Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New View

Today, March 31, Blogger - i.e., Google - put out a preview of some new formats called "Views." At some point I will be able to change the layout of this blog to my favorite of these formats ("sidebar"), but at the moment a user is required to append the word "view" to the URL. Here's what the views look like - there are 5 of them; use the little dropdown to switch between them - but you will have to do the appending each time. There are still some glitches, but you'll get the flavor.

Better still - I'll put a link in the sidebar here so that you can switch when you come to the page. They are much nicer than the whole long scroll thing you have to do currently - especially on a blog like this one, which is so heavy with video that it takes a long time to load the whole page. I cut down to only 8 posts on the main page (from 12) because of this problem, but I'm sure it's still very slow. That will change once I can use the template; meantime, it's got to be done by you, by hand - if you want.

The Introit for the Fourth Sunday in Lent: Laetare Jerusalem ("Rejoice, O Jerusalem")

Here's a gorgeous video of this Introit, sung (with drone) by Discantus; the Gregorian chant score is just below it:

Here's JogueChant's mp3 version, along with their translation:
Rejoice, O Jerusalem; and gather round, all you who love her; rejoice in gladness, after having been in sorrow; exult and be replenished with the consolation flowing from her motherly bosom. I rejoiced when it was said unto me: "Let us go to the house of the Lord."

The texts come from Isaiah 66:10-11 and Psalm 122:1:
10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her.
11 For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance.”

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD.”

This Sunday is called "Laetare," in fact, because of the incipit of this Introit. New Advent has this to say about that (I put in the paragraphs):
The fourth, or middle, Sunday of Lent, so called from the first words of the Introit at Mass, "Laetare Jerusalem" — "Rejoice, O Jerusalem". During the first six or seven centuries the season of Lent commenced on the Sunday following Quinquagesima, and thus comprised only thirty-six fasting days. To these were afterwards added the four days preceding the first Sunday, in order to make up the forty days' fast, and one of the earliest liturgical notices of these extra days occurs in the special Gospels assigned to them in a Toulon manuscript of 714.

Strictly speaking, the Thursday before Laetare Sunday is the middle day of Lent, and it was at one time observed as such, but afterwards the special signs of joy permitted on this day, intended to encourage the faithful in their course through the season of penance, were transferred to the Sunday following. They consist of (like those of Gaudete Sunday in Advent) in the use of flowers on the altar, and of the organ at Mass and Vespers; rose-coloured vestments also allowed instead of purple, and the deacon and subdeacon wear dalmatics, instead of folded chasubles as on the other Sundays of Lent.

The contrast between Laetare and the other Sundays is thus emphasized, and is emblematical of the joys of this life, restrained rejoicing mingled with a certain amount of sadness. The station at Rome was on this day made at the church of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, one of the seven chief basilicas; the Golden Rose, sent by the popes to Catholic sovereigns, used to be blessed at this time, and for this reason the day was sometimes called "Dominicade Rosa".

Other names applied to it were Refreshment Sunday, or the Sunday of the Five Loaves, from a miracle recorded in the Gospel; Mid-Lent, mi-carême, or mediana; and Mothering Sunday, in allusion to the Epistle, which indicates our right to be called the sons of God as the source of all our joy, and also because formerly the faithful used to make their offerings in the cathedral or mother-church on this day. This latter name is still kept up in some remote parts of England, though the reason for it has ceased to exist.

The day has been called "Laetare" for a long time, although I haven't actually been able to determine exactly how long.

Here's a version of the Introit in English:

There exists an icon representing Laetare Sunday - and it is a depiction of the miracle of the Five Loaves, as mentioned above:

And the Collect for today is a perfect fit with that Gospel story:
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Here's Hatchett on that one:
The Gregorian collect (no. 256) which had been appointed for this Sunday beseeches relief from deserved punishment. It is replaced by a revised version of a collect written by F.B. McNutt. The new collect is more appropriate for this Sunday, for it echoes the lections and reinforces the traditional custom of this days as "mothering Sunday" or Refreshment Sunday. When Lent began, as it originally did, on the Monday after the first Sunday in Lent (rather than on Ash Wednesday), this day marked the half-way point in the season and was observed with feasting. In some places it was customary on this day to visit the mother church of the diocese and make offerings there. In others servants and apprentices often visited their parents on this Sunday, carrying with them a present which commonly took the form of a "mothering cake."

Full Homely Divinity has something about "Mothering Sunday" - including a few recipes for Simnel Cake!

Our reading for this Sunday, though, is this great one from John:
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, `Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened." He said, "He is a prophet."

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?" Then they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." The man answered, "Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." They answered him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?" And they drove him out.

Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered, "And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him." Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he." He said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped him. Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind." Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, `We see,' your sin remains."

I was surprised to find no polyphonic pieces that use "Laetare" as a text!   I can offer you, though, the very wonderful "I Was Glad" by C.H.H. Parry, based in Psalm 122.  I've had the privilege and pleasure of singing this wonderful piece of bombast, I will add - and I'd love to do it again, anytime.  Just ask.

Coverdale, of course!
1 I was glad when they said unto me *
We will go into the house of the Lord.
2 Our feet shall stand in thy gates *
O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built as a city *
that is at unity in itself.
4 For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord *
to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
5 For there is the seat of judgement *
even the seat of the house of David.
6 O pray for the peace of Jerusalem *
they shall prosper that love thee.
7 Peace be within thy walls *
and plenteousness within thy palaces.
8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes *
I will wish thee prosperity.
9 Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God *
I will seek to do thee good.

Not too bad a theme for a day of Rejoicing, eh? offers a complete list of today's propers sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines; note that the Offertory and Communio vary, depending on the Gospel for the day.
Hebdomada quarta quadragesimæ  Dominica
Introitus: Cf. Is. 66, 10.11; Ps. 121 Lætare Ierusalem (3m46.5s - 3540 kb) chant score
Graduale: Ps. 121, 1. V. 7 Lætatus sum (1m58.9s - 1858 kb) chant score
Tractus: Ps. 124, 1.2 Qui confidunt (3m13.4s - 3024 kb) chant score
Offertorium: Ps. 134, 3.6 Laudate Dominum (1m37.4s - 1524 kb) chant score
                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Ps. 12, 4.5 Illumina oculos meos (1m33.8s - 1468 kb) chant score
Communio:  Ps. 121, 3.4 Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur chant score (1m09.7s - 1092 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de cæco nato:
                  Io. 9, 6.11.38 Lutum fecit (39.3s - 616 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Lc. 15, 32 Oportet te (28.9s - 454 kb)

The old set of propers is, for the most part, just the same; the only changes are the additions for switching chants depending on the Gospel reading - which is in turn dependent upon the 3-year lectionary - a practice that wasn't adopted until the 1970s.

