Friday, December 24, 2010

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":


Death Bredon said...

Tavener's proclamation is a setting of a tradition Orthodox hymn that is sung at Christmas Hours.

bls said...

I thought probably so, but hadn't the time to look more into it - so thanks very much!

Merry Christmas to you -


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