Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Marke this songe for it is trewe: A caroll of the Innocentes

For Holy Innocents, December 28 (moved this year to the 29th). Alas, no audio - would like to hear what it sounds like. But the words at least:
Marke this songe for it is trewe
For it is trewe as clerkes tell.
In olde tyme straung thyngs cam to pas
Grete wonder and grete meruayll was
In Israell.

There was one Octauyan
Octauyan of Rome Emperour.
As bokes olde doth specyfye
Of all the wyde worlde trulye.
He was lorde and gouernour.

The Jewes that tyme lackyd a kyng
They lackyd a kyng to gyde them well
The Emperour of power and myght
Chose one Herode agaynst all ryght
In Israell.

This Herode than was kyng of Jewys
Was kynge of Jewys and he no Jewe
For so the he was a panym borne
Wherfore on fayth it may be sworne
He reygned kynge vntrewe.

By prophesye one Isay
One Isay, at lest dyd tell
A chylde sholde come wonderous newys
þe shold be borne trewe kyng of Jewys
In Israell.

This Herode knew one borne shold be
One borne sholde be of trewe lenage
That sholde be ryght herytour
For he but by the Emperour
Was made by vsurpage

Wherfore of throught this kynge Herode
This kynge Herode in grete fere fell
For all the days most in his myrth
Euer he fered Chrystes byrth
In Israell.

The tyme came it pleased god
It pleased god so come to pas
For mannes soule in dede
His blyssed sone was borne wyth spede
As his wyll was

Tydynges came to kynke Herode
To kynge Herode, and dyd hym tell
That one borne forsoth is he
Which lorde and kynge of all shall be
In Israell.

Herode than raged as he were woode
As he were wode of this tydynge
And sent for all his scrybes sure
Yet wolde he not trust the scrypture
Nor of theyr councellynge.

Than this was the conclusyon
The conclusyon of his councell
To sende vnto his knyghtes anone
To sle the chylderne euerychone
In Israell.

This cruell kynge this tyranny
This tyranny dyd put in vre
Bytwene a day and yeres too
All men chylderne he dyd sloo
Of Cryst for to be sure.

Yet Herode myssed his cruell pray
His cruell pray as was goddes wyll
Joseph with Mary than dyd fle
With Chryst to Egypt gone was she
In Israell.

All this whyle this tyrantes
This tyrantes wolde not conuert
But innocentes yonge
That lay sokynge
They thryst to the herte.

This Herode sought the chyldren
This chyldren yonge, with corage fell
But in doynge thys vengeaunce
His owne sone was slayne by chaunce
In Israell.

Alas I thynke the moders were wo
The moders were wo it was grete skyl
What motherly payne
To se them slayne
In cradels lyeng styll:

But god hymn selfe hath theym electe
Hath theym electe, in heuyn to dwell.
For they were bathed in theyr blode
For theyr baptym forsoth it stode
In Israell.

Alas agayne what hartes had they
What harts had they those babes kyll
With swerdes whan they hym caught
In cradels they lay and laught
And neuer thought yll.


Source: William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833).

From notes on this page (where you can see a more modern set of English words):

This is one of many songs which relate to the Holy Innocents, whose feast day is December 28. For more, please see The Hymns Of The Holy Innocents.

Husk's Note:

This Carol was printed in a volume bearing the title of “Christmas carolles newly Inprinted. [Woodcut of Our Saviour crucified between two thieves.] Imprinted at London in the Powltry, by Richard Kele, dwelling a the longe shope undere sayne Myldredes Chyrch,” which was probably published between the years 1546 and 1552, during which time Kele lived at the Long shop in the Poultry, and at the sign of the Eagle near unto Stocks Market in Lombard Street. Seven of the carols contained in Kele's publication were included by the late Dr. Bliss in a small volume of Bibliographical Miscellanies which he printed in 1813, and from this volume, (which is now very scarce, the impression having been limited to 104 copies,) the present copy is taken.

The circumstances of Herod's own child being slain in the massacre was believed for centuries. How or when the tradition arose is uncertain, but the circumstance is mentioned by Macrobius, who wrote inn the fifth century, in connection with a witticism of the Emperor Augustus Caesar, who, on hearing the report, said, it was better to be Herod's pig than his son; in allusion to Herod's position as King of the Jews. In “The trades of Chester at Whitsuntide, one of Herod's soldiers kills a child in the arms of a woman, who tells him it is the king's son, who had been placed at nurse with her. She rushes to Herod and acquaints him of the murder, on hearing of which he rages, becomes made, and dies; and a demon comes and carries him into the place of torment.

