Saturday, May 31, 2008

Office Hymns for the Feast of the Visitation (now May 31, although once July 2)

From Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum Service-books:
On the Feast of the Visitation of the B. V. Mary (July 2) & during the 8ve (when the Service is of the Feast) :
Evensong:   Festum matris gloriose ... ... ... 67
MattinsMundi salus affutura ... ... ... 45
LaudsO salutaris ... ... ... ... 56

As you can see, this feast was once celebrated on July 2; Wikipedia says this:
This feast is of medieval origin. It was kept by the Franciscan Order before 1263 when St. Bonaventure recommended it, and the Francisian chapter adopted it. The Franciscan breviary spread it to many churches, but it was only universally adopted in 1389, when Pope Urban VI extended it for the whole Church, to be celebrated on 2 July, a date that was kept in the Tridentine Calendar. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration to 31 May, between the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and that of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, "so that it would harmonize better with the Gospel story".[1] In the Anglican Common Worship, the date of 31 May is adopted, although the 1662 Book of Common Prayer has the 2 July date.

And the May 31 date does make more sense. According to New Advent, "Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal equinox, Mary left Nazareth at the end of March and went over the mountains to Hebron, south of Jerusalem, to wait upon her cousin Elizabeth....")

You can follow along with the Offices on the day at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885)); this listing is for its old date, July 2   I'll link-in via iFrame to the SSM book at the bottom of the post too.

Unfortunately, I don't have sound files for any of these hymns, but all three of them use melodies found at other feasts (see those sound files below).  Following is the lowdown.

For Vespers, it's Festum matris gloriose, which LLPB's book of hymn names lists as "Now in the holy celebration," and which is in the Hymner, translated, at this page.   This is the same melody as Tibi Christe, splendor patri, the Vespers hymn for The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.  Here's G. Vianini's version of that hymn, so you can have the tune:

Here is the chant score:

Oremus hymnal offers these words for a hymn of that name:
Now in holy celebration
sing we of that Mother blest,
in whose flesh for men's salvation
God incarnate deigned to rest,
when a kindred salutation
named in faith the mystic Guest.

Lo, the advent Word confessing,
spake for joy the voice yet dumb,
through his mother's lips addressing
her, of motherhood the sum,--
bower of beauty, blest and blessing,
crowned with fruit of life to come.

"Whence," she cried, at that fair meeting,
"comes to me this great reward?
For when I first heard the greeting
of the Mother of my Lord,
in my womb, the joy repeating,
leapt my babe in sweet accord!"

Lo, at that glad commendation
joy found voice, in Mary's breast
while in holy exultation
she her Maker's power confessed,
at whose word each generation
now henceforward names her blest.

Triune Godhead, health supplying,
Ruler of eternity,
on the fount of grace relying,
we uplift our hearts to thee,
praying that in realms undying
we at one with Life may be.

For Mattins, the hymn is Mundi salus affutura - "Portal of the world's salvation."    Here's a midi of the plainsong; iinterestingly, it's the same tune as is used for Urbs beata Ierusalem and Angulare fundamentum, the two office hymns used on the Feast of the Dedication of a Church.  (This in a way makes sense, since Mary herself is Mater Ecclesia.)  This uses the same tune as the Transfiguration hymn, English translation in the Hymner here, and here's the chant score:

Oremus has words for this one, too:
Portal of the world's salvation,
lo, a Virgin pure and mild,
humble-hearted, high in station,
form of beauty undefiled,
crown of earth's anticipation,
comes the Mother-maid with child.

Here the serpent's power subduing,
see the bush unburned by fire,
Gideon's fleece of heaven's imbuing,
Aaron's rod of bright attire,
fair, and pure, and peace-ensuing,
spouse of Solomon's desire.

Jesse's branch received its flower,
Mother of Emmanuel,
portal sealed and mystic bower
promised by Ezekiel,
rock of Daniel's dream, whose power
smote, and lo, the image fell!

See in flesh so great a wonder
by the power of God ordained,--
him, whose feet all worlds lay under,
in a Virgin's womb contained;--
so on earth, her bonds to sunder,
righteousness from heaven hath rained.

Virgin sweet, with love o'erflowing,
to the hills in haste she fares;
on a kindred bestowing
blessing from the joy she bears;
waiting while with mystic showing
time the sacred birth prepares.

What fair joy o'ershone that dwelling,
called so great a guest to greet;
what her joy whose love compelling
found a rest for Mary's feet,
when, the bliss of time foretelling,
lo, the Voice and Word did meet!

God most high, the heaven's foundation,
ruler of eternity;
Jesus, who for man's salvation
came in flesh to make us free;
Spirit, moving all creation,
evermore be praise to thee!

