Saturday, November 28, 2009

Universi, qui te exspectant

Universi, qui te exspectant is the Gradual for the First Sunday of Advent. Here's an mp3 of this chant, sung by the Benedictines of Brazil. Very, very beautiful.

Here's another wonderful version, this time from Giovanni Vianini's Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis:

The text comes from Psalm 25:3-4:
1 Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.

2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.

I'm not sure what this is, but it does use the same text, at least to start out with. And I like the Colby Chorale ("Men, Women & Tangos"), don't you?

Last year I published all the Introits for the Sundays of Advent; here's a video (unavailable last year) of the Advent I Introit, Ad te, levavi, which also comes from Psalm 25:

Here is a post about the hymns of the Advent Office, also from last year.

Here are all the chants for the day, from
Hebdomada Prima Adventus
Introitus: Ps. 24, 1-4 Ad te levavi (3m29.7s - 3275 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 24, 3. V. 4 Universi, qui te exspectant (2m00.6s - 1887 kb) score
Alleluia: Ps. 84, 8 Ostende nobis (2m41.5s - 2525 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 24, 1-3 Ad te, Domine, levavi (1m41.0s - 1579 kb) score
Communio: Ps. 84, 13 Dominus dabit benignitatem (51.2s - 801 kb) score

And these are posts on Chantblog for the Advent 1 propers:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A blog worth checking out

And that blog is the somewhat dauntingly-named "The Hopeless Journey," which describes itself with this tagline:
The Hopeless Journey is my attempt to explore the entire history of western music, or at least the important parts of it... that we know about... and that I can purchase on iTunes in some form. As someone who listened primarily to popular music for the first 28 years of his life, I hope to provide a unique perspective on this music that so many of my generation have written off. There are gems to be found here, so come help me look for them.

An amazing amount of great stuff for lovers of early music and chant. Thanks, Traveler!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Last Sunday after Pentecost

Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books does not list this day, in some traditions known as "The Feast of Christ the King," as a feast day.

There is good reason for that. According to this Wikipedia page, "Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925, in response to growing nationalism and secularism. In Pope John XXIII's 1960 revision of the Calendar, the date and title remained the same and, in the new simpler ranking of feasts, it was classified as a feast of the first class." So this is too recent a development to have been included in the medieval Sarum calendar.

And in fact, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer does not list this day as a feast day, either; it's simply "The Last Sunday After Pentecost" - the Sunday before Advent starts.

So, to celebrate this non-feast day, I will post part of this article from the newsletter The Angelus, by Stephen Gerth, Rector of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin:
The Episcopal Church does not call the last Sunday of the Church year “Christ the King.” In our Prayer Book it is simply “The Last Sunday after Pentecost.” Yes, our prayers and lessons are about the kingship of Christ. At Solemn Mass and at Evensong we will sing some of the greatest hymns on this theme. I think our Episcopal Church’s particular decision merits wider and greater appreciation.

Since its earliest days the Church has had a feast of the kingship of Christ. It’s Epiphany, which along with Easter, Pentecost and Christmas are the great ancient celebrations of the Church. Note that aside from Trinity Sunday, the liturgical tradition does not have thematic Sunday observances. Our celebrations are rooted in the historical events of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Our days and our lives find their meaning in his life, in his gospel.

The Christian community is plagued, world without end, not only by anachronism – reading the present into the past, it’s also plagued by amnesia – forgetting what has been. In origin, Christ the King wasn’t about Christ; it was about the pope. I have a hunch that some leaders of our Church remembered this as the 1979 Book of Common Prayer was being created.

In 1925, Pope Pius XI had yet to make the treaty with Mussolini that would turn the Vatican into an independent city state. Like all popes since the loss of Rome in 1870, he considered himself a prisoner of the Vatican. His encyclical Quas Primas proclaimed the celebration of Christ the King and fixed it on the last Sunday in October. The pope gave a very clear reason for its institution: to fight anti-clericalism. I think it’s fair to say that the liturgical reformers of the 1960s and 1970s quietly ignored its origins. They moved the feast to the end of the Church year with a focus on the time when God will be all in all.

This parish, like the Episcopal Church, stands for a particular theological and historical Christianity. We are certainly not perfect. But since I encountered the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition in college it seemed to me then, and still does, to embrace what is best of the Catholic and Protestant experience. Our commitment to Christ as Anglican Christians has survived monarchs, revolutions and civil wars. We found a way to end slavery. We are working to find ways to welcome all into the life of God’s Church. We continue to work for conversion, justice and freedom. Episcopalians care and give to help those who are hungry, to those who will never have the capacity in this life to take care of themselves. We try to tell the truth about what has been and what we believe God plans in his love for us. I am very proud to be an Episcopalian.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


An interesting new find: Vocal Ensemble Gregoriana, from the Netherlands. "Gregorian chant based on tenth-century manuscripts and inspired by oral oriental traditions." Here's their rendition of Psalm 118:22-23:

Here's the note from the YouTube page:
Lapidem, quem reprobaverunt aedificantes, hic factus est in caput anguli: a Domino factum est, et est mirabile in oculis nostris.

Psalm 118(117): 22.23

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

"Lapidem" is the second verse of the offertory "Benedictus qui venit" sung by Geert Maessen in the Amsterdam Obrechtchurch on June 17th, 2009.

Saint Gall neumes: tenth century, CH-E 121, p. 224 and CH-SGs 339, p. 113. Fluxus score: 2009, Geert Maessen, Amsterdam

Interesting to see, first, the old-style neume notation in the manuscript, and then the modern rendition of it. See "lelalilu"'s YouTube channel page for more.


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