ouilis, et doctor Ecclesiae,
Pastorquen gregis, conseruator ouium,
Arcet luporum truculentam rabiem.

Quodcumque uinclis super terram strinxerit
Erit in astris religatum fortiter;
Et quod resoluit in terries arbitrio
Erit solumtum super coeli radium;
In fine mundi iudex erit saeculi.

Non impar Paulus huic, doctor gentium,
Electionis templum sacratissiumum,
In morte compar, in corona particeps,
Ambo lucernae et decus ecclesiae,
In orbe claro coruscant uibramine.

O Roma felix, quæ duorum Principum
Es purpurata pretioso sanguine
Excellis omnem mundi pulchritudinem
Non laude tua sed sanctorum meritis,
Quos cruentatis iugulasti gladiis.

Vos ergo modo gloriosi martyres,
Petre beate, Pauli mundi lilium,
Coelestis aulae triumphales milites
Precibus almis uestris nos ab omnibus
Munite malis, ferte super aethera.

Gloria Deo per immense sæcula
Sit tibi Nate decus et imperium,
Honor, potestas, sanctoque Spiritui;
Sit Trinitati salus indiuiduae
Per infinita sæculorum sæcula.
This holy feast through all the quarters of the world
Proclaims the Apostolic might magnifical
Of blessed Peter and of Paul the saint of God,
Whom Christ hath sanctified with his most sacred blood
And made them princes of the churches of the earth.

These are two olive-trees that stand before the Lord,
And candlesticks that shine with never-failing light,
Twin radiant lamps of heaven burning endlessly,
Who loose the heavy chains of sin upon the earth,
And to the faithful rend the great celestial gates.

They have the power to close the halls most excellent
Of heaven by a word, the shining gates to ope
High o’er the shimmering stars that guard the spotless skies;
Their tongues are made the keys of the fair land of God,
They drive the demons past the limits of the world.

Holy Saint Peter breaketh at the Lord’s command
With wondrous power the snares and fetters of the earth;
The guardian of the fold and doctor of the church,
The shepherd of the flock and keeper of the sheep,
He from the cruel rage of wolves doth them protect.

Whate’er upon the earth with chains he shall have bound
Shall be more strongly bound within the halls on high;
And what on earth is loosed by his prevailing word
Shall be made free for aye in heaven’s perfect light;
He shall the world’s end be judge of quick and dead.

Nor is less might to Paul, the teacher of the earth,
A vessel of election holy to the Lord,
Companion in the death, partaker in the crown;
These twain, the light and glory of the church of God,
Shine forth with purest radiance through the whole round world.

O Happy Rome, who are encarnadined and blest
With these thy holy martyrs’ very precious blood,
Who thus excellest every beauty of the earth,
Not by thine own praise, but by merit of the saints
Whom once thou slewest, smiting with the sanguine sword.

So may ye therefore now, ye martyrs glorious,
Peter most blessed, Paul the lily of the world,
Triumphant warriors of the palaces of heaven,
With your most holy intercessions guard us well
From every evil, raising us above the skies.

Glory to God through ages that have never end;
To thee, O Son, be everlasting might and praise,
And power and honour to the Hoy Paraclete;
And to the Undivided Perfect Trinity
Laud through the endless ages of eternity.

"These are two olive-trees that stand before the Lord." "Paul the lily of the world."

Isn't that great?

Ss. Peter and Paul, June 29

The Office hymns for this feast listed at Divinum Officium are Decora lux æternitatis, auream ("With golden radiance bright, with fair and ruddy glow"), for First and Second Vespers, and Beate Pastor, Petre, clemens áccipe ("To Peter, shepherd good, was first by thee assigned") for Lauds. These two, again, are a single original hymn broken into two parts. also prescribes Ætérna Christi múnera ("The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King") - the hymn for Apostles and Evangelists (previously posted here) - as the one used at Matins.

NOTE:  For the Sarum Office hymn listings for the day, see this post:  The Feast of SS. Peter & Paul (June 29)

Here's an image of a page from The Poissy Antiphonal that contains a hymn, in square note notation (at the bottom of the page), that begins Aurea luce et decore roseo - which was the original first line of Decora lux æternitatis, auream (and I believe this was the original longer hymn, as well):

Here is a snippet of the chant in modern notation from MMDB:

This page gives the Latin and English translation of Decora lux æternitatis, auream and says that:
First line of Original Text: Aurea luce et decore roseo. The hymn was considerably altered by the revisers under Pope Urban VIII, in 1632. Including both texts there are at least twelve translations. The complete hymn consists of six stanzas, including the doxology. The order of the stanzas in the complete hymn is as follows: Decora lux; Mundi magister; Beate Pastor Petre; Egregie Doctor Paule; O Roma felix; Sit Trinitati. Note the use made of parts of this hymn on the Feasts of St. Peter’s Chair (hymn 90), and of the Conversion of St. Paul (hymn 91).