Other Chantblog articles about the propers for the day include:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mockingbird: PZ's Podcast: Bishop Bell's Speech

The following is a post from Mockingbird blog: "PZ's Podcast: Bishop Bell's Speech."   You can listen to the original podcast here, at PZ's Podcasts. it's #115 in the list.   (I can never figure out iTunes, so I'm honestly not sure how to link it directly!)  There are actually two consecutive podcasts on Bishop Bell; #s 114 and 115 - but these are in reverse chronological order.
If we ever needed Bishop Bell again, we need him today!

George K.A. Bell (1883-1958) was Bishop of Chichester in the Church of England during the Second World War. Bell became controversial -- highly unpopular -- because of a speech he made in the House of Lords on February 9, 1944, opposing RAF Bomber Command's 'carpet bombing' of German cities. Winston Churchill's War Cabinet regarded such bombing as the way to end the War. Bishop Bell regarded it as a war crime.

Today Bell's speech is regarded as one of the high points of Christian witness in England during the Twentieth Century. At the time, not one colleague of Bell's in the Lords supported his stand. Not one. He was also pilloried by the press -- which proves that journalism can swing with the times, 'like a pendulum do'. As one result of his speech, the Bishop received no further preferment in the Church, and was famously blocked as the most qualified candidate to succeed William Temple as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Today's episode of 'PZ's Podcast' exposits Bishop Bell's speech. It is a wonder! Remember, although the speech is canonical today, it was universally abhorred at the time.

I wonder how George Bell would have regarded the use of un-manned drones to conduct targeted assassinations from the air. For his sake I'm glad he's dead.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Introit for the Third Sunday in Lent: Oculi Mei ("My Eyes")

Here's an mp3 of this Introit from JoguesChant. Below is the score from the Brazilian Benedictines.

JoguesChant's translation, from Psalm 25:15-16, then 1-2:
My eyes are forever turned towards the Lord; for he shall release my feet from the snare; look upon me and have mercy on me, for I am abandoned and destitute. Unto you, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; O my God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame.

The Extraordinary Form uses the same Introit today. Soon, a post about what, exactly, the sources for the EF are (once I do a little research on the topic!).

The Collect for today is a great one:
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hatchett's Commentary has this about the collect:
In the Gregorian sacramentary this collect is appointed for the second Sunday in Lent (no. 202). Earlier that had been a "vacant" Sunday, a Sunday which had no proper because of the vigil and ordination mass which had been the culmination of the ember days preceding. In that sacramentary it is also printed among the "Daily Prayers" (no. 876). In the present Book it is shifted to the third Sunday in Lent from its earlier position in the Sarum missal and older Prayer Books on the second Sunday in Lent. The text reminds us that God's protection is necessary to defend us from the assaults upon the soul as well as those on the body.

The Gospel is a great one, too: John's telling of the story of the Samaritan woman at the well:
John 4:5-42

Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, `Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."

Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come back." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, `I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!" The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us." Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you."

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or, "Why are you speaking with her?" Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, `Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, `One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world."

Later in the season, during Holy Week, another "Oculi mei" - Caligaverunt oculi mei - will be sung, and with the reverse intention, as part of the Tenebrae resposories.
Caligaverunt oculi mei a fletu meo: quia elongatus est a me, qui consolabatur me: Videte, omnes populi, si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.

My eyes are darkened by my tears: For He is far from me that comforted Me:
See, O all ye people, if there be a sorrow like unto My sorrow. O all ye that pass by, behold and see if there be a sorrow like unto My sorrow.

Here's the Victoria version, again sung my recent discovery "The Sixteen":

Again I wonder if this sort of thing was done intentionally; "Oculi mei" from Psalm 25 early in Lent, and a song of confidence in God's protection in hard times - but then Holy Week turns this upside-down, and the "Oculi mei" for that week speaks of the feeling of utter desolation and the feeling of abandonment.

I need to learn much more about Tenebrae, I see now....

Here are all the chant propers for the day, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:
Hebdomada tertia quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 24, 15.16 et 1-2 Oculi mei (3m02.3s - 2852 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 9, 20. V. 4 Exsurge... non prævaleat (3m46.7s - 3546 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 122, 1-3 Ad te levavi (1m45.2s - 1646 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 18, 9.11.12 Iustitiæ Domini (1m21.7s - 1278 kb) score
                 Quando legitur Evangelium de Samaritana:
                 Io. 4, 13.14 Qui biberit aquam (3m02.3s - 2852 kb)
                 Quando legitur aliud Evangelium:
                 Ps. 83, 4.5 Passer invenit (3m30.3s - 3288 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog for other propers of this day:

Here's Bernardo Strozzi's "Christ and the Samaritan Woman," from sometime in the early 1600s:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Offertory for the Feast of the Annunciation: Ave Maria, gracia plena

The Feast of the Annunciation is this Friday.  If you're in New York, you'll really, really enjoy celebrating it here.

The Offertory on the day is Ave Maria, gracia plena - one of the most famous of Latin phrases: "Hail Mary, full of grace." Here's Giovanni Vianini's Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis' version of this offertory:

Here's the score:

The text comes from Luke's Gospel, and the story of the Annunciation:
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’*
29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
30 The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.
31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’
34 Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’*
35 The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born* will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.
37 For nothing will be impossible with God.’
38 Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Here's a quite nice thing I came across while searching on the topic, via New Liturgical Movement and something called "Anglican Use": it's a PDF of the mass chant propers for the Feast of the Annunciation. In English.  Here's the same list of propers, with scores and mp3s, from the Brazilian Benedictines.  In Latin.