Editor's Note:

Kele's carols were also reprinted in Edward Bliss Reed's Christmas Carols Printed In The Sixteenth Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1932).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More Toast: Betty Carter introduces JD Allen 12/31/1994 | WBGO Jazz 88.3FM

More Toast: Betty Carter introduces JD Allen 12/31/1994 | WBGO Jazz 88.3FM
The show begins and Betty Carter (1929-98) says, Happy New Year! Why do we have to think about all these years? A bittersweet moment to hear it now, as she did not have many more to live. But on this night, she offers to the time gods a young band of Xavier Davis on piano, Eric Revis on bass, Will Terrell III on drums, and two soloists - Peven Everett on trumpet and John D. Allen on tenor.

Listening back, I love "You're Mine" from the early set. JD's tenor solo must have made BC very happy. Listen.

This New Year's Eve on a Toast of the Nation set from Denver, JD leads his trio with guest Ron Miles on trumpet and a cameo from Henry Butler on piano. Starting at 1:15am ET.

I think this link will open the sound file:  the song is "You're Mine"; some gorgeous jazz here....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Händel: For unto us a child is born

This one's directly out of the lectionary this morning, which I was privileged to read:
Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness--
on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Puer natus in Bethlehem

Sung by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silo, Spain.

It's lovely, isn't it? The St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum says about this hymn that:
One of the many beautifully charming strophic chant hymns printed in the Liber Cantualis is Puer Natus in Bethlehem. Based on the text that begins the Christmas Day introit, this hymn tells the Nativity story in 14 full verses. The mp3 below records the Schola singing the first five. As you will hear, it is vigorous and exciting and suited for congregational participation.
Their mp3 is here. The video above includes only 4 of the 14 verses, these:
Puer natus in Bethlehem, Alleluia Unde gaudet Jerusalem, Alleluia, alleluia
In cordis jubilo, Christum natum adoremus, Cum novo cantico

Assumpsit carnem filius, Alleluia Dei Patris altissimus, Alleluia, Alleluia
In cordis jubilo, Christum natum adoremus, Cum novo cantico

In hoc natali gaudiio, Alleluia Benadicamus Domino, alleluia, alleluia
In cordis jubilo, Christum natum adoremus, Cum novo cantico

Laudetur sancta trinitas, alleluia Deo di camus gratias, alleluia, alleluia
In cordis jubilo, Christum natum adoremus, Cum novo cantico.
Here's an English translation of only those verses:
A Child is born in Bethlehem, Alleluia The reason for Jerusalem's joy, Alleluia, Alleluia
With joyful heart let us adore Christ's birth, With a new song

Taking flesh is the Son Of God the Father most high, Alleluia, Alleluia
With joyful heart let us adore Christ's birth, With a new song

For this joyful birth  Alleluia Let us bless the Lord, Alleluia, Alleluia
With joyful heart let us adore Christ's birth, With a new song

Praised be the Holy Trinity, Alleluia Thanks be to God that we may boldly say, Alleluia, Alleluia
With joyful heart let us adore Christ's birth, With a new song

offers 11 verses, with a different set of words and this English translation:
1. Puer natus in Bethlehem, Alleluia. Unde gaudet Jerusalem. Alleluia.
2. Hic jacet in præsepio, Alleluia. Qui regnat sine termino. Alleluia.
3. Cognovit bos et asinus, Alleluia. Quod puer erat Dominus. Alleluia.
4. Reges de Sabâ veniunt, Alleluia. Aurum, thus, myrrhum offerunt. Alleluia.
5. Intrantes domum invicem, Alleluia. Novum salutant principem. Alleluia.
6. De matre natus virgine, Alleluia. Sine virili semine; Alleluia.
7. Sine serpentis vulnere, Alleluia. De nostro venit sanguine; Alleluia.
8. In carne nobis similis, Alleluia. Peccato sed dissimilis; Alleluia.
9. Ut redderet nos homines, Alleluia. Deo et sibi similes. Alleluia.
10. In hoc natali gaudio, Alleluia. Benedicamus Domino: Alleluia.
11. Laudetur sancta Trinitas, Alleluia. Deo dicamus gratias. Alleluia.

1. A Child is born in Bethlehem; Exult for joy, Jerusalem! Alleluia.
2. Lo, He who reigns above the skies There, in a manger lowly, lies. Alleluia.
3. The ox and ass in neighbouring stall See in that Child the Lord of all. Alleluia.
4. And kingly pilgrims, long foretold, From East bring incense, myrrh, and gold, Alleluia.
5. And enter with their offerings, To hail the new-born King of Kings. Alleluia.
6. He comes, a maiden mother's Son, Yet earthly father hath He none; Alleluia.
7. And, from the serpent's poison free, He owned our blood and pedigree. Alleluia.
8. Our feeble flesh and His the same, Our sinless kinsman He became, Alleluia.
9. That we, from deadly thrall set free, Like Him, and so like God, should be. Alleluia.
10. Come then, and on this natal day, Rejoice before the Lord and pray. Alleluia.
11. And to the Holy One in Three Give praise and thanks eternally. Alleluia.