Here is the English set of words to Decora lux æternitatis, auream, which I find quite wonderful, from
With golden radiance bright, with fair and ruddy glow,
The Light of Light its beams o'er all the earth doth throw:
This holy-day, whereon to sinners hope is given,
The glorious Martyrdoms give joy to highest heaven.

Earth's teacher, and the guard of heaven's eternal gate,
True lights of all the world, earth's judges dread and great,
The sword-stroke, and the cross to them their victory give,
And now, with laurel crowned, in heaven's high court they live.

O happy city Rome, the precious life-drops shed
By these two noble chiefs thy walls have hallowed,
By nought that is thine own, but by their deeds of worth,
Thy fairness far excéls all beauty else on earth.

Now to the Trinity eternal glory sing;
All honour, virtue, might, and hymns of gladness bring;
He rules the universe in wondrous Unity,
And shall, through all the days of vast eternity. Amen.

Here, for comparison, are the words to Aurea luce et decore roseo at still another Google Book, Latin Hymns: With English Notes for Use in Schools and Colleges, from 1883.

From the other site, here is the page for Beate Pastor, Petre, clemens áccipe; Latin and English words are there.

The book Pange Lingua: Breviary Hymns of Old Uses with an English Rendering (a large PDF!), says of Felix per omnes festum mundi cardines (the hymn itself is found on page 52 by page number of that document) that:
"This hymn was sung at First Vespers of SS. Peter and Paul according to the use of the Church of York, which was followed of old throughout the north of England as that of Sarum was in the south. The seventh verse, in a slightly altered form, now forms part of the Breviary Vesper hymn for the feast, and the fourth and fifth verses are also retained in the Breviary for use on the lesser feasts of St. Peter."

So I think we might find this one listed in the Anglican Breviary; the ones above are obviously from the Roman one.

Interestingly, two of the above hymns were written by a woman, according to Wikipedia:
H. Elpis, wife of Christian philosopher poet Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, wrote the lyrics to two hymns for the feast of St. Peter and Paul: "Aurea luce et decore roseo" and "Felix per omnes festum mundi cardines".

Fr. Stephen Gerth of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin writes of this feast that:
Early Christian tradition records the memory that Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome under Nero, who began a systematic persecution of the Christian community there after the famous fire in A.D. 64. We know little about the first Christians in Rome other than that there were many martyrs. I believe it is correct to say the historical record suggests the local church in Rome was one where the tradition of a single bishop for the city emerged after a period when there was a council of bishops. For those interested in a history of the Papacy, I highly recommend the very readable The Conclave: A Secret and Sometimes Bloody History of Papal Elections (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003) by Michael Walsh, a Roman Catholic historian.

It is very hard to write about Peter and Paul because it is so, so easy to use Christian language and thought of the succeeding generations to describe the lives and work of the first generations. No one who lived while Peter lived thought he was the "pope" - the title was not used for the bishop of Rome until the fourth century. In the Acts of the Apostles, although Peter spoke and was present, it was James of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord, who gives the judgment of the "apostles and elders" on the question of the customs gentiles who became followers of Jesus Christ were to follow. Clearly, like Paul and others, Peter was an "apostle." It is not clear at all that anyone thought of apostles as bishops. The word "bishop," that is, "overseer," is used in the New Testament. What it meant then and what it came to mean are very different things.

That said, there are, of course, some excellent reasons for the Church to celebrate Peter and Paul. Peter knew Jesus, was one of the Twelve, is first to confess Jesus as Christ, and in general takes on a very active role in the Gospel accounts and in the Acts of the Apostles. He betrayed Jesus before dawn on the day Jesus was crucified but also went to the tomb on the first Easter Day. He knew the Risen Lord and became one of the leaders of the first community of Christians in Jerusalem. There is no reason to doubt the tradition of his martyrdom and Paul's martyrdom in Rome and to have the highest reverence for their life and death.

Paul knew and persecuted the first Christians in Jerusalem. The Risen Lord appeared to him and called him to be an apostle. The earliest books of the New Testament are his letters, not the gospels. After Luke, he is the second principal author of the New Testament. The power of his teaching and preaching remain; the power of the Holy Spirit in his life remains. About his apostleship, he wrote, "We are fools . . . We are weak . . . we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things" (See 1 Corinthians 4:9-16).