And here's a page of all the chants for this day, from Ad Vesperas to Ad Missam, and everything in between, from the LaTrobe Medieval Music Database.

Ave Maria is also a prayer.  It's said in many circumstances, both public and private; public instances of the prayer include services of Evensong & Benediction, and at the ringing of the Angelus bell.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum,
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus.
Sancta Maria mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now, and in
the hour of our death.

G. Vianini also offers this "Spartito canto gregoriano, Antifona simplex" ("Mariana popolare") version of the Ave Maria prayer:

Many composers have used this text to set their music. Here's Rachmaninoff's glorious Orthodox Russian version, "Bogoroditse Dyevo Raduisya," from the All-Night Vespers:

Wow - that music is just amazing, isn't it?  The blurb at the YouTube page says the words are slightly different:
"Virgin Birthgiver of God, rejoice! Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls!"

Another lovely Ave Maria comes from Josquin des Prez and the 15th Century:

Here are the words Josquin uses here; the text comes in part from an Annunciation Sequence hymn, but there are additional words also.  I'm not yet sure where those come from:
Ave Maria, Gratia plena,
Dominus tecum, Virgo serena.
Ave, cuius Conceptio,
Solemni plena gaudio,
Caelestia, Terrestria,
Nova replet laetitia.
Ave, cuius Nativitas
Nostra fuit solemnitas,
Ut lucifer lux oriens
Verum solem praeveniens.
Ave pia humilitas,
Sine viro fecunditas,
Cuius Annuntiatio
Nostra fuit salvatio.
Ave vera virginitas,
Immaculata castitas,
Cuius Purificatio
Nostra fuit purgatio.
Ave, praeclara omnibus
Angelicis virtutibus,
Cuius Assumptio
Nostra fuit glorificatio.
O Mater Dei,
Memento mei. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee, serene Virgin.
Hail, thou whose Conception,
Full of great joy,
Fills heaven and earth
With new gladness.
Hail, thou whose Nativity
Became our great celebration,
As the light-bearing Morning Star
anticipates the true Sun.
Hail, faithful humility,
Fruitful without man,
Whose Annunciation
Was our salvation.
Hail, true virginity,
Immaculate chastity,
Whose Purification
Was our cleansing.
Hail, glorious one
In all angelic virtures,
Whose Assumption
Was our glorification.
O Mother of God,
Remember me. Amen.

As you can see above, Annunciation, Conception, Nativity, Purification (Candlemas), and Assumption are all alluded to in the text above.

Here's the full plainchant Annunciation sequence, sung by the Schola Cantorum de Regina Pacis (Klaipeda, Lithuania); the words in Latin and English are beneath the video.

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum—virgo serena.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus—
que peperpisti pacem hominibus
et angelis gloriam.
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui—
qui coheredes ut essemus sui
nos, fecit per gratiam.
Per hoc autem Ave
Mundo tam suave,
Contra carnis iura
Genuisti prolem
Novum stella solem
Nova genitura.
Tu parvi et magni,
Leonis et agni,
Salvatoris Xpisti
Templum extitisti,
Sed virgo intacta.
Tu floris et roris,
Panis et pastoris,
Virginum regina
Rosa sine spina,
Genitrix es facta.
Tu civitas regis iusticie,
Tu mater es misericordie,
De lacu faecis et miseriae
Theophilum reformans gratie.
Te collaudat celestis curia,
Tibi nostra favent obsequia,
Que es Dei mater et filia,
Per te reis donatur venia.
Ergo maris stella,
Verbi Dei cella
Et solis aurora,
Paradysi porta,
Per quam lux est orta,
Natum tuum ora,
Ut nos solvat a peccatis,
Et in regna claritatis
Quo lux lucet sedula,
Collocet per secula.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with you—O serene virgin.
Blessed are you among women,
you who bore peace for humankind
and glory for the angels.
And blessed is the fruit of your womb—
he who makes us his heirs through grace,
so that we might be his.
But though this “Ave” —
So pure and sweet,
Contrary to the law of the flesh—
You, O star, through a new birth
Brought forth your offspring,
The new sun.
You stand out as the temple
Of the humble and the great,
Of the lion and the lamb,
Of Christ the savior—
Yet you remain a virgin.
You have been made mother
Of the bud and the dew,
Of the bread and the shepherd
You are queen of virgins,
Rose without thorns.
You are the city of the king of justice,
You are mother of mercy,
From the pool of impurity and misery
You recast one who through grace
becomes a lover of God.
You the celestial curia together praises in song,
To You our services are devoted,
You who are mother and daughter of God,
Through You the pardon for guilt is offered.
Therefore star of the sea,
Sanctuary of the word of God
And dawn of the sun,
Door of paradise
Through which the Light is born:
Pray to Him your Son,
That He might free us from sins,
And place us in the kingdom of clarity,
Where the sedulous light shines
Through all ages.

This appears to be a section of the Sequence, perhaps reworked, from Guillaume Du Fay's Missa Ecce Ancille Domini. This small clip calls it "Ave maria...Virgo serena (Sequence for the Annunciation)." 

And in notes I have from a chant class, I see "+iii in Assumptione."

And ah!  I hadn't noticed before, but there, at the end of this sequence, are the words to one of my very favorite chants of all:  Ergo Maris Stella!  In fact, I should have known, because it's in my notes at that post - and in fact so is this entire sequence! - but I didn't put the two things together.

In truth, though, this text is very sequence-ish!   Quick, rhythmic, poetic, evocative phrases taken from non-Scriptural sources.   Again I realize need to do some serious research on this topic; this is composed music, and I do think there are patterns to be found in it - despite the fact that there had to have been numerous composers.

Actually, sequences remind me of nothing so much as Orthodox hymnody; not musically at all, but in the texts.  I do like the Scriptural sources, of course - but these are really interesting and more idiosyncratic poetry, just like some of the Eastern stuff.

This page (quoted also in my post linked above) says that:
The sequence Ave Maria...virgo serena demonstrates the new style of both poetry and music that emerged in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries. The poetry of the sequence is rhymed without being strictly metrical, and the music is shaped by the rhythmic flow and rhymed lines of the text. While this sequence originated in the south German sphere around 1100, by the fifteenth century it was sung throughout Europe.