Translated by Hamilton Montgomerie MacGill, 1876

offers these 14 (15? - the et Angelus pastoribus stanza does not seem to appear in the English) verses, and the English translation - again by H.M. MacGill, below: 
Puer natus in Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Jerusalem,

In cordis jubilo,
Christum natum adoremus
Cum novo cantico.

Assumpsit carnem Filius,
Dei Patris altissimus,

Per Gabrielem nuntium,
Virgo concepit Filium,

Tamquam sponsus de thalamo,
Processit Matris utero,

Hic iacet in praesepio,
Qui regnat sine termino,

Cognovit bos et asinus,
Quod puer erat Dominus.

Et Angelus pastoribus,
Revelat quod sit Dominus,

Reges de Saba Veniunt,
Aurum thus myrrham offerunt,

Intrantes domum invicem,
Novum salutant Principem,

De Matre natus Virgine,
Sine virili semine,

Sine serpentis vulnere,
De nostro venit sanguine,

In carne nobis similis,
Peccato sed dissimilis,

Ut redderet nos homines,
Deo et sibi similes,

In hoc natali gaudio,
Benedicamus Domino,

Laudetur sancta Trinitas,
Deo dicamus gratias,
A child is born in Bethlehem,
Exult for joy, Jerusalem!

Refrain (literal translation):
With an exultant heart,
let us adore the new-born Christ,
with a new song.

The Son of God the Father,
In the highest has taken flesh,

By angel Gabriel announced,
The virgin has conceived the Son.

Like a bridegroom from the chamber,
He proceeds from the womb of the mother.

Lo he who reigns above the skies,
There in a manger lowly, lies.

The ox and ass in neighb'ring stall,
See in that child the Lord of all.

And kingly pilgrims, long foretold,
From East bring incense, myrrh and gold,

And enter with their offerings,
To hail the newborn King of Kings.

He comes, a maiden mother's Son,
Yet earthly father has He none;

And from the serpent's poison free,
He owned our blood and pedigree,

Our feeble flesh and His the same,
Our sinless kinsman He became,

That we, from deadly thrall set free,
Like Him, and so like God, should be.

Come then, and on his natal day,
Rejoice before the Lord and pray.

And to the holy One in Three.
Give praise and thanks eternally.

CPDL also has this to say about the song:
This Christmas hymn was especially popular during the ancient period. Its author is unknown. The oldest Latin text found so far is contained in a Benedictine book dating from the beginning of the fourteenth century. The Latin text, which is found in many different redactions ranging from six to twelve stanzas, has, very likely, been composed by several authors. Consequently, it has undergone many changes due to omissions, revisions, and additions. “Puer natus” was translated into German in 1439 by Heinrich von Laufenberg. Later on a number of German versions appeared. In the old German, Danish, and Swedish hymnals a translation in the vernacular was inserted immediately after each Latin stanza. It has been surmised that the choir sang the Latin and the congregation sang translations of the same. The German rendering most extensively used was that found in Val. Babst’s Gesangbuch, 1545: “Ein Kind geboren zu Bethlehem.” This contains ten stanzas with the German translation inserted after each stanza except the second. The English version included in The Lutheran Hymnary was made by Philip Schaff and was printed in his Christ in Song, 1869. There are at least eleven other English translations.

In regard to the third stanza, Skaar quotes from the hymnological works of Daniel: “On many early medieval paintings representing the nativity of Christ, as well as in Christmas hymns, are found an ox and an ass. This practice has been ascribed to a faulty rendering of the passage, Hab. 3:2: ‘In the midst of beasts make known’; for ‘In the midst of the years make it known.’ They concluded from Is. 1:3 that the two ‘beasts’ referred to were the ox and the ass: ‘The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master’s crib.’ These passages are taken to be the Biblical basis for the old Christmas stanza: ‘Cognovit bos et asinus, quod puer erat Dominus, Halleluja’ (The ox and the ass knew that the Child was the Lord).” Nutzhorn claims that the expression is rather. an “innocent desire for free poetic representation of the circumstances surrounding the nativity of Christ.” [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]
Here's the chant score:
Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sussex Carol

The Christmas Proclamation, Chanted

Here's a video from the Institute of Sacred Music, Archdiocese of Saint Louis; it's the traditional text of the Christmas Proclamation chanted to the Simple Tone in English by Fr. James Netusil:

This is a video of the solemn Christmas Proclamation sung - in situ at Christmas midnight, and beautifully! - in English: "The Solemn Proclamation of Christmas, Midnight Mass 2011. Broadcast live from St George's RC Cathedral, Southwark on 24th December 2011. Director of Music: Nick Gale, Soloist: Dominic Keating-Roberts. Text: New ICEL translation 2010."