For Lauds: O salutaris.   This is not the famous "O Salutaris Hostia" but rather O salutaris fulgens stella marisIt apparently comes from the Paris Breviary; I found, in this issue of The Dublin Review at Google Books, this entry about this hymn:
The hymn at Lauds is written in Sapphic verse, and is, in its way, no leass beautiful than the former.  The poet begins by invoking that "bright and guiding ocean star which brought forth the Sun of Righteousness."
O salutaris fulgens stella maris,
Generans prolem veritatis solem
Mater bonorum clemens famulorum
Suscipe votum.]
More at the link.  There is a Google book containing the Latin words here, but I've yet to find a complete set of words in English; still looking.  

This melody is also used at Purification for another hymn, and at a couple of the other Marian feasts.  The tune is the same one Hymn melodies gives for Iste Confessor (as here for the Feast Day of Martin of Tours); the tune is the one on this mp3, from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood.  (The words sung on that sound file are those of Iste Confessor, not O Salutaris.)  The same melody is used at the Feast of the Transfiguration for the Mattins hymn O Sator Rerum, for the St. John the Baptist Vespers hymn Ut queant laxis, and at numerous other offices at various times. 

Here are the Latin words from above:

O salutaris fulgens stella maris
generans prolem veritatis solem
mater bonorum clemens famulorum
suscipe votum.

Congratulamur et tuas conaraur
canere laudes que deo congaudes
sed non condignis prevalemus ympnis
dicere totum.

Quam veterana traxit in montana
gressu festina rosa matutina
tibi jubilamus concelebramus
hec tua festa.

Vocem rachelis exaudi de celis
que te nunc orat filiosque plorat
potens regina gratia divina
pellere mesta.

O mediatrix orbis reparatrix
laus angelorum salus infirmorum
spes feminarum hostem animarum
reprime sevum.

Sit benedicta trinitas invicta
per quam beata virgo coronata
meruit frui fructus ventris sui
nunc et in evum.  Amen.

(I'm starting to recognize most of these words at this point; perhaps one day I'll be able to dash off an English translation on the spot.  I'm not sure today's the day - but it'll be soon, I think!)

Here's the chant score:

And here's the SSM Breviary peek-in, as promised:

In Visitatione Beatæ Mariæ Virginis

Beata Es, Virgo Maria is the Offertory for today's Feast of the Visitation. Here's a video of this beautifully melismatic chant:

Here's the full chant score:

The words in English are: "Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, who didst bear the Creator of all things: thou didst bring forth Him Who made thee, and remainest forever a virgin. Alleluia."

Here is an mp3 of Beata Es, Virgo Maria from the Brazilian Benedictines, and here are all the mass chants and chant scores for this feast from their site.

I don't have the list of office hymns that are sung specifically on this day - but the LLPB appoints this hymn, "The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky" (that's the mp3) (Quem terra, pontus, aethera) to "The Common of Saints - A hymn about the Blessed Virgin Mary." This one is, in fact, very fitting for The Visitation. And of course, the Visitation itself (from Luke 1:39-56) is the source of the Magnificat, the canticle sung every day at Vespers.
Here's the TPL page for this hymn, where it says:
This hymn was composed by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), Bishop of Poitiers, and has been an important part of devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary since the early Middle Ages. Today it is used in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary daily as a hymn for the Office of the Readings and also as the hymn for Friday Lauds. In the Liturgy of the Hours it is found in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the hymn for the Office of the Readings.

Ah, Fortunatus - my favorite! TPL, in fact, has an entire section devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Here is Textweek's page of art images for this feast; here's one from 1306, by Giotto di Bondone:

Here's the description of this fresco at Web Gallery of Art:
The pregnant Mother of God and her two companions visit Elizabeth, who is expecting John the Baptist. The two women embrace in front of the portico. As so often, Giotto places the intensity of the encounter in the exchange of glances. Beneath this fresco the wall, decorated with painted marble, appears to open up: Giotto here shows us a view of a chapel with cross-rib vaulting and a narrow Gothic window. A chandelier hangs from the vertex of the vault defining the depth of this unusual, illusionistically painted space.

The figure in the right was strongly damaged by the humidity.

From "Speaking to the Soul," at Episcopal Cafe:
At first I had no idea where the lovely Magnificat we sang every night was from: “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46). When I eventually found it in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, I was startled but glad to see that it was one pregnant woman’s response to a blessing from another. It is the song Mary sings after she has walked to her cousin Elizabeth’s village, and on greeting Mary, Elizabeth, who is bearing John the Baptist, recognizes that Mary bears the Messiah. . . .

The Magnificat’s message is so subversive that for a period during the 1980s the government of Guatemala banned its public recitation (a sanction that I’m sure the monasteries in that country violated daily). But when I came to its words knowing so little about them, I found that all too often they were words I could sing with ease at evening prayer, with a facile (and sometimes sleepy) acceptance. On other nights, however, they were a mother’s words, probing uncomfortably into my life. How rich had I been that day, how full of myself? Too full to recognize need and hunger, my own or anyone else’s? So powerfully providing for myself that I couldn’t admit my need for the help of others? Too busy to know a blessing when it came to me?