Well, that's next; I'm sure I'll be back with more about this.  Meantime:  Hail Mary, full of Grace!  And here's an annunciation from Andrea del Sarto that I quite like.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Lent Prose: Hear Us O Lord (Attende Domine)

This is the English language version of the original 10th Century Mozarabic hymn, Attende Domine, which is especially appropriate for Lent.  Here it's led by George Curnow, Senior Cantor at the Church of St. Martin in Roath:

The words in English:
Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

To thee, Redeemer, on thy throne of glory:
lift we our weeping eyes in holy pleadings:
listen, O Jesu, to our supplications.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

O thou chief cornerstone, right hand of the Father:
way of salvation, gate of life celestial:
cleanse thou our sinful souls from all defilement.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

God, we implore thee, in thy glory seated:
bow down and hearken to thy weeping children:
pity and pardon all our grievous trespasses.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Sins oft committed, now we lay before thee:
with true contrition, now no more we veil them:
grant us, Redeemer, loving absolution.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Innocent captive, taken unresisting:
falsely accused, and for us sinners sentenced,
save us, we pray thee, Jesu, our Redeemer.

Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.

Go here for audio and words in Latin.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Introit for the Second Sunday in Lent: Tibi dixit cor meum ("My heart said unto you")

Here's an mp3 of this Introit, from JoguesChant, and below is the score.

From Psalm 27, vv. 8-9, then 1. A translation from JoguesChant:
My heart declared to you: "Your countenance have I sought; I shall ever seek your countenance, O Lord; do not turn your face from me." The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

Here's Giovanni Viannini's version:

Interestingly, this is also the Introit for the Feast of the Transfiguration! But in the Extraordinary Form, the Introit is listed as Reminiscere Miserationum.  I'll make a separate post for that one.

The readings for today are here.  They include God's call to Abram to leave his native land and go east; the beautiful Psalm 121; Paul's reference to Abraham's faith ( "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"); and Nicodemus, who comes to Jesus at night.

The Collect for the day is:
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hatchett's Commentary has this on the topic of this collect: 
This collect has links to one of the Good Friday solemn collects in the Missale Gallicanum vetus (no. 107), the Gelasian sacramentary (no. 413), and the Gregorian sacramentary (no. 351). In these books it follows a bidding to pray for heretics and schismatics that they may be delivered from their errors and recalled to the catholic and apostolic church. In its new context as a Sunday collect it refers to those who have abandoned the practice of Christian faith.

One of the things that is most interesting to me in looking at the propers for each Sunday is, actually, seeing what the 1979 Book of Common Prayer does. It gives me heart to see that people are still considering these things, thinking hard about them, and working out their ideas about them.

What's most important, of course, is how it all works together in "formative" ways for the faithful. I'm very interested in preserving the past - but also in moving forward in new ways. "Out of the storehouse," it says, "the master brings treasures both new and old."

Here are all of today's chant propers, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:

Hebdomada secunda quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 26, 8.9 et 1 Tibi dixit cor meum (cum Gloria Patri) (2m59.6s - 2808 kb)
Graduale: Ps. 82, 19. V. 14 Sciant gentes (3m00.8s - 2828 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 59, 4.6 Commovisti (2m18.1s - 2160 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 118, 47.48 Meditabor (1m16.1s - 1192 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 17, 9 Visionem (2m36.4s - 2446 kb) score

Here are links to Chantblog articles about the propers for today:

The EF Introit for Lent II: Reminiscere Miserationum ("Remember Your Mercies")

This is the Extraordinary Form of the Introit for the Second Sunday in Lent; it doesn't agree with the modern list of propers, as noted in the previous post.   (The Gradual and the Communio are different, in fact, too, between the versions.)

The text for this - Psalm 25:6, 3, 22, 1-2, it says - actually makes more sense for Lent.  Here's an mp3, and here's the chant score, both from Renegoupil:

Renegoupil also provides a PDF of all the propers - texts and music both.  That's handy.

Here's a great version of this; the YouTube page says it's from "Gregorian - Oremus."   Not sure exactly what that means; these women sound like professionals, but there's a movement on the recording at the end that doesn't seem to fit a performance.  Well, it's gorgeous, anyway - a different sort of Gregorian singing that I like a lot.

Here's the translation, along with text source, from Renegoupil:
Remember, O Lord, Thy bowels of compassion, and Thy mercies that are from the beginning of the world, lest at any time our enemies rule over us: deliver us, O God of Israel, from all our tribulations.

(Ps. 24:1-2) To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me be not ashamed.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the
beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Here are all of today's chant propers (these are the Ordinary Form chants), sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:

Hebdomada secunda quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 26, 8.9 et 1 Tibi dixit cor meum (cum Gloria Patri) (2m59.6s - 2808 kb)
Graduale: Ps. 82, 19. V. 14 Sciant gentes (3m00.8s - 2828 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 59, 4.6 Commovisti (2m18.1s - 2160 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 118, 47.48 Meditabor (1m16.1s - 1192 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 17, 9 Visionem (2m36.4s - 2446 kb) score

Here are links to Chantblog articles about the propers for today:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Easter Lent (Eastern Orthodox) - Open To Me The Doors Of Repentance

HT Christopher.

The Oxyrhynchus Hymn

This page offers the original (reconstructed) Greek text:

The original language of this hymn is Greek. The brackets denote reconstructed areas of the text.

