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:


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