From “Virgin Mary, Mother of God” in Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris (Riverhead Books, 1998).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Learning Gregorian chant with the help of GNU Solfege - interval recognition"

A long article on the topic at the blog of the Recovering Choir Director:
A reader inquired about how he could use the GNU Solfege freeware ear-training program to help acquire foundational skills required to learn Gregorian Chant. This is an interesting question; GNU Solfege covers a lot of material beyond the minimum required for Gregorian Chant, and yet lacks features best addressed by actually singing in a schola cantorum or at a Mass where singing of the chant is regularly employed.

This tutorial will show the student of chant how to use GNU Solfege to solidify recognition of the subset of melodic intervals employed in Gregorian chant. The only prerequisite to this tutorial is that the student can recognize pitches. Terminology unfamiliar to the student will become more familiar once he begins to assimilate the tutorial into his mind’s ear.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Chants of India"

At Speaking of Faith (and since I'm interested in chant of all kinds):
Sanskrit chants from the Vedas, Upanishads, and other texts have been handed down through the centuries by Traditional Scholars in India. In these renditions, Ravi Shankar reconfigured existing forms and composed new numbers to convey the spiritual force of these Sanskrit mantras and chants.

Oftentimes, it's the repetitive use of mantras that calls upon the internal spiritual self. And, it's the primordial, and shortest, sacred sound Aum or Om that is used before or after each prayer.

These chants, Shankar notes, "were mainly prayers for the well being of the universe, physical, mental, and spiritual selves of everyone, without pollution, turmoil, illness, discomfort, and misery of any kind and for overall Shanti (peace)."

Listen to a sampling of these musical forms and read the English transliterations and translations of the Sanskrit.

Here's a beautiful one:

Asato Maa
Om Asato Maa Sadgamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maa Amrtam Gamaya.
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih.
O, Lord please lead me from the unreal to the real.
Lead me from darkness to light (i.e. from ignorance to knowledge).
Lead me from death to immortality.
May there be peace, peace and perfect peace.

Here's another:

Sahanaa Vavatu
Om Saha Naavavatu Saha Nau Bhunaktu
Saha Veeryam Karavaavahai.
Tejasvi Naavadheetamastu
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih.
May the Lord protect us together.
May he nourish us together.
May we work together uniting our strength
for the good of humanity.
May our learning be luminous and
purposeful. May we never hate one another.
May there be peace, peace, and perfect peace.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lauda Sion Salvatorem

Lauda Sion Salvatorem is the Sequence Hymn for the Feast of Corpus Christi, which occurs this year on Thursday, May 22 but will be celebrated at many parishes (including St. Mary the Virgin in New York) this Sunday.

Here's TPL on the hymn:
When Pope Urban IV (1261-1264) first established the Feast of Corpus Christi, he requested St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) to compose hymns for it. This is one of the five beautiful hymns Aquinas composed in honor of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In addition to Lauda Sion, St. Thomas wrote Adoro Te Devote, Pange Lingua, Sacris Sollemnis and Verbum Supernum. Lauda Sion is the Sequence before the Gospel on Corpus Christi. The last two verses comprise the well known Bone pastor, panis vere.

Here's a video of the hymn, sung by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint Maurice et Saint Maur de Clervaux.

Here is the mp3 of this hymn, sung by the Benedictines of Brazil; here is a chant score of the hymn from the same source

It's a pretty hymn, isn't it? Here are the words in Latin and English, which speaks very plainly a belief in transubstantiation:

Lauda Sion Salvatórem
Lauda ducem et pastórem
In hymnis et cánticis.
Quantum potes, tantum aude:
Quia major omni laude,
Nec laudáre súfficis.

Laudis thema speciális,
Panis vivus et vitális,
Hódie propónitur.

Quem in sacræ mensa cœnæ,
Turbæ fratrum duodénæ
Datum non ambígitur.

Sit laus plena, sit sonóra,
Sit jucúnda, sit decóra
Mentis jubilátio.

Dies enim solémnis ágitur,
In qua mensæ prima recólitur
Hujus institútio.

In hac mensa novi Regis,
Novum Pascha novæ legis,
Phase vetus términat.

Vetustátem nóvitas,
Umbram fugat véritas,
Noctem lux elíminat.

Quod in cœna Christus gessit,
Faciéndum hoc expréssit
In sui memóriam.

Docti sacris institútis,
Panem, vinum, in salútis
Consecrámus hóstiam.

Dogma datur Christiánis,
Quod in carnem transit panis,
Et vinum in sánguinem.

Quod non capis, quod non vides,
Animósa firmat fides,
Præter rerum ordinem.

Sub divérsis speciébus,
Signis tantum, et non rebus,
Latent res exímiæ.

Caro cibus, sanguis potus:
Manet tamen Christus totus,
Sub utráque spécie.