St. Augustine wrote, in Sermon 295, that:
Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles' blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.

Here's the SS. Petri et Pauli page at Medieval Music Database. And here are the chant propers for the mass, from the Benedictines of Brazil. Here is an mp3 of the Offertory hymn, Constitues eos; below is the chant score. The English translation is: "You will make them princes over all the earth; they will remember your name, oh Lord, in every generation."

For some reason, I really like this El Greco of Peter and Paul:

But then, I like this icon, too:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Full Homely Divinity Alert

Every so often, I put up a post to point people to the wonderful Full Homely Divinity, which calls itself "a website for the Anglican at the Altar and especially for the Anglican in the pew."

And that it is. There is so much to read over there about Anglicanism and its history and approach. This page, in particular, is highly recommended; it contains links to articles such as "The Benedictine Spirit in Anglicanism," "The Monastic Quality of Anglicanism" (a PDF file), and "What is Anglican Theology?."

There is also a music page, here, from which you can access PDFs of "Gradual Psalms for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphanytide of Year B" and Gradual Psalms for Lent and Easter of Year B, for instance. And there's a review of the St. Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter on that page as well, at the bottom. An English translation of the Proclamation of Christmas is there, too, and you can listen to sound files on various pages about the various feasts.

Put Full Homely Divinity in your Bookmarks, and check it out from time to time; they are always updating it with new pages about liturgy and music and devotions and saints and customs and all sorts of things. It's wonderful!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still another Google Books hymn find

This one is Early Christian Hymns: Translations of the Verses of the Most Notable Latin Writers of the Early and Middle Ages, by Daniel Joseph Donahoe, published in 1908.

This one's interesting because it lists hymns by author, and gives some introductory information about the hymn-writer. And there look to be some fascinating and obscure hymns for various occasions here - such as "On the Winding-Sheet (Mysterium Mirabile)" and "Hymn to the Angel Guardians (Custotles Hominum Psallimus)."

St. John the Baptist, Redux

From the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood, here's an mp3 of an English version of Ut Queant Laxis ("Let the Example of Saint John Remind Us"), assigned there to Morning Prayer. I can't find this translation anywhere, but, once again, it's easy enough to listen and memorize it - as monastics through the centuries have always done. I like that method best, these days, personally.

He's using a different tune, though, than the typical one; it's the same tune, in fact, given for this feast day in Hymn melodies for the whole year. This tune is also used as the Lauds hymn tune for the Feast of the Visitation, as well as on other occasions. I've sung it before, myself, and it seems to be a festal hymn tune for Lauds in particular:

I should have linked the chant propers for in Nativitate S. Ioannis Baptistae, too, from the Braziliian Benedictines. So there they are.

And this gives me a chance to link the St. John the Baptist art page at Textweek. It's interesting to me that the Baptist is seen in so many and various ways by so many different people; there's much more variation in his portrayal than in that of any of the other saints, it seems to me. Here's a beauty from Caravaggio:

Here's Donatello's version, on the total other end of the scale:

And then there's Bosch:

Here's one I really like, from Andrea del Sarto, c. 1523:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ut Queant Laxis

Ut Queant Laxis is the First and Second Vespers hymn for the Feast of St. John the Baptist, celebrated on June 24, tomorrow.   It's a famous hymn in musical history- and we all know something about it, without knowing we know something about it: this hymn is where the names "Do-Re-Mi," etc., originated, when used to refer to the musical scale.

Here's a video of the first two stanzas, plus a doxology:

New Advent has a long piece about the hymn; here's an excerpt that explains the Do-Re-Mi connection:
The hymn is written in Sapphic stanzas, of which the first is famous in the history of music for the reason that the notes of the melody corresponding with the initial syllables of the six hemistichs are the first six notes of the diatonic scale of C. This fact led to the syllabic naming of the notes as Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, as may be shown by capitalizing the initial syllables of the hemistichs:
UT queant laxis REsonare fibris
MIra gestorum
FAmuli tuorum,
SOLve polluti LAbii reatum, Sancte Ioannes.

Guido of Arezzo showed his pupils an easier method of determining the sounds of the scale than by the use of the monochord. His method was that of comparison of a known melody with an unknown one which was to be learned, and for this purpose he frequently chose the well-known melody of the "Ut queant laxis" . Against a common view of musical writers, Dom Pothier contends that Guido did not actually give these syllabic names to the notes, did not invent the hexachordal system, etc., but that insensibly the comparison of the melodies led to the syllabic naming.