And here it is, sung in Latin, to the Solemn Tone - the "Martyrologium in Vigilia Natitivatis Domini Tonus solemnior."  It's beautiful, too; the words are below the video, with an English translation following.  (For the new version of the Proclamation, in English and Latin - including videos and chant scores - see this 2012 post.)

Here's the traditional version of the Latin text, with an English translation below it.
Octavo Kalendas Januarii

Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit coelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono:

A diluvio vero, anno bis millesimo nongentesimo quinquagesimo septimo:

A nativitate Abrahae, anno bis millesimo quintodecimo:

A Moyse et egressu populi Israel de Aegypto, anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo:

Ab unctione David in regem, anno millesimo trigesimo secundo:

Hebdomoda sexagesima quinta juxta Danielis prophetiam:

Olympiade centesima nongentesima quarta:

Ab urbe Roma condita, anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo:

Anno imperii Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo:

toto urbe in pace composito,

sexta mundi aetate, Jesus Christus aeternus Deus, aeternique Patris Filius, mundum volens adventu suo piisimo consecrare, de Spiritu Sancto conceptus, novemque post conceptionem decursus mensibus, in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus homo:


The Eighth of the Calends of January

The year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine:

From the deluge, the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven:

From the birth of Abraham, the year two thousand and fifteen:

From Moses and the going out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the year one thousand five hundred and ten:

From David's being anointed king, the year one thousand and thirty-two:

In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel:

In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad:

From the building of the city of Rome, the year seven hundred and fifty-two:

In the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus:

The whole world being in peace:

In the sixth age of the world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, wishing to consecrate this world by his most merciful coming, being conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months since his conception having passed, In Bethlehem of Juda is born of the Virgin Mary, being made Man:


I first heard a clip this chant - gone now - at the website of the Abbey of Regina Laudis;  it's on the sisters' "Announcement of Christmas" CD.  

And I've written before about the proclamation; as you can see, the traditional version starts out by counting the years from the creation of the world until Christ's birth: "five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine"!   It's actually pretty great, rhythmically, in the Latin - I mean, you get this terrific beat, with the number-counting phrases:  quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono.   The English doesn't at all do the same kind of thing with the rhythm.  (This is often true in translations from Latin to English; they are just two completely different languages, with completely different pacing and rhythms.)

The Catholic Church has written a new proclamation that cuts out the numbers that do not comport with what we know today; this is from the USCCB website:
The announcement of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord from the Roman Martyrology draws upon Sacred Scripture to declare in a formal way the birth of Christ. It begins with creation and relates the birth of the Lord to the major events and personages of sacred and secular history. The particular events contained in the announcement help pastorally to situate the birth of Jesus in the context of salvation history.

This text, The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, may be chanted or recited, most appropriately on December 24, during the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. It may also be chanted or recited before the beginning of Christmas Mass during the Night. It may not replace any part of the Mass. (The musical notation is found in Appendix I of the Roman Missal, Third Edition.)

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

The Twenty-fifth Day of December,

when ages beyond number had run their course
from the creation of the world,

when God in the beginning created heaven and earth,
and formed man in his own likeness;

when century upon century had passed
since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood,
as a sign of covenant and peace;

in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith,
came out of Ur of the Chaldees;

in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses
in the Exodus from Egypt;

around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;

in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

in the year seven hundred and fifty-two
since the foundation of the City of Rome;

in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus,
the whole world being at peace,

JESUS CHRIST, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence,
was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since his conception,
was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

This version of the chant more or less like this Proclamation of Christmas from Full Homely Divinity ("Based on a traditional text from the Roman Martyrology, for liturgical use at either the Midnight Mass of Christmas or the Liturgy of the Hours"):
The Proclamation of Christmas

Some billions of years having passed since the creation of the world, when, in the beginning God created heaven and earth, Some thousands of years from the salvation of mankind when the family of Noah survived the flood, Nineteen centuries after the promise was given to Abraham, the father of our faith, Seventy generations after Moses brought the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, A thousand years from the anointing of David as King over the chosen people, in fulfillment of the times and years and months and days discerned by the vision of the Prophets—

In the course of secular history, in the one hundred and ninety-third Olympiad, Seven and one half centuries from the founding of the City of Rome, In the forty-second year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus, while the whole world enjoyed a span of peace, In this sixth and final age of human achievement—

Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, wishing to consecrate the whole world and all time by His blessed presence, conceived as man by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, after nine months of growth in the womb of His mother, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Juda, and for our salvation became Man .