Spoken: [Σε Πάτερ κόσμων, Πάτερ αἰώνων, μέλπωμεν] ὁμοῦ, πᾶσαι τε Θεοῦ λόγιμοι δο[ῦλο]ι. Ὅσα κ[όσμος ἔχει πρὸς ἐπουρανίων ἁγίων σελάων.]
Sung: [Πρ]υτανήω σιγάτω, μηδ' ἄστρα φαεσφόρα λ[αμπέ]
Spoken: σθων, [ἀπ]ολει[όντων] ῥ[ιπαὶ πνοιῶν, πηγαὶ]
Sung: ποταμῶν ῥοθίων πᾶσαι. Υμνούντων δ' ἡμῶν [Π]ατέρα χ' Υἱὸν χ' Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, πᾶσαι δυνάμεις ἐπιφωνούντων· Ἀμήν, Ἀμήν. Κράτος, αἶνος [ἀεὶ καὶ δόξα Θεοὶ δωτῆρι μόνῳ πάντων] ἀγαθῶν· Ἀμήν, Ἀμήν."
A literal translation from Greek to English would read:

.. Let it be silent
Let the Luminous stars not shine,
Let the winds (?) and all the noisy rivers die down;
And as we hymn the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Let all the powers add "Amen Amen"
Empire, praise always, and glory to God,
The sole giver of good things, Amen Amen

This is another translation from the same page:
Let the world be silent Let not the stars shine their lights
Calm the winds, silence the rivers
Let all praise the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit
Let all sing together Amen, Amen.
Let kings bow, and God receive the glory!
The sole giver of good things, Amen Amen.

From the same link, this is a transcription of the hymn:

Wikipedia says this:
The Oxyrhynchus hymn (or P. Oxy. XV 1786) is the earliest known manuscript of a Christian hymn to contain both lyrics and musical notation. It is found on Papyrus 1786 of the Oxyrhynchus papyri, now kept at the Papyrology Rooms of the Sackler Library, Oxford. This papyrus fragment was unearthed in 1918 and the discovery was first published in 1922.[1] The hymn was written down around the end of the 3rd century AD.

The text, in Greek, poetically invokes silence so that the Holy Trinity may be praised.

The music is written in Greek vocal notation.[3] It is entirely diatonic, with an ambitus of exactly an octave from F to F an octave above, and a final nominally on G (assuming a key signature without sharps or flats). The notation is Hypolydian, and employs the rhythmic symbols macron (diseme), leimma + macron, stigme, hyphen, and colon.[4] The text is largely set syllabically, with a few short melismas. The hymn's meter is essentially anapaestic, though there are some irregularities.[5]

It is often considered[who?] the only fragment of Christian music from ancient Greece, although Kenneth Levy[6] has persuasively argued that the Sanctus melody best preserved in the Western medieval Requiem mass dates from the 4th century.[3] It is similar to the hymn in its largely syllabic texture and diatonic melody, with slight differences.[vague]

Modern recordings of the hymn have been included on a number of releases of Ancient Greek music.

And gives this translation:
.. Let it be silent
Let the Luminous stars not shine,
Let the winds (?) and all the noisy rivers die down;
And as we hymn the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Let all the powers add "Amen Amen"
Empire, praise always, and glory to God,
The sole giver of good things, Amen Amen.

Here's another version:

And another:

The last version above has this note:
In 1918, in an ancient city of Egypt, called Oxyrhynchus, a papyrus fragment was discovered, which later turned out to be invaluable, for on the back of it was written a music piece with Greek letter notation, which is the hymn to the Holy Trinity, thus known to be Oxyrhynchus Hymn, the oldest extant church music we now have. Today's version is possibly the first arrangement of that hymn ever written so far. It was written for the performance of LKWC at St. James Catholic Church in Elizabeth Town on the occasion of the Trinity Week, and subsequently premiered there on June 6, 2010. This video is a recording of the 10th Annual Recital of LKWC at the SBTS on Nov. 13. 2010. (Flute: Sylvia Kim / note is published by New Praise Support Edition)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Workers at Fukushima Plant Brave Radiation and Fire -

Workers at Fukushima Plant Brave Radiation and Fire -
A small crew of technicians, braving radiation and fire, became the only people remaining at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Tuesday — and perhaps Japan’s last chance of preventing a broader nuclear catastrophe.

They crawl through labyrinths of equipment in utter darkness pierced only by their flashlights, listening for periodic explosions as hydrogen gas escaping from crippled reactors ignites on contact with air.

They breathe through uncomfortable respirators or carry heavy oxygen tanks on their backs. They wear white, full-body jumpsuits with snug-fitting hoods that provide scant protection from the invisible radiation sleeting through their bodies.

They are the faceless 50, the unnamed operators who stayed behind. They have volunteered, or been assigned, to pump seawater on dangerously exposed nuclear fuel, already thought to be partly melting and spewing radioactive material, to prevent full meltdowns that could throw thousands of tons of radioactive dust high into the air and imperil millions of their compatriots.

They struggled on Tuesday and Wednesday to keep hundreds of gallons of seawater a minute flowing through temporary fire pumps into the three stricken reactors, Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Among the many problems they faced was what appeared to be yet another fire at the plant.

The workers are being asked to make escalating — and perhaps existential — sacrifices that so far are being only implicitly acknowledged: Japan’s Health Ministry said Tuesday it was raising the legal limit on the amount of radiation to which each worker could be exposed, to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts, five times the maximum exposure permitted for American nuclear plant workers.

The change means that workers can now remain on site longer, the ministry said. “It would be unthinkable to raise it further than that, considering the health of the workers,” the health minister, Yoko Komiyama, said at a news conference.

Tokyo Electric Power, the plant’s operator, has said almost nothing at all about the workers, including how long a worker is expected to endure exposure.

The few details Tokyo Electric has made available paint a dire picture. Five workers have died since the quake and 22 more have been injured for various reasons, while two are missing. One worker was hospitalized after suddenly grasping his chest and finding himself unable to stand, and another needed treatment after receiving a blast of radiation near a damaged reactor. Eleven workers were injured in a hydrogen explosion at reactor No. 3.

Nuclear reactor operators say that their profession is typified by the same kind of esprit de corps found among firefighters and elite military units. Lunchroom conversations at reactors frequently turn to what operators would do in a severe emergency.

The consensus is always that they would warn their families to flee before staying at their posts to the end, said Michael Friedlander, a former senior operator at three American power plants for a total of 13 years.

“You’re certainly worried about the health and safety of your family, but you have an obligation to stay at the facility,” he said. “There is a sense of loyalty and camaraderie when you’ve trained with guys, you’ve done shifts with them for years.”

