Friday, July 09, 2010

Passer Invenit

This is the Communion Hymn for this Sunday, the 15th in Ordinary Time - which for Episcopalians is the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost (Proper 10). The passage is from the beautiful Psalm 84, Quam dilecta!, and the text for this chant consists of verses 2-3:
How dear to me is your dwelling, O LORD of hosts! *
My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; *
by the side of your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.

Happy are they who dwell in your house! *
they will always be praising you.

Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.

Here's the mp3
, another lovely rendition from JoguesChant. Below is the score, from the same site:

This one caught my eye in particular because I recognized an ornithological reference! From Wikipedia:
A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, as songbirds, the passerines form one of the most diverse terrestrial vertebrate orders: with over 5,000 identified species,[1] it is roughly twice as diverse as the largest of the mammal orders, the Rodentia.

The names "passerines" and "Passeriformes" are derived from Passer domesticus, the scientific name of the type species – the House Sparrow – and ultimately from the Latin term passer for Passer sparrows and similar small birds.

Here is the Schola Antiqua of Madrid (directed by Juan Carlos Asensio Palacios) singing this song:

I've actually written before about this chant, having found this entry at the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum site:
Here is the communion chant for this weekend, the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This chant, which mimics the sound of a turtle dove, is surely one of the most spectacular in the Gregorian repertoire.

And it's always so great to find a reference like that. Here's the sole polyphonic piece I could find that's based on this text; it's actually the entire Psalm "Quam dilecta!", and a very lovely thing it is, too, written by one Michel-Richard Delalande (1657-1726).

I simply adore the lush richness of this Petits Motets style! If you look at the selections on the right side of the page at that YouTube link, you'll notice that this guy did quite a number of Psalms.

The image below is a "Grasshopper Sparrow on a nest. Source: Chester A. Reed, ''The Bird Book'', 1915."


Andrew said...

As of 2023, there are three polyphonic settings on CPDL

bls said...

Thanks, Andrew.


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