Now in our own time this marks the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, after the manner of all flesh.
Here's a chant score of the new form of the Proclamation - it's the Solemn Tone version - with words in English (a PDF from MusicaSacra); the text is slightly different from what's above, but there it is).

There does exist a Latin translation of the new version of the Proclamation, too; they use it on Christmas Eve at the Vatican. 

John Tavener wrote a Christmas Proclamation, too - not the same kind of thing, but here it is, sung by the "Choir of St. George's, Windsor":

Westminster Cathedral Choir - A Ceremony of Carols

Here's a short video containing the opening two songs - Hodie Christus natus est and Wolcum Yule - from Britten's 1942 composition:

Here's the entire piece, sung by the Boys of Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford.  Perhaps from the 1980s or so?  Awhile ago, anyway.

1. "Procession" ("Hodie Christus natus est", Gregorian antiphon to the Magnificat at Second Vespers of Christmas)
2. "Wolcum Yole!"
3. "There is no Rose" (Trinity College MS 0.3.58, early 15c)
4a. "That yonge child"
4b. "Balulalow" (The brothers Wedderburn, fl. 1548)
5. "As dew in Aprille" (Sloane 2593, first quarter 15c)
6. "This little Babe" (from Robert Southwell's "Newe Heaven, Newe Warre", 1595)
7. "Interlude" (harp solo)
8. "In Freezing Winter Night" (Southwell)
9. "Spring Carol" (16c., also set by William Cornysh)
10. "Deo Gracias" (Sloane 2593)
11. "Recession" ("Hodie")

Tecum Principium, Gradual, Christmas Midnight

This is a long, melismatic, and beautiful song, done here by G. Vianini:

Here's the score, from the Benedictines of Brazil:

The text - at least part of it - is from Psalm 110. The first section does seem to be a composition, although one based on Psalm 110, verse 3-ish. I'll need to look more closely at this to see if I can find out where it came from - or whether I'm looking at a variant translation of this Psalm (don't think it's that, though). JoguesChant offers this translation of the text:

Sovereign strength is yours on the day of your great might. Amidst the splendours of the heavenly sanctuary, from the womb, before the morning star, I have begotten you. The Lord said unto my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a stool for your feet".

Here's Handel's version of this:

This is my favorite, though - the Tecum Principium from Saint-Saens' Christmas Oratorio:

Wow, I just love this little piece! Saint-Saens wrote it when he was only 23 or so. It's little, but it's very, very nice. Here's another movement - the 9th section, "Consurge, filia Sion" - and the nicest little collection of Alleluias you'll ever hear:

And then, you wouldn't want to miss Part 10, either: Tollite Hostias:

The texts and translations:
Consurge, Filia Sion.
Lauda in nocte,
in principio Vigiliarum.
Egrediatur ut splendor justus Sion,
et Salvator ejus ut lampas accendatur.

Tollite hostias, et adorate Dominum in atrio sancto ejus.
Lætentur cœli, et exultet terra, a facie Domini, quoniam venit,

Arise, O daughter of Sion.
Give praise in the night,
in the beginning of the watches.
Let the righteous man go forth from Sion as brightness,
and let her Saviour go up as a light.

Lift up the offerings, and worship the Lord in this holy courtyard.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, at the face of the Lord, for he cometh.

Blessed Christmas! Here's Guido Reni's "Adoration of the Shepherds":

Kammerchor Löbau - Still Still Still

The words, from this page:


Still, still, still

"Salzburger Volkslieder"
Aus Salzburg, 1819

Still, still, still,
Weil's Kindlein schlafen will.
Die Englein tun schön jubilieren,
Bei dem Kripplein musizieren.

Still, still, still,
Weil's Kindlein schlafen will.

Schlaf, schlaf, schlaf,
Mein liebes Kindlein schlaf!
Maria tut dich niedersingen
Und ihr treues Herz darbringen.

Schlaf, schlaf, schlaf,
Mein liebes Kindlein schlaf!

Groß, groß, groß
Die Lieb ist übergroß!
Gott hat den Himmelsthron verlassen
Und muss reisen auf der Straßen.

Groß, groß, groß
Die Lieb' ist übergroß.