Adding to this natural bonding, jobs in Japan confer identity, command loyalty and inspire a particularly fervent kind of dedication. Economic straits have chipped away at the hallowed idea of lifetime employment for many Japanese, but the workplace remains a potent source of community. Mr. Friedlander said that he had no doubt that in an identical accident in the United States, 50 volunteers could be found to stay behind after everyone else evacuated from an extremely hazardous environment. But Japanese are raised to believe that individuals sacrifice for the good of the group.

The reactor operators face extraordinary risks. Tokyo Electric evacuated 750 emergency staff members from the stricken plant on Tuesday, leaving only about 50, when radiation levels soared. By comparison, standard staffing levels at the three active General Electric reactors on the site would be 10 to 12 people apiece including supervisors — an indication that the small crew left behind is barely larger than the contingent on duty on a quiet day.

They are remarkable heroes; I have tears in my eyes just thinking about them.

I keep thinking of the disasters we've all witnessed, thanks to modern communications, over the past 10 years or so. Earthquakes in Pakistan, Haiti, and Japan. Tsunamis in Malaysia and now again in Japan. Hurricanes in New Orleans and typhoons in Australia. Large-scale terrorism in New York and elsewhere. Wars, live and televised.

Most of the time, we can do only very little. We can send money or clothing; we can work to send food to the rescue workers, if we're nearby. We can help rebuild. But at the time of disaster, we can't do anything; we can only watch the massive destruction as it unfolds - and pray for those affected. It's very strange, really; we can see everything that happens, all the time and everywhere - but we can't do anything about most of it.

In the old days, we wouldn't even have heard about most of these things for months or years - if ever. Now we watch them as they happen, helplessly.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Tsunami’s Wake, Much Searching but Few Are Rescued -

The news today is not good. In Tsunami’s Wake, Much Searching but Few Are Rescued -
The mournful scene here in Natori, a farm and fishing town that has been reduced to a vast muddy plain, was similar to rescue efforts in other communities along the coast as police, military and foreign assistance teams poked through splintered houses and piles of wreckage. The death toll from what the United States Geological Survey called an 8.9-magnitude quake — the strongest in Japan’s seismically turbulent history — continued to climb, inexorably so, as officials uncovered more bodies. By Monday afternoon, the toll stood at more than 1,800 confirmed dead and 2,300 missing. Police officials, however, said it was certain that more than 10,000 had died.

Police teams, for example, found about 700 bodies that had washed ashore on a scenic peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture, close to the epicenter of the quake that unleashed the tsunami. The bodies washed out as the tsunami retreated. Now they are washing back in.

A string of crippled nuclear reactors at Fukushima also continued to bedevil engineers who were desperately trying to cool them down. The most urgent worries concerned the failures of two reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where workers were still struggling to avert meltdowns and where some radiation had already leaked.

The building housing Reactor No. 1 exploded on Saturday, and a hydrogen buildup blew the roof off the No. 3 reactor facility on Monday morning. The blast did not appear to have harmed the reactor itself, government and utility officials said, but six workers were injured in the blasts.

Later Monday, Reactor No. 2 was losing cooling function and workers were pumping in water, according to Yukio Edano, the chief government spokesman.
In the city of Fukushima, gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants were closed, and convenience stores had no food or drinks to sell — only cigarettes. Red Cross water tankers dispensed drinking water to Fukushima residents who waited in long, orderly lines.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan described the triple whammy — the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear troubles — as Japan’s “worst crisis since World War II.”

Some 350,000 people have reportedly become homeless and were staying in shelters.

Because of the Fukushima nuclear plants being lost to the national power grid, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plants, announced plans for rotating blackouts across the region to conserve electricity — the first controlled power cuts in Japan in 60 years.

Tokyo-area residents worriedly followed a series of confusing statements from the power company about the location and duration of the power cuts. Just after 5 p.m., the utility said it had already started cutting power to parts of two prefectures — Ibaraki, north of Tokyo, and Shizuoka, south of the capital.

Tokyo residents had struggled to get to work Monday as a number of important commuter rail lines ran limited schedules. Six lines featuring Japan’s famous shinkansen, or bullet trains, were not running. Six major department stores also closed for the day because staffers were unable to reach the city.

Public conservation of electricity was significant enough, the company said, that the more drastic blackout scenarios were being scaled back. Still, anticipating deep and lengthy power cuts, many people were stocking up on candles, water, instant noodles and batteries for radios.


The U.S. Geological Survey recorded 96 aftershocks on Sunday, and many Japanese were alarmed at several earthquake warnings that appeared as televised bulletins on Monday. A warning at 4 p.m., for example, an alert announced by a gentle trilling bells, told of expected “strong shaking” across the entire waist of Japan, essentially from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Also over the weekend the Japanese Meteorological Agency revised upward its measure of Friday’s quake to 9.0. The agency often provides measurements that differ from the U.S.G.S.
And Second Explosion at Reactor as Technicians Try to Contain Damage -
TOKYO — The risk of partial meltdown at a stricken nuclear power plant in Japan increased on Monday as cooling systems failed at a third reactor, possibly exposing its fuel rods, only hours after a second explosion at a separate reactor blew the roof off a containment building.

The widening problems underscore the difficulties Japanese authorities are having in bringing several damaged reactors under control three days after a devastating earthquake and a tsunami hit Japan’s northeast coast and shut down the electricity that runs the crucial cooling systems for reactors.

Operators fear that if they cannot establish control, despite increasingly desperate measures to do so, the reactors could experience meltdowns, which would release catastrophic amounts of radiation.

It was unclear if radiation was released by Monday’s explosion, but a similar explosion at another reactor at the plant over the weekend did release radioactive material.

Live footage on public broadcaster NHK showed the skeletal remains of the reactor building and thick smoke rising from the building. Eleven people had been injured in the blast, one seriously, officials said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that the release of large amounts of radiation was unlikely. But traces of radiation could be released into the atmosphere, and about 500 people who remained within a 12-mile radius were ordered temporarily to take cover indoors, he said.

The country’s nuclear power watchdog said readings taken soon after the explosion showed no big change in radiation levels around the plant or any damage to the containment vessel, which protects the radioactive material in the reactor.
“I have received reports that the containment vessel is sound,” Mr. Edano said. “I understand that there is little possibility that radioactive materials are being released in large amounts.”