A suménte non concísus,
Non confráctus, non divísus:
Integer accípitur.

Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
Quantum isti, tantum ille:
Nec sumptus consúmitur.

Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
Sorte tamen inæquáli,
Vitæ vel intéritus.

Mors est malis, vita bonis:
Vide paris sumptiónis
Quam sit dispar éxitus.

Fracto demum Sacraménto,
Ne vacílles, sed memento,
Tantum esse sub fragménto,
Quantum toto tégitur.

Nulla rei fit scissúra:
Signi tantum fit fractúra:
Qua nec status nec statúra
Signáti minúitur.

Ecce panis Angelórum,
Factus cibus viatórum:
Vere panis fíliórum,
Non mittendus cánibus.

In figúris præsignátur,
Cum Isaac immolátur:
Agnus paschæ deputátur
Datur manna pátribus.

Bone pastor, panis vere,
Jesu, nostri miserére:
Tu nos pasce, nos tuére:
Tu nos bona fac vidére
In terra vivéntium.

Tu, qui cuncta scis et vales:
Qui nos pascis hic mortales:
Tuos ibi commensáles,
Cohærédes et sodales,
Fac sanctórum cívium.
Amen. Allelúja.

Sion, lift up thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Savior and thy King,
Praise with hymns thy shepherd true.

All thou canst, do thou endeavour:
Yet thy praise can equal never
Such as merits thy great King.

See today before us laid
The living and life-giving Bread,
Theme for praise and joy profound.

The same which at the sacred board
Was, by our incarnate Lord,
Giv'n to His Apostles round.

Let the praise be loud and high:
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt today in every breast.

On this festival divine
Which records the origin
Of the glorious Eucharist.

On this table of the King,
Our new Paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite.

Here, for empty shadows fled,
Is reality instead,
Here, instead of darkness, light.

His own act, at supper seated
Christ ordain'd to be repeated
In His memory divine;

Wherefore now, with adoration,
We, the host of our salvation,
Consecrate from bread and wine.

Hear, what holy Church maintaineth,
That the bread its substance changeth
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.

Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of sight transcending
Leaps to things not understood.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things, to sense forbidden,
Signs, not things, are all we see.

Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
Yet is Christ in either sign,
All entire, confessed to be.

They, who of Him here partake,
Sever not, nor rend, nor break:
But, entire, their Lord receive.

Whether one or thousands eat:
All receive the self-same meat:
Nor the less for others leave.

Both the wicked and the good
Eat of this celestial Food:
But with ends how opposite!

Here 't is life: and there 't is death:
The same, yet issuing to each
In a difference infinite.

Nor a single doubt retain,
When they break the Host in twain,
But that in each part remains
What was in the whole before.

Since the simple sign alone
Suffers change in state or form:
The signified remaining one
And the same for evermore.

Lo! bread of the Angels broken,
For us pilgrims food, and token
Of the promise by Christ spoken,
Children’s meat, to dogs denied.

Shewn in Isaac's dedication,
In the manna's preparation:
In the Paschal immolation,
In old types pre-signified.

Jesu, shepherd of the sheep:
Thou thy flock in safety keep,
Living bread, thy life supply:
Strengthen us, or else we die,
Fill us with celestial grace.

Thou, who feedest us below:
Source of all we have or know:
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love,
We may see Thee face to face.
Amen. Alleluia.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Chant CD

The folks at New Liturgical Movement are over the moon about this new release (or, rather, this new yet to be released - not till July 1 - CD): Chant: Music For The Soul, recorded by "The Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz."

There is even a website dedicated entirely to the CD; some audio clips play when you go there, and they've left a link to a video clip also. The singing is quite lovely.

The Book of Common Prayer, Noted

Or, rather, The Booke of Common Praier, Noted. At Google Books, from John Merbecke, 1550.

Here's something about Merbecke
John Marbeck, Merbeck or Merbecke (c. 1510 – c. 1585) was an English theological writer and musician who produced a standard setting of the Anglican liturgy.

Probably a native of Beverley in Yorkshire, Merbecke appears to have been a boy chorister at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and was employed as an organist there from about 1541. Two years later he was convicted with three others of heresy and sentenced to the stake, but received a pardon owing to the intervention of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. An English Concordance of the Bible which Marbeck had been preparing was however confiscated and destroyed. A later version of this work, the first of its kind in English, was published in 1550 with a dedication to Edward VI.

In the same year Marbeck published his Booke of Common Praier Noted, intended to provide for musical uniformity in the use of the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. This set the liturgy to semi-rhythmical melodies partly adapted from Gregorian chant; it was rendered obsolete when the Prayer Book was revised in 1552. It was however rediscovered in the 19th century, and adaptations for the 1662 liturgy are still in use. Marbeck wrote several devotional and controversial works of a strongly Calvinistic character, and a number of his musical compositions are preserved in manuscript in the British Library, and at Oxford and Cambridge. He died, probably while still organist at Windsor, about 1585.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Trinity Sunday at FHD

Full Homely Divinity has a new page about Trinity Sunday; some really nice Celtic poetic prayers can be found there.

