Monday, January 25, 2010

More - from Derek - about Hodie

From our good friend Derek, from earlier this month: "An antiphon for bls."  (Is that like "A Bell for Adano"?)

Here's the whole thing, shamelessly stolen directly from his blog (where he's responding to this post I wrote around Christmas):

So bls was asking for information on the antiphon “Hodie Christus Natus Est” used with the Magnificat on the Second Vespers of Christmas in the Roman liturgy as it appears in the Liber.

She was wondering about its antiquity. This piqued my interest, of course, so I thought I’d hop over to my favorite collection and check it out… Consulting the Winter volume of the Hartker Antiphonary (Cod. Sang. 390) I went to the folio for the Gospel Antiphon at Vespers and found the following:

As you’ll recall, scribes weren’t always picky about their line breaks… The “In Ev” in the upper right lets us know that the next line will be a piece used with the Gospel (Canticle); the red A in the left margin tells us that this line is an antiphon. Clearly this is not the antiphon we’re looking for, though.

Paging back, however, I ran across this:

Here we have the end of Lauds. The first line in this clip is the Gospel Canticle on the Benedictus which is the same as what’s in the Liber. That’s the end of Lauds proper—then we find our missing antiphon!

What we get are two antiphons here before we arrived at the antiphons used for the Little Hours during the day, the start of which is signaled by the “Ad Cursus” (For the Round of the Day) rubric at the bottom of the clip. These two antiphons are marked “Ad Crucem” which lead me to believe that it’s being used as part of the Common Commemoration to the Holy Cross. Typically these involve the use of an antiphon, a versicle and response and a concluding collect. This book tends to have them following Lauds and occasionally after Vespers. I’m not clear why there are two here, however…

Interestingly the Portiforium of St Wulstan from around the same time shares the Lauds antiphon but has a different Vespers antiphon (the “Lux orta” that the San Gall appoints for Prime, actually). The “Hodie Christus natus est” doesn’t appear in that book at all. Nor does it have antiphons for commemorations.

All of the English monastic breviaries studied at the Cursus Project use Hodie Christus natus est for the 2nd Vespers of Christmas with one fascinating exception. The Worcester Antiphoner uses the same 2nd Vespers Antiphon that we saw in the San Gall manuscript and the Hodie Christus natus est doesn’t appear until St Johns day where it is used as a Commemoration of the Nativity (Again, antiphon, versicle & response, then a collect—this time the one from Christmas).

The Sarum Breviary, following in the footsteps of the others uses the now standard Hodie Christus natus est.

So, that at least fills in a few points in regard to the history of this particular antiphon and its circulation in Northern Europe and England.

And this did answer my question; this manuscript comes from 990-1000 - which means that this antiphon is at least a thousand years old.

Some Lovely Vestments

Here, in a slideshow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dicit Dominus

This is the Communion Song for The Second Sunday after the Epiphany: Dicit Dominus - "The Lord said".
The Lord said: "Fill the jars with water and bring some to the master of the feast." When the master of the feast tasted the water, which had now become wine, he declared to the bridegroom: "You have kept the good wine until now". This was the first sign which Jesus accomplished before his disciples.

Here's the mp3
, from Jogueschant, and here's the chant score:

There's a beautiful version of this, titled Nuptiae/Dicit Dominus at YouTube, which I think includes more of the reading on the day from John; the Dicit Dominus section begins about 2/3 of the way through.  Gorgeous, in any case, from the choeur gregorien de Paris:

Here's the entire reading (John 2:1-11) from Year C of the RCL, in English, according to IO Lectionary:
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now." Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

This is also the reading from the BCP Lectionary, and the other readings match up, too. I especially adore the reading from the Old Testament, Isaiah 62:1-5, which I would swear I've never heard - or at least listened to very closely! - before:
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation like a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.

How great is that, anyway? "You shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married."  I really love these kinds of things from the Hebrew Bible, and again I wish I could read the language - I'd sure like to hear what it sounds like, and is like, in the original.

Here's another version of the shorter piece:

For some reason I thought I'd find a number of polyphonic versions of this, given the topic - wine at weddings!- but I haven't. The field is wide open!

Here are the Office Hymns "From the Octave of Epiphany until the 1st Sunday of Lent."

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Gradual for the Feast of the Epiphany: Omnes de Saba ("All they of Saba")

This is the lovely Gradual for The Feast of the Epiphany. The text is from Isaiah 60:6:
Omnes de Saba venient
aurum et thus deferentes
et laudem Domino annuntiantes.

All they from Saba will come,
bringing gold and frankincense,
and announcing the praise of the Lord.

Here's Vianini's version, very nicely chanted:

Here, the Schola des Moines de Montserrat sing it:

Someone named Joseph von Eybler wrote a later polyphonic piece using this text, and the North Carolina Boys' Choir gives it a go here:

Not my thing, though; I prefer the di Lassus version:

But really, the plainchant (or maybe not-so-plain chant) is the best, I think; it's gorgeous. A little clip of an Anonymous 4 version - an antiphon - is on this page; I once heard Ruth Cunningham sing the gradual in the context of the Epiphany mass, and it was really stunning. Just her thing, anyway; she's so good at that "Eastern" feel, and this chant is trying for that already.

Wikipedia says this about Saba (Sheba):
Sheba (Arabic: سبأ, Sabaʼ, Hebrew: שבא, Sh'va, Ge'ez, Amharic, Tigrinya: ሳባ, Saba) was a kingdom mentioned in the Jewish scriptures (Old Testament) and the Qur'an. The actual location of the historical kingdom is disputed, with modern evidence tending toward Yemen in southern Arabia, but other scholars argue for a location in either present-day Eritrea or Ethiopia.

No Sheba or camels here, but there's a terrific El Greco of the Baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan:

The modern form of today's propers is exactly like the historical (1962 Missal/Tridentine) form; all of the chants have been retained.  These are the chant propers for this feast; the sound files were recorded at St. Benedict's Monastery in São Paulo (Brazil):
In Epiphania Domini
Introitus: Cf. Mal. 3, 1; I Chron. 29, 12; Ps. 71, 1.10.11 Ecce advenit (4m21.1s - 1786 kb) score
Graduale: Is. 6, 60. V. 1 Omnes de Saba venient (2m31.0s - 1033 kb) score
Alleluia: Cf. Mt. 2, 2 Vidimus stellam (2m17.2s - 939 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 71, 10.11 Reges Tharsis (1m59.0s - 814 kb) score
Communio: Cf. Mt. 2, 2 Vidimus stellam (39.6s - 272 kb) score

Other posts on Chantblog for the propers on this feast day are:
And here's a camel saddle, from southern Lybia.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Hodie Christus Natus Est (2009)

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:

It's a beautiful song, isn't it?   I've been seeking some information online about the provenance of the antiphon; I wanted to know how old it is, which manuscript is the earliest that contains it, what part of the world it comes from - things like that.  Surprisingly, I haven't been able to find any of that out - but I did come across another lovely recording of the antiphon from Anonymous 4; here's the .ram file.

I imagine I need to get some access to some (online?) manuscript libraries to find out the things I want to know about this antiphon; all that stuff is outside the area of general interest, I guess. Well, that will be fun, too.  [EDIT:  Derek came along and answered my question; here's more on that.]


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