Wir, wir, wir,
Tun rufen all zu dir:
Tu uns des Himmels Reich aufschließen,
Wenn wir einmal sterben müssen.

Wir, wir, wir,
Wir rufen all zu dir.

Still, still, still

From Salzburg, 1819
Literal English translation - HF

Still, still, still,
'Cause baby wants to sleep.
The angels jubilate beautifully,
By the manger making music.

Still, still, still,
'Cause baby wants to sleep.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
My dear babe sleep!
Maria sings you a lullaby
And brings you her true heart.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
My dear babe sleep!

Great, great, great,
The love is more than great!
God has left his throne
And must go by road.

Great, great, great,
The love is more than great.

We, we, we,
All do call out to you:
Open heaven's realm to us,
If we must die one day.

We, we, we,
We all call out to you.

A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols

Listen live here, starting in 5 minutes. Here's the program:
The Festival, held in the candlelit Chapel of King's College, Cambridge, marks for many people around the world the beginning of Christmas. It is based around nine Bible readings which tell the story of the loving purposes of God. They are interspersed with carols old and new, sung by the world famous Chapel Choir who also lead the congregation in traditional Christmas hymns.

Programme for 2010:

Once in royal David's city (arr. Stephen Cleobury)

* Bidding Prayer read by the Dean

This is the truth sent from above (arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams)

* First lesson: Genesis 3, vv 8-19 read by a Chorister

Adam lay ybounden (Boris Ord)

A Virgin most pure (arr. Stephen Cleobury)

* Second lesson: Genesis 22 vv 15-18 read by a Choral Scholar

In dulci jubilo (arr. Robert Lucas de Pearsall)

If ye would hear the angels sing (Peter Tranchell)

* Third lesson: Isaiah 9 vv 2, 6-7 read by a Representative of the Cambridge Churches

Sussex Carol (arr. Philip Ledger)

God rest you merry, gentlemen (arr. David Willcocks)

* Fourth lesson: Isaiah 11 vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9 read by a Representative of the City of Cambridge A tender shoot (Otto Goldschmidt)

Det är en ros utsprungen (arr. Jan Sandström)

* Fifth lesson: Luke 1 vv 26-35, 38 read by the Master over the Choristers

Hymne à la Vierge (Pierre Villette)

Sunny Bank (arr. Peter Hurford)

* Sixth lesson: Luke 2 vv 1, 3-7 read by the Chaplain

Mariä Wiegenlied (Max Reger)

The holly and the ivy (arr. June Nixon)

* Seventh lesson: Luke 2 vv 8-16 read by the Director of Music

While shepherds watched (arr. Stephen Cleobury)

Illuminare, Jerusalem (Judith Weir)

* Eighth lesson: Matthew 2 vv 1-12 read by the Vice-Provost

Christmas Carol (Einojuhani Rautavaara - first performance, commissioned by King's College)

Ding, dong, merrily (arr. Mack Wilberg)

* Ninth lesson: John 1 vv 1-14 read by the Provost

O come, all ye faithful (arr. Stephen Cleobury)

* Collect and Blessing

Hark! the herald angels sing (arr. David Willcocks)

Organ voluntaries:

In dulci jubilo BWV 729 (JS Bach)

Prelude & Fugue in B (Marcel Dupré)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Great "O" Antiphons

As you'll notice in the Church Calendar of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (still the Book of Common Prayer in England and other places around the world), December 16 is designated "O Sapientia." This is the Antiphon Upon Magnificat at Vespers for the 16th - and the first of 8 "Great 'O' Antiphons" for this octave before Christmas.  The texts for the Great "O"s come in large part from the Prophets and from the Wisdom literature, and become mystical  proclamations, made daily during those eight days, of the coming of Christ.  They are over a thousand years old.

As I've posted them on this site for the past 4 years, I'll simply link to them all via this post this year; you'll find chant scores and audio files - and also some discussion of each antiphon - at each of the links.  (There are different years' versions linked in the sidebar, too.  Here's a good longish article about these antiphons, and some other related ones.  As well, this article contains a bit of historical information about the Great "O"s.)   These antiphons are beautiful - I'd love to find audio versions in English of them all, but haven't yet - and really do make the 8 days before Christmas something truly special.  I take a few minutes out of each day in the late afternoon or evening and sing each one as it occurs in the cycle. (EDIT: Scott has kindly left links to Healy Willan arrangements of the Great "O"s, in English, here. Many thanks to him.)

Blessed Sapientia-tide to you.