For instance, "Michael the Victorious":

THOU Michael the victorious,
I make my circuit under thy shield,
Thou Michael of the white steed,
And of the bright brilliant blades,
Conqueror of the dragon,
Be thou at my back,
Thou ranger of the heavens,
Thou warrior of the King of all,
O Michael the victorious,
My pride and my guide,
O Michael the victorious,
The glory of mine eye.

I make my circuit
In the fellowship of my saint,
On the machair, on the meadow,
On the cold heathery hill;
Though I should travel ocean
And the hard globe of the world
No harm can e’er befall me
’Neath the shelter of thy shield;
O Michael the victorious,
Jewel of my heart,
O Michael the victorious,
God's shepherd thou art.

Be the sacred Three of Glory
Aye at peace with me,
With my horses, with my cattle,
With my woolly sheep in flocks.
With the crops growing in the field
Or ripening in the sheaf,
On the machair, on the moor,
In cole, in heap, or stack.
Every thing on high or low,
Every furnishing and flock,
Belong to the holy Triune of glory,
And to Michael the victorious.

Not necessarily a "chant" post - unless you put St. Patrick's Breastplate in that category. (Which I think you could....)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Te Deum

The Te Deum is a very beautiful and very old hymn; many attribute it to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (Romatiana) in what is now Servia, who was born about 335 and died about 414. Others attribute it to Ambrose. The hymn is chanted on very special occasions, and in particular on occasions of great thanksgiving. This long article about the Te Deum at CanticaNova (also found at New Advent) discusses the possible provenance and the musical structure of the hymn, and notes that:
The general rubrics (titulus XXXI) of the Roman Breviary direct the recitation of the Te Deum at the end of Matins:
(a) on all feasts throughout the year, whether of nine or of three lessons, and throughout their octaves. It is said on the octave day of the feast of the Holy Innocents, but not on the feast itself unless this should fall on Sunday;
(b) on all Sundays from Easter (inclusively) to Advent (exclusively) and from Christmas (inclusively) to Septuagesima (exclusively);
(c) on all ferial days during Eastertide (namely from Low Sunday to Ascension Day) except Rogation Monday.

For the sake of greater explicitness, the rubrics add that it is not said on the Sundays of Advent, or from Septuagesima to Palm Sunday inclusively, or on ferial days outside of Eastertide. It is said immediately after the last lesson, and therefore replaces the third or ninth responsory, as the case may be; but on days when it is not said, its place is occupied by the responsory. The Te Deum is followed immediately by Lauds except on Christmas Day (when it is followed by the prayer, and this is Mass). In general, the Te Deum may be said to follow the same rubric as the Gloria in excelsis at Mass.
In addition to its use in the Divine Office, the Te Deum is occasionally sung in thanksgiving to God for some special blessing (eg. the election of a pope, the consecration of a bishop, the canonization of a saint, the profession of a religious, the publication of a treaty of peace, a royal coronation, etc.), and then usually after Mass or Divine Office, or as a separate religious ceremony. When sung thus immediately before or after Mass, the celebrant, who intones the hymn, may wear the vestments appropriate in colour to the day, unless these should happen to be black. Otherwise, while the rubrics prescribe no special colour, violet is forbidden in processions of thanksgiving (pro gratiarum actione), green is inappropriate for such solemn occasions, red (though permissible) would not suggest itself, unless some such feast as Pentecost, for example, should call for it. White, therefore, or gold, which is considered its equivalent, is thus left as the most suitable colour. The choir and congregation sing the hymn standing, even when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, but kneel during the verse "Te ergo quaesumus..." At the end the versicles "Benedicamus Patrem..." are added, followed by the single prayer "Deus cujus misericordiae."

I've heard it sung several times at occasions of great thanksgiving, at least twice at the profession of final monastic vows. It is a truly wonderful moment - a moment of an indescribable sense of joy.

It is also often sung on Trinity Sunday - the Sunday after Pentecost - at the end of the mass or at the end of Evensong. Sometimes this is a "Solemn Te Deum," and two thurifers stand on either side of the altar and swing the thuribles throughout the the song, and bells are rung and incense splendidly rises. Glorious.

The last words of Shakespeare's "Henry V" are these, spoken by the King, after the battle of Agincourt:
Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung 'Non nobis' and 'Te Deum;'
The dead with charity enclosed in clay:
And then to Calais; and to England then:
Where ne'er from France arrived more happy men.
Here's a Te Deum Simplex (i.e., sung to the Simple Tone, as opposed to the video above, sung to the Solemn Tone):

Here's an mp3 from the Brazilian Benedictines. Here's the blurb about this there:
In occasions of thaksgiving the Te Deum hymn is used; it's more known versions are the Simple and the Solemn, but there's also a third version, more roman style, which follows.

