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:


Robin Humphrey said...

This is very interesting and informative. Thanks for the web site. My church has a group studying Gregorian chant, so we are looking for sources.

bls said...

Thanks very much for coming by and stopping to comment. Check the sidebar for links within this blog and to outside sources; there is a lot out there these days.

I've tried to focus on melody here, and on ear-singing, because I learned to sing Psalms and Office hymns that way. So I've included lots of mp3s and videos.

Feel free to ask any questions; it's a big topic and I might not know the answer, but would be happy to help if I can.

Ricardo Leal said...

A great companion to the liturgy of the hours in Latin: I´m a benedictine oblate and have just learned to sing the Advent "Verbum supernum prodiens" through your very simple and didactic presentation here, with mp3 and the score. Thank you and happy Christmas.

Ricardo Leal said...

Btw, I think the "sancto" drops off in the doxology and we sing "cum spiritu paraclito", right?

bls said...

Thanks for letting me know about learning the hymn here! It's always great to have comments like that.

I'm sure you're right about Spiritu Paraclito (although I almost never sing any of the hymns in Latin myself). The line just has way too many syllables if you leave "Sancto" in there. Probably TPL just made a transcription error there.

Thanks again, and all blessings of the season to you as well!


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