Here's a score that shows this ascending scale plainly, using only the first verse of the hymn:

Authorship of the hymn is generally credited to Paulus Diaconus, a Benedictine monk who lived in Lombardy during the 8th Cenutry. This is another example of a long hymn broken up into shorter ones for use at the various Office hours of a particular feast or season; the Ut queant laxis section (about the first third of the hymn) is used at Vespers; the Antra deserti teneris sub annis section is used at Matins; and the O nimis felix, meritique celsi section is used at Lauds.

This mp3 is the same recording as in the video above, as far as I can tell.   Below are all the words to the entire hymn, in Latin on the left, with English translation from the Hymner on the right:

Ut queant laxis resonare fibris
Mira gestorum famuli tuorum,
Solve polluti labii reatum,
Sancte Iohannes!

Nuntius celso veniens Olympo
te patri magnum fore nasciturum,
nomen et vitae seriem gerendae
ordine promit.

Ille promissi dubius superni
perdidit promptae modulos loquelae;
sed reformasti genitus peremptae
organa vocis.

Ventris abstruso positus cubili
senseras regem thalamo manentem,
hinc parens nati meritis uterque
abdita pandit.

Antra deserti teneris sub annis
civium turmas fugiens, petisti,
ne levi saltim maculare vitam
famine posses.

Praebuit hirtum tegimen camelus,
artubus sacris strofium bidentis,
cui latex haustum, sociata pastum
mella locustis.

Caeteri tantum cecinere vatum
corde praesago iubar adfuturum;
tu quidem mundi scelus auferentem
indice prodis.

Non fuit vasti spatium per orbis
sanctior quisquam genitus Iohanne,
qui nefas saecli meruit lavantem
tingere limphis.

O nimis felix meritique celsi
nesciens labem nivei pudoris,
prepotens martyr heremique cultor,
maxime vatum!

Serta ter denis alios coronant
aucta crementis, duplicata quosdam;
trina centeno cumulata fructu
te, sacer, ornant.

Nunc potens nostri meritis opimis
pectoris duros lapides repelle
asperum planans iter, et reflexos
dirige calles,

ut pius mundi sator et redemptor
mentibus pulsa luvione puris
rite dignetur veniens sacratos
ponere gressus.

Laudibus cives celebrant superni
te, deus simplex pariterque trine,
supplices ac nos veniam precamur:
parce redemptis!
O for thy Spirit, Holy John, to chasten,
Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen,
So by thy children might thy deeds of wonder
Meetly be chaunted

Lo ! a swift herald, from the skies descending,
Bears to thy father promise of thy greatness ;
How he shall name thee, what thy future story,
Duly revealing.

Scarcely believing message so transcendent,
Him for a season power of speech forsaketh,
Till, at thy wondrous birth, again returneth
Voice to the voiceless.

Thou, in thy mother's womb all darkly cradled,
Knewest thy Monarch, biding in his chamber,
Whence the two parents, through their children's merits,
Mysteries utter'd.

Thou, in thy childhood, to the desert caverns
Fleddest for refuge from the cities' turmoil,
Where the world's slander might not dim thy lustre,
Lonely abiding.

Camel's hair raiment clothed thy saintly members ;
Leathern the girdle which thy loins encircled ;
Locusts and honey, with the fountain-water,
Daily sustain'd thee.

Oft in past ages, seers with hearts expectant,
Sang the far-distant advent of the Day-Star,
Thine was the glory, as the world's Redeemer,
First to proclaim him.

Far as the wide world reacheth, born of women,
Holier was there none than John the Baptist;
Meetly in water laving him who cleanseth
Man from pollution.

O More than blessed, merit high attaining,
Pure as the snow-drift, innocent of evil,
Child of the desert, mightiest of martyrs,
Greatest of prophets.

Thirty-fold increase some with glory crowneth ;
Sixty-fold fruitage prize for others winneth;
Hundred-fold measure, thrice repeated, decks thee,
Blest one, for guerdon.

O may the virtue of thine intercession,
All stony hardness from our hearts expelling,
Smooth the rough places, and the crooked straighten
Here in the desert.

Thus may our gracious Maker and Redeemer,
Seeking a station for his hallow'd footsteps,
Find, when he cometh, temples undefiled,
Meet to receive him.

Now as the Angels celebrate thy praises,
Godhead essential, Trinity co-equal ;
Spare thy redeem'd ones, as they bow before thee,
Pardon imploring. Amen.