In screenings, higher-than-normal levels of radiation have been detected from at least 22 people evacuated from near the plant, the nuclear safety watchdog said, but it was not clear if the doses they received were dangerous.
Japan Earthquake Response Fund.
The Japan Earthquake Response Fund has been opened to collect donations for emergency relief provided through local partners in Japan and other areas affected by the disaster. A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake centered off the east coast of Japan’s largest island, Hokkaido, triggered a tsunami that devastated large areas of Japan and caused damage as far away as Hawai’i and the west coast of the US. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those affected.

You can donate at that page if you're so inclined.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Introit for the First Sunday in Lent: Invocabit me

Here is the mp3 from JoguesChant for this Introit, and below is their chant score.

JoguesChant gives us this translation of the text, which comes from Psalm 91:
When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will rescue him and honour him; with long life will I satisfy him. He who abides in the shelter of the Most High, shall remain under the protection of the God of Heaven.

Here's a really lovely video version of this, from the Concerto Chiesa di San Bevignate (Perugia), recorded on March 21, 2009:

(I thought I had already posted the Introits for Lent and was starting out on the Communion songs - but then realized I was wrong. I haven't posted Introits for this season yet, so I'll do it for each Sunday in Lent this year. Better late than never.)

All the texts for the Lent 1 propers come, as mentioned in the previous post, from Psalm 91 - something that is quite unusual, as far as I know. I don't know of another day of the year in which all the propers come from a single source; it seems to me this means that the people who put all these propers together think that the First Sunday in Lent is very important, as Sundays go. The Psalm is quoted in the Gospel reading (Matthew's story of Jesus in the wilderness) - but so are other Psalms, all the time. I'm going to try to find out exactly how this happened, and will post whatever I find.

There is more about Psalm 91 in the post linked above.

Here are the propers for for Lent I, from the Brazilian Benedictines:

Hebdomada prima quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 90, 15.16 et 1 Invocabit me (cum Gloria Patri) (4m21.1s - 4083 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 90, 11-12 Angelis suis (4m03.3s - 3805 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 90, 1-7 et 11-16 Qui habitat (2m59.0s - 2801 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 90, 4-5 Scapulis suis (1m04.4s - 1011 kb) score
Communio: Ps. 90, 4-5 Scapulis suis (4m32.5s - 4261 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog about the propers for the First Sunday in Lent:

I've gotten to like this painting of Christ in the desert, by Russian painter Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi, from about 1872. (I don't know of many others that deal with this subject, actually - which is a bit surprising, because it seems like a fertile one.)

BBC News - Japan quake survivors return to devastated Minamisanriku port

Death Toll Estimate in Japan Soars as Relief Efforts Intensify -

Death Toll Estimate in Japan Soars as Relief Efforts Intensify -
In one town alone, the port of Minamisanriku, a senior police official said the number of dead would “certainly be more than 10,000.” The overall number is also certain to climb as searchers began to reach coastal villages that essentially vanished under the first muddy surge of the tsunami, which struck the nation’s northern Pacific coast. Prime Minister Naoto Kan told anews conference late Sunday: “I think that the earthquake, tsunami and the situation at our nuclear reactors makes up the worst crisis in the 65 years since the war. If the nation works together, we will overcome.”

The government ordered 100,000 troops into relief roles in the field — nearly half the country’s active military force and the largest mobilization in postwar Japan. An American naval strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan also arrived off Japan on Sunday to help with refueling, supply and rescue duties.

Amid the despair and mourning, amid the worry over an unrelenting series of strong aftershocks, there was one bright moment on Sunday morning as Japanese naval forces rescued a 60-year-old man who had been riding the roof of his house for the past two days.

Hiromitsu Arakawa’s tiny home in the town of Minami-soma was torn from its foundations by the first wave of the tsunami that crashed ashore Friday afternoon, the defense ministry said. Mr. Arakawa saw his wife slip away in the deluge, and he clung to the roof as the house drifted away. He was discovered late Sunday morning, still on his roof, 9 miles south of his hometown and 9 miles out to sea.

The quake was the strongest ever recorded to hit Japan, which sits astride the notorious “ring of fire” that marks the most violent seismic activity in the Pacific Basin. On Sunday, the Japanese Meteorological Agency “upgraded” the quake’s magnitude from 8.8 to 9.0, an effective doubling of its recorded power.Nuclear officials in Fukushima shut down three reactors after the tsunami on Friday but an explosion tore through the No. 1 reactor building on Saturday.

When the cooling system on the No. 3 reactor also began to fail Sunday, workers pumped seawater and boron into it. Yukio Edano, the government’s chief cabinet secretary, warned Sunday of the possibility of an explosion at No. 3 — and the chance of meltdowns at both reactors.

Some 80,000 people were ordered to evacuate danger zones around two atomic facilities in Fukushima. Japanese officials reported that 19 people showed signs of radiation exposure and as many as another 141 were feared to have been exposed, including some who had been outside the plant waiting to be evacuated. . Three workers are suffering from full-on radiation sickness.

Northern Japan relies heavily on nuclear power for its electricity, and the government said it was instituting a series of rolling blackouts across the country starting Monday to make up for the diminished capacity from the reactor failures at Fukushima.

In a televised address the trade minister, Banri Kaieda, asked businesses to limit their use of power as they returned to operation on Monday. He asked specifically for nighttime cutbacks of lights and heating.

In Sendai, a city of roughly a million people in the region at the center of the catastrophe, many buildings cracked but none had collapsed. Still, city officials said that more than 500,000 households and businesses were without water, and many more lacked electricity as well.

Soldiers surrounded Sendai’s City Hall, where officials converted two floors to treat evacuees and drew power from a generator. Thousands of residents sought refuge inside waiting anxiously for word from their relatives. A line of people waited outside with plastic bottles and buckets in hand to collect water from a pump.

Masaki Kokubum, 35, has been living in City Hall since the quake. He works at a supermarket, and his neighborhood lost power and water. He said he had not slept in three days, and as he spoke he seemed dazed.