Here are mp3s of the first seven of the Antiphons, sung on either side of the Magnificat, (itself sung to the Solemn Tone) as they would be at Vespers, from MusicaSacra:

Here are the Latin and modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of the Magnificat, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

And here's Zoltán Kodály's gorgeous "Veni, veni, Emmanuel," sung here by L'Accorche-Choeur, Ensemble vocal Fribourg:
Veni, Veni Emmanuel is a synthesis of the great "O Antiphons" that are used for Vespers during the octave before Christmas (Dec. 17-23). These antiphons are of ancient origin and date back to at least the ninth century.

Ecce Virgo

The Communion song for Advent IV is Ecce Virgo; here is an mp3 of this chant, and below is the score (both from JoguesChant).

The text is, of course, the very famous Isaiah 7:14: "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel."

Here's Giovanni Vianini's version:

Here again are links to all the Introits for Advent:

The polyphonic counterpart to this text is this equally-famous recitative/aria from Handel's Messiah (along with "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion"):

The readings for the day are all focussed on the birth of Jesus. The Old Testament is from Isaiah, and contains the Ecce Virgo verse in today's Communio; the Epistle comes from Romans, in which Paul writes about "the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh...."; the Gospel is the Nativity story from Matthew.

The collect for the day is this one:
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Marion Hatchett's Commentary on the American Prayer Book says this about it:

This collect is a revised version of William Bright's translation of a Gelasian collect (no. 1127) found in Ancient Collects, p. 16. It is included in the Gregorian sacramentary under "Other Prayers for Advent" (no. 809), in the Missale Gallicanum vetus as the collect in the first of three Advent Masses (no. 40). The collect, provided for use in the season when the first advent is recalled and the second anticipated, reminds us of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem (Lk. 19:44), "you did not know the time of your visitation," and prays that our consciences may be purified by His "daily visitation." It prays that, in contrast to His first advent when there was no room for Him in the inn, "he may find in us a mansion prepared for himself." This collect is especially in accord with the Annunciation theme of the lections for the day.

Here's Gerard van Honthorst's "Adoration of the Shepherds," painted around 1622:


Three Rorates

I have so far found three totally different melodies for the well-known Advent text, Rorate Caeli Desuper (also known as "The Advent Prose").

Here's a Giovanni Vianini take on Rorate - not the Introit for Advent IV, nor the well-known Gregorian tune commonly used for "The Advent Prose," but (I'm assuming from what's written on the site) an Ambrosian hymn that uses the same text (at the start, at any rate; this hymn seems to use a different text later on - will post the words if I can find and translate them):

For comparison, here's a version of the better-known Gregorian Rorate hymn  (I like the soft female voices on this one):

And here's an mp3 of the lovely Advent IV Introit itself, via JoguesChant.

Well, let's make that "Four Rorates"! Here's Heinrich Schütz's polyphonic version:

Here again is the full text in English:
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's the full Latin text:

Roráte caéli désuper,
et núbes plúant jústum.

Ne irascáris Dómine,
ne ultra memíneris iniquitátis:
ecce cívitas Sáncti fácta est desérta:
Síon desérta fácta est:
Jerúsalem desoláta est:
dómus sanctificatiónis túæ et glóriæ túæ,
ubi laudavérunt te pátres nóstri.

Peccávimus, et fácti súmus tamquam immúndus nos,
et cecídimus quasi fólium univérsi:
et iniquitátes nóstræ quasi véntus abstulérunt nos:
abscondísti faciem túam a nóbis,
et allisísti nos in mánu iniquitátis nóstræ.

Víde Dómine afflictiónem pópuli túi,
et mítte quem missúrus es:
emítte Agnum dominatórem térræ,
de Pétra desérti ad móntem fíliæ Síon:
ut áuferat ípse júgum captivitátis nóstræ.

Consolámini, consolámini, pópule méus:
cito véniet sálus túa:
quare mæróre consúmeris,
quia innovávit te dólor?
Salvábo te, nóli timére,
égo enim sum Dóminus Déus túus,
Sánctus Israël, Redémptor túus.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

North Point's iBand

"Christmas music using borrowed iPhones and iPads at North Point Community Church. Download more free music from North Point --"

Advent 3: Dicite, Pusillanimes

This is the Communion Song for Advent 3. Here's a version from somebody in, I think, Poland:

The text is from Isaiah 35:4: "Take courage, you who are fainthearted, and do not fear; behold, our God will come and he will save us." Here's the score:

Here again are links to all the Introits for Advent; this Sunday is Gaudete in Domino, "Rejoice!":

And this Sunday itself is called Gaudete, too; the color is rose ("Rejoice!"), and the pink candle on the Advent wreath is lit.