Here is the chant score of the solemn Te Deum.

Here is an .ogg file of the Te Deum (labeled as a "solemn tone"), found at Wikipedia; here's another, labeled "Pontifical Mass."

Here is the Latin, and the translation in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; this translation is still used in Rite I (although it is slightly altered, I believe; would have to get out the book and check to make sure):

Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli;
tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus
Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra
maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti
credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni:
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum,
Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te;
Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua,
Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.
We praise thee, O God
we acknowledge thee to be the Lord
All the earth doth worship thee
the Father everlasting.
To thee all the angels cry aloud
the heavens and all the powers therein.
To thee cherubim and seraphim do continually cry
Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth
are full of the majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee.
The noble army of martyrs praise thee.
The Holy Church
throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
the father of an infinite majesty;
thine honourable true and only Son;
also the Holy Ghost the comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man,
thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,
thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the hand of God in glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants,
whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting
O Lord save thy people
and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
and worship thy name, ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord in thee have I trusted let me not be confounded.

"O Lord save thy people and bless thine heritage," from Psalm 28, has of course showed up in the Suffrages in the Book of Common Prayer.

Here are mp3s and chant scores for all the Propers of the mass of Sanctissimæ Trinitatis - Trinity Sunday - always the Sunday following Pentecost. Of special note is the introit, Benedicta sit; here is the mp3 and here is the chant score/

Here's a video of an organ solo of the Charpentier Te Deum, just for fun:

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Music of the Sarum Office"

From this page:
The Sarum Rite of the Western Church grew up through the period 1000-1500, and was used throughout much of Britain and parts of North-Western Europe. Sources for this rite exist in a considerable number of manuscripts as well as a large number of printed editions dating from the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Under the rule of Elizabeth I, the Sarum Rite was finally abolished and replaced (in England) by the Book of Common Prayer. In the past two decades, Nick Sandon has published the greater part of the music of the Sarum mass in a fine series of editions published by Antico Music. The Gregorian Institute of Canada has now begun the publication of the Music of the Sarum Office, containing the full text and music of all the services of the office for all Sundays, Week-days, Feasts and Fasts of the Year and Saints Days. This edition, comprising approximately 5000 pages of text and music, will in the first instance be published serially in PDF format. Each installment, which will contain approximately 250 pages of the edition, will be reviewed for content and accuracy by an Advisory Board before publication. Publication began in January 2006. New installments are published every six months.

Here's the downloads page, where there have been recent revisions and additions (although this is definitely a work-in-progress, as many files have not yet been added). Here's what the intro paragraphs there say:
The following files are or will be available in .PDF format, beginning in January 2006. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read and print them. Each file name is followed by its original and most recent upload dates. Unlinked files are in preparation.

Since the spring of 2007 there has been an entire revision of the Psalter [A-1 through A-12] and the Temporale [B-1 through B-5]. This revision includes accents for all sung or spoken texts as well as references to the index numbers of the CANTUS database of Latin Ecclesiastical Chant.

P.S.: In case you're interested, here's a little PDF pamphlet titled "The Sarum Use," written "By the Reverend Canon J. Robert Wright, Historiographer for the Episcopal Church" - which, it says, was "An unpublished address given at the Miller Theatre, Columbia University, on January 26, 2002." Don't say I never gave you anything.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Hymns for Pentecost

Pentecost (or "Whitsunday" in the Anglican tradition, because it was a day for Baptism when people dressed in white) is a top-level feast when it comes to hymnody in particular and chant in general. [EDIT: As always, don't forget to check at Full Homely Divinity for more about Pentecost.]

Here's a video of of one of the most well-known of all Christian hymns, Veni Creator Spiritus, sung by the Schola Cantorum of Amsterdam Students:

Here are the words in Latin and English from the page at the above link:

VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.
COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

The page at the link also has this to say about the hymn:
One of the most widely used hymns in the Church, Veni, Creator Spiritus, is attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856). It is used at Vespers, Pentecost, Dedication of a Church, Confirmation, and Holy Orders and whenever the Holy Spirit is solemnly invoked. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it. A plenary indulgence is granted if it is recited on January 1st or on the feast of Pentecost.

This hymn is #504 in the 1982 hymnal, and I do very much love to sing it; it's just about perfect as music goes, I think.   These are the English words from that source (tr. John Cosin, 1594-1672); I like these better than the version above:
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost Thy seven-fold gifts impart.

Thy blessèd unction from above
Is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
The dulness of our blinded sight.

Anoint and cheer our soilèd face
With the abundance of Thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
Where Thou art guide, no ill can come.