“I can’t sleep,” he said as he sat in a chair in a hallway. “I just sit here and wait.” Aerial photos on Sunday showed floodwaters receding from the runways at the airport in Sendai, which is the capital of Miyagi prefecture.

“The rescue is going on through the night, of course,” Michael Tonge, a teacher from Britain, said early Sunday morning from his home in the city.

No buildings had collapsed in his neighborhood, Mr. Tonge said, and people were not panicking — typical of a nation accustomed to order and schooled to stay calm and constructive.

“The few shops open have people queuing nicely,” he said, “with no pushing or fighting or anything.” Tokyo and central Japan continued to be struck by aftershocks from quakes off the eastern coast of Honshu Island, and United States agencies recorded 90 smaller quakes throughout the day Saturday. A long tremor registering 6.2 caused buildings in central Tokyo to sway dramatically on Sunday morning.

Search teams from more than a dozen nations were bound for Japan, including a unit from New Zealand, which suffered a devastating quake last month in Christchurch. A Japanese team that had been working in New Zealand also was called home.

A combined search squad from Los Angeles County and Fairfax County, Va., arrived from the United States with 150 personnel and a dozen sniffer dogs.

Assistance teams also were due from China and South Korea, two of Japan’s traditional and most bitter rivals. Tokyo’s acceptance of these offers of help —along with a parade of senior officials offering updates at televised news conferences on Sunday —was in marked contrast to government policies after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, which killed more than 6,000 people. The government refused most offers of aid at the time, put restrictions on foreign aid operations and offered little information about the disaster.

Good Lord, look mercifully upon them.  Here's the Times' "Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How to Help."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japanese Town Reels From Chaos Left by Tsunami -

Japanese Town Reels From Chaos Left by Tsunami -

Just 15 minutes had passed since a devastating earthquake rocked Nakaminato and a broad stretch of Japan’s northeastern coast.

Mrs. Koguchi rushed to her car, escaping shortly before the swirling, debris-laden water crumpled one of the walls of her small Japanese ryokan, or inn, and left a trail of destruction throughout the town. On Saturday, you could smell the effects as much as see it: the air stank of dead fish and sticky brown mud deposited by the three feet of water that had flowed freely through the roads closest to the ocean.

She spent the night in a community center, in freezing temperatures, but went home as soon as she could Saturday. She had not eaten in 24 hours.

“People used to come and praise my inn as beautiful,” she said as she tried to clear the silt and fish that blanketed the floor of her inn. “Now look at it. It’s disheartening.”

A day after the most powerful quake to strike Japan in recorded history hit off the country’s northeast coast, people here remained on edge. They had spent the night without electricity, running water or working telephones, and aftershocks rocked the area all night Friday and through the day on Saturday.

The scenes of destruction were especially frightening because they are far from the worst-hit areas. Nakaminato is on the southern edge of the worst devastation from the 8.9-magnitude quake and the tsunami it spawned, which swept away whole villages farther north. Nakaminato sits about 155 miles south of Sendai, the northern city that bore much of the brunt of the tsunami.

Before the shaking and the waves hit, Nakaminato’s buildings had a worn-out look; the town had been left behind by the country’s industrial buildup and by the young people who headed for thriving cities. The mostly aging population made its living mainly from fishing; the heart of the community was a fishing co-op on the waterfront.

On Saturday, the waterfront was battered, and Nakaminato’s residents were surrounded by the signs of a livelihood in tatters. Giant freezers in the co-op were stacked on top of each other, packed against a far wall where the waves had pushed them. Forty-foot fishing boats, tilting in all directions, were piled on top of a long concrete wharf.

And the fish, mostly silver and blue bonito, were everywhere, mouths agape.
Yukinao Nemoto, a 34-year-old forklift driver, was at the wharf on Saturday, trying to absorb the chaos around him. He was loading a boat on Friday afternoon when he noticed the bottom of the forklift suddenly scraping the ground. The reality that the earth was moving took a moment to set in: the forklift hit the ground because the ground beneath it had sunk eight inches.

Mr. Nemoto scanned the water and saw a white line of waves speeding to shore. He jumped off his forklift and ran up a nearby hill, barely beating the waves.
“I just dropped everything and ran,” he said.

It was unclear if the water that buffeted the town had spilled over the seawall built to keep it out, or had rushed through an opening that the town’s fishing boats passed through each day.

The destruction in Nakaminato was not limited to the water’s edge.
Yukio Kobayashi was on his onion farm when he felt the first tremors radiating from the quake’s center in the Pacific.

“I couldn’t stand up; I had to crawl out of my field,” he said, dropping to the ground and showing how he had fled. “And then I saw the tsunami. I could see it pass by.”

Mr. Kobayashi, 71, said he felt lucky because the waves hit at low tide. “If it was high tide, the waves would have got me.”

He spent the night with about 100 others at an elementary school gymnasium in town, in the dark and the cold, listening to a lone radio for information. He had taken a power generator and a single kerosene space heater to the center, the only source of heat for the people huddled in the gym. No one slept, as aftershocks regularly rattled the building.

On Saturday, his fields were coated with mud. “This is the first time in my more than 70 years that something like this has happened,” he said.

In another part of Nakaminato, Hiromi and Kimiko Ogawa were in their sushi restaurant, scooping up mud and other debris that filled the building. When the quake hit, they sped off in their car.

A day later, their restaurant reeked of seawater and sludge. The giant freezer outside the restaurant used to store food was missing. The second of their cars was stacked on top of a pile of wooden debris.

It will be a long time, they said, before the restaurant will reopen.
Chiyako Ito said she was in her house when the shaking began. The first tremor was so powerful that Ms. Ito, a 72-year-old rice farmer, was knocked off her feet. As the trembling subsided, she ran outside, only to be knocked off her feet again by an aftershock.

As she lay on the ground, she saw the barn collapse on her tractor and two cars, flattening them. But the worst was yet to come. The tsunami waters swept up the river near her farm, stopping just a few yards from her house.

“I was paralyzed in fear,” she said.

On Saturday, as she walked amid shattered glasses, cups and plates in her home, she said she felt helpless. “I have no electricity, no water, no cellphone, no telephone,” she said. “I have no idea what’s happening.”

Ms. Ito added: “I’m afraid it might happen again