 The collect for this week is the famous "stir up" one:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The following is from Commentary on the American Prayer Book, by Marion Hatchett:
The Gelasian sacramentary is the source for this collect which is included in the first of the propers for Advent (no. 1121), and is addressed to the Son. In the Gregorian it is changed to a prayer addressed to the Father in a proper for a Sunday, included after the provisions for a winter ember vigil (no. 805). The Gallican Bobbio missal provides it as a second prayer in the first of the three Masses for Advent (no. 38). In the Sarum missal it was appointed for the fourth Sunday in Advent. Cranmer retained it in that version with slight changes, adding the phrase "among us" and, at the end of the petition, "through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord." Revisers in 1662 added the phrase "in running the race that is set before us," and expanded "deliver us" to "help and deliver us." Cranmer's second phrase was deleted in the 1928 revision and the first of the additions of the 1662 edition has been dropped in the present revision, thus restoring the prayer to a form close to its original. The prayer echoes Psalm 80:2 and Hebrews 12:1. The one remnant of a series of four prayers which began with "excita" (stir up) used on four of the last five Sundays before Christmas in the Sarum missal, this prayer sets forth better than the others the themes of the two advents: the first in which He came in humility, and the second in which He comes in power; the first in which He came to save, and the second in which He comes to help and relieve.

The rubric following is a reminder that the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week are the traditional winter ember days, though these may now be transferred to a time related to local or diocesan occasions for ordination.

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:

John Tavener - Song of the Angel

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Advent 2: Ierusalem Surge

Ierusalem Surge - Arise, Jerusalem! - is the Communion song for the second Sunday in Advent. I've actually posted on this before, last year; there's a longer post on this text here, and my theory about the "matching" (bookending might be more accurate!) text used during Lent.

Here, the choir of the Community of St. Lazare sings it:

The Brazilian Benedictines, too, offer the score for this Communio, and an mp3.

The text itself comes from Baruch 5:5 and 4:36:
Jerusalem surge, et sta in excelso, et vide
jucunditatem quae veniet tibi a Deo tuo.

Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and behold
the joy that comes to thee from thy God!

Here again is that lovely polyphonic version by Giacomo Mezzalira:

That YouTube page says this, in Italian, about the video:
Basilica San Vittore 8 maggio 2008. Coro da Camera di Varese diretto da Gabriele Conti. Concerto di presentazione del libro e del CD "TRIBUS VOCIBUS" di GIACOMO MEZZALIRA 24 mottetti a 3 voci miste in tutte le tonalità maggiori e minori. Edizioni Carrara Bergamo.

I think this is the composer's blog.

The collect for this week 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.

The following is from Commentary on the American Prayer Book, by Marion Hatchett:
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.

And truly, Advent is prophet time!  Which I love; the Old Testament reading this year in the RCL is from Isiaiah (11:1-10):

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

John the Baptist makes his first appearance in the Gospel (Matthew 3:1-12):
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
`Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.'"
Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

"I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

Here again are links to all the Introits for Advent; this week, obviously, it's Populus Sion:

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:

Here's Rembrandt's wonderful "Preaching of St. John the Baptist:

Thursday, December 02, 2010

J. S. Bach - Cantata "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" BWV 140 (1/4)

"Wachet auf," ruft uns die Stimme
Der Wächter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
"Wach auf du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heißt diese Stunde!"
Sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde:
"Wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohlauf, der Bräutigam kommt,
Steht auf, die Lampen nehmt!
Macht euch bereit zur Hochzeitsfreud;
Ihr müsset ihm entgegengehen!"

Er kommt, er kommt,
Der Bräutgam kommt!
Ihr Töchter Zions, kommt heraus,
Sein Ausgang eilet aus der Höhe
In euer Mutter Haus.
Der Bräutgam kommt, der einem Rehe
Und jungen Hirsche gleich
Auf denen Hügeln springt
Und euch das Mahl der Hochzeit bringt.
Wacht auf, ermuntert euch!
Den Bräutgam zu empfangen!
Dort, sehet, kommt er hergegangen.

Wake, arise, the voices call us
Of watchmen from the lofty tower;
Arise, thou town Jerusalem!
Midnight's hour doth give its summons;
They call to us with ringing voices;
"Where are ye prudent virgins now?
Make haste, the bridegroom comes;
Rise up and take your lamps!
Prepare to join
The wedding feast,
Go forth to meet him as he comes!"

He comes, he comes,
The bridegroom comes!
O Zion's daughters, come ye forth,
His journey hieth from the heavens
Into your mother's house.
The bridegroom comes, who to a roebuck
And youthful stag is like,
Which on the hills doth leap;
To you the marriage meal he brings.
Rise up, be lively now
The bridegroom here to welcome!
There, look now, thence he comes to meet you.


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