Teach us to know the Father, Son,
And Thee of both to be but one,
That, through the ages all along,
This may be our endless song;

Praise to Thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Here's an audio file of the same hymn, from

Another gorgeous hymn for Pentecost is the Sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus:

Here's what TPL says about it:
Veni, Sancte Spiritus, known as the Golden Sequence, is the sequence for the Mass for Pentecost. It is commonly regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred Latin poetry ever written. Its beauty and depth have been praised by many. The hymn has been attributed to three different authors, King Robert II the Pious of France (970-1031), Pope Innocent III (1161-1216), and Stephen Langton (d 1228), Archbishop of Canterbury, of which the last is most likely the author.

Here's more about the song:
"Veni Sancte Spiritus" ("Come, Holy Spirit") is the sequentia of the Mass for Pentecost, sung from Whitsunday until the Saturday following, although it is also in many Protestant hymnals. Composed of ten stanzas, this "Golden Sequence," as it's sometimes termed, is—from an hymnologist's perspective, although not a theologian's—slightly odd in being directed entirely to the third Person of the Trinity: most hymns are to the Father or the Son—there's simply more material available on which to base them. General consensus dates the hymn some time between the middle of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The translation below is not mine, but seems decent enough, though non-literal. Although some would chafe at the Elizabethan pronoun usage, it doesn't detract overmuch.

Here's the full score, with the Latin words:

This is the translation referred to above; it's really a very beautiful song:

Holy Spirit, Lord of light,
From the clear celestial height
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure;
Come, thou light of all that live!

Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul's delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill.

If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend.

Give us comfort when we die,
Give us life with thee on high,
Give us joys that never end.


Here's an mp3 of Veni Sancte Spiritus from the Brazilian Benedictines.   Here is the page of all the Pentecost mass chants from the same site.

Here are several mp3 files from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood, for Pentecost:
For Lauds: When Christ Our Lord Had Passed Once More (mp3), Jam Christus astra ascenderat in Latin. It's #42 in Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books; on this page page you will find the words in English and Latin. (The Sarum hymns book calls the Lauds hymn "Impleta gaudent viscera," which again is an extracted portion of the longer Jam Christus astra ascenderat. The latter hymn is listed in the book as the hymn for 1st Vespers and Matins.)

Here's a Versicle for the Feast of Pentecost.

For Vespers: Rejoice, the Year Upon Its Way (mp3), Beata nobis gaudia in Latin. It's #25 in the Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books; the words in English and Latin (though not this English translation) can be found on this page.

For Compline: it's Veni Creator Spiritus, as above.

And a bonus file! A Solemn Nunc Dimittis, with a Pentecost antiphon.

By the way, the site linked above, The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal, seems to be new (and growing as we speak). So there's lots of hymn stuff happening these days!

I'd also like to add that even given all the above, my favorite Pentecost hymn is still "Come Down, O Love Divine," with the tune Down Ampney by RVW.  Here's a wonderful video of the hymn; the singers are the wonderful Choir of King's College, Cambridge:

Here are the splendid words, from Bianco of Siena in the 15th Century:
Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.

It's not my favorite arrangement, but I did find an mp3 of a vocal version worth listening to, on this page.

There are lots of great Pentecost images at Textweek, too. Here are a few nice ones.

This one's a fresco in the Abbey Church at Aldersbach, and was painted by Kosmas Damian Asam, after 1720:

Here's another fresco in the Upper Church at San Francesco, Assisi. It's from the 1290s, and was painted by Giotto di Bondone:

This is Hans Multscher, from 1437; I always like those chunky, square figures. I'm a big fan of 20th Century propaganda and populist (i.e., Thomas Hart Benton) art, too; I just like the style.

Interestingly, the style in Europe, it seems, was to put Mary in the center of the scene, and frame her all around with the 12 Apostles. But at Pentecost, there were hundreds, both men and women - which is why I like this one:

The Orthodox often don't even bother with Mary, BTW! But they did here, and they sure do a good job with color:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another early music site

And a relatively new arrival on the web scene, I do believe: Goldberg Web: The Early Music Portal. I've actually seen this before, but it seems very much expanded these days.