As you can see, this hymn is in my favorite meter: 11 11 11 5, called the "Sapphic and Adonic meter," apparently. You can follow along with the square notes at this PDF offered on the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum website, or using the image of that file below:

(FYI, Hymn melodies for the whole year provides different melodies than the one given above - but this one is quite famous and in fact uniquely interesting, for the reasons given above, so I'm concentrating on it instead.)

Here's the Medieval Music Database S. Joannis Baptistae page; all the antiphons, responsories, and hymns for the day are listed there.

And from Musica Sacra, here's the Ut Queant Laxis Mug.

Here is Leonardo DaVinci's Baptist; it's in the Louvre. Very Mona-Lisa-ish, don't you think? I've never seen it before, and I like it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Phos

I have previously posted some chant scores of a few different version of the Phos Hilaron - the ancient hymn sung during the opening moments of Vespers. (Phos Hilaron means, literally, "Hilarious light.")

But I didn't have music to post for any of those. Here's an mp3 of a version that the St. David's Compline Choir uses, though; it's much better to learn to sing by ear anyway, I think.

O Gracious Light Phos hilaron

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Here's the Wikipedia entry for the Phos Hilaron. Here's Evening Prayer, Rite II, from BCPOnline.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle

Hymn Melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books lists a variety of hymns to be sung on the feast days of Apostles and Evangelists (see the full listing for Apostles & Evangelists here). (That is, with the exception of a few, such as Peter, Paul, and sometimes John, who get their own dedicated hymns).

The LLPB provides two mp3s that match up with Hymn Melodies for the whole year. First, the hymn listed for Lauds and Evening Prayer (using two different tunes): "Let the Round World With Songs Rejoice" (mp3), which in Latin is Exultet caelum laudibus. Here is the chant score for this melody, the one listed for Evensong:

And here are the words used here:
Let the round world with songs rejoice;
let heaven return the joyful voice;
all mindful of the Apostles' fame,
let heaven and earth their praise proclaim.

Ye servants who once bore the light
of Gospel truth o'er heathen night,
still may your work that light impart,
to glad our eyes and cheer our heart.

O God, by whom to them was given
the key that shuts and opens heaven,
our chains unbind, our loss repair,
and grant us grace to enter there;

for at thy will they preached the word
which cured disease, which health conferred:
O may that healing power once more
our souls to grace and health restore:

that when thy Son again shall come,
and speak the world's unerring doom,
he may with them pronounce us blessed,
and place us in thy endless rest.

To thee, O Father; Son, to thee;
to thee, blessed Spirit, glory be!
So was it ay for ages past,
so shall through endless ages last.

Second, "The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King" (mp3); in Latin, this is Aeterna Christi Munera. I've linked to the St. David's Compline Choir version of this before; here it is again. Here's the chant score:

The words used on these mp3s are in the 1982 Hymnal at #233, and originally come from the 1940 hymnal, it says; here's a translation by J.M. Neale of the original words from Ambrose; this isn't the exact version used on either mp3.
The eternal gifts of Christ the King,
the apostles' glory, let us sing,
and all, with hearts of gladness, raise
due hymns of thankful love and praise.

For they the Church's princes are,
triumphant leaders in the war,
in heavenly courts a warrior band,
true lights to lighten every land.

Theirs is the steadfast faith of saints,
and hope that never yields nor faints;
and love of Christ in perfect glow
that lays the prince of this world low.

In them the Father's glory shone,
in them the will of God the Son,
in them exults the Holy Ghost,
through them rejoice the heavenly host.

To thee, Redeemer, now we cry,
that thou wouldst join to them on high
thy servants, who this grace implore,
for ever and for evermore.

Here is the version from my sources, which is unlike any of the above; I'm not sure of its derivation.

Here's Mission St. Clare on Barnabas:
"Joseph, a Levite, born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (son of encouragement), sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles." (Acts 4:36f). This is the first mention we have of Barnabas.

His new name fits what we know of his actions. When Saul (or Paul) came to Jerusalem after his conversion, most of the Christians there wanted nothing to do with him. They had known him as a persecutor and an enemy of the Church. But Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. He looked him up, spoke with him, and brought him to see the other Christians, vouching for him. Later, Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey together, taking Mark with them. Part way, Mark turned back and went home. When Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on another such journey, Barnabas proposed to take Mark along, and Paul was against it, saying that Mark had shown himself undependable. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance, and so he and Mark went off on one journey, while Paul took Silas and went on another. Apparently Mark responded well to the trust given him by the "son of encouragement," since we find that Paul later speaks of him as a valuable assistant (2 Tim 4:11; see also Col 4:10 and Phil 24).


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