Here's an article from their newsletter called "THE CODEX CALIXTINUS: THE MUSIC ON THE PILGRIMS’ ROAD TO SANTIAGO" that I found when Googling for some information; this topic is a very strong interest of mine. Here's an excerpt:
In liturgical terms, an analysis of the monody in the Codex Calixtinus reveals several surprising features. The typical cathedral structure of the Matins Nocturns consists of nine antiphons with their corresponding psalms and nine lessons with their responsories. The structure that appears in the Codex Calixtinus, however, is the one typically used in monasteries, consisting of twelve antiphons and twelve responsories. How can this monastic structure be reconciled with a book designed to be used in a cathedral? It may be that the Office was composed by monks for their brothers in Compostela, or simply that when the copy of the Codex was made, it was taken from a version for monastic use. The texts, taken from the Bible and from the Passio major of St James the Great, were set to music according to various procedures: some were new compositions, but others, such as the eighth responsory, Misit Herodes, are a paraphrase of both the text and the melody of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist. The melodies of the verses to the responsories follow the usual formulae, and there is a certain similarity with the melodic structures peculiar to the region of Vézelay in some of the contrafacta, such as the antiphon of the Magnificat in the first tone, Ad sepulchrum beati Jacobi, which is simply an adaptation of the Office of St Germain in Auxerre, near Vézelay. The antiphon for the Matins Invitatory is the same as that for All Saints. The antiphon for Compline, Alleluia Jacobe sanctissime, is an imitation of the Gallican melody on Lapis revolutus (a proof of its French origin); the introit of the Mass of the Vigil, Jacobus et Johannes, is an imitation of the Christmas Mass at Dawn, Lux fulgevit; the gradual Nimis and the tract Iacobus paraphrase the types of the second and the eighth modes, respectively. The Alleluia Sanctissime apostole is an adaptation of Laetabitur iustus, while the communion Ait Ihesus is adapted from Tu est Petrus.... As we can see, many of the melodies in the Codex Calixtinus belong to the old Gregorian tradition, but are variously adapted to the texts for the Apostle James. However, the Codex does contain some surprising features, such as the tone of the psalmody accompanying the antiphon of the Invitatory of Matins for the first day, which is the first notated piece in the Codex. Only the beginning of the melody is indicated and the whole must be reconstructed by consulting books that, although originating in Aquitaine, served as reference manuals for the introduction of the Roman rite in local churches in Spain. Such is the case of an antiphonary for the Divine Office that is currently housed in the Chapter Library of Toledo Cathedral (ms. 44.2). The melody survived into the 16th century, the notation being included in an Intonarium Toletanum commissioned by Cardinal Cisneros that was printed in 1515.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A couple of Office/chant books in English

First, a fairly new book published by Lancelot Andrewes Press: the Monastic Diurnal Noted. 50 bucks for 800 pages, and it does look pretty great:
The Monastic Diurnal Noted is a complete Gregorian Antiphonal in English, containing all the Antiphons, Hymn Tunes, and Responsories of the Day Hours of the Benedictine Divine Office (the seven canonical Hours, excluding the midnight office of Matins).

This high quality reprint combines the two original volumes into one single volume. The first volume includes the music of Vespers, the Little Hours and Lauds of Great Feasts. The second volume includes the music of Sunday and Ferial Lauds, with Matins of the Sacred Triduum and Matins of the Dead.

The Monastic Diurnal Noted is the brilliant work of the Reverend Canon Winfred Douglas, the renowned English church musician and pioneer of adapting Gregorian plainchant to English. Both volumes were prepared posthumously by the Sisters of the Community of Saint Mary. This reprint is a photographic reproduction of the original editions of 1952 and 1960.

Second, the St. Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter to go with the MDN:
SAINT Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter is the culmination of three full years of research, compilation, and proofreading. It is the first traditional English plainchant publication to be in print for many decades. Moreover, it is the first publication of its kind to include all elements necessary for the recitation of the Daily Offices of the classic Book of Common Prayer according to the ancient Gregorian chant tradition. Saint Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter was produced jointly by Western Rite Orthodox and traditional Anglican scholars and editors, and it may also be of interest to Roman Catholics (especially of the "Anglican Use") as well as by Protestants who appreciate the classic English biblical texts and the plainchant tradition.

I have this one; it's only $30. Here are a couple of pages from the Compline section:

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And here are two pages from the Canticles section:

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Friday, May 02, 2008

"Gregorian chanting 'can reduce blood pressure and stress'"

From this article:
Stress levels could be reduced simply by participating in some Gregorian chanting, researchers claimed today.

Dr Alan Watkins, a senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London, revealed that teaching people to control their breathing and applying the musical structure of chanting can help their emotional state.

He said: "We have recently carried out research that demonstrates that the regular breathing and musical structure of chanting can have a significant and positive physiological impact."

The research involved five monks having their heart rate and blood pressure measured throughout a 24-hour period.

Results showed their heart rate and blood pressure dipped to its lowest point in the day when they were chanting.

Dr Watkins pointed to previous studies that also demonstrated such practices have been shown to lower blood pressure, increase performance hormone levels as well as reduce anxiety and depression.

The lecturer also runs Cardiac Coherence Ltd, a company that helps executives perform under stressful conditions.

He said: "The control of the breathing, the feelings of wellbeing that communal singing bring, and the simplicity of the melodies, seem to have a powerful effect on reducing blood pressure and therefore stress."

"We have found that teaching individuals to control their breathing, generate more positive emotional states and connect better with those around them – all key aspects of Gregorian chanting – can significantly improve their mental state, reduce tension, and increase their efficiency in the workplace."

Record company Universal recently chose the monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, Vienna to make an album after responding to a public interest in the genre.

The company also believes the Halo computer game series, available on PCs and Xbox consoles, sparked a resurgence in the music traditionally sung in male church choirs, as Gregorian chant-like melodies form the main soundtrack of the games.

Well, we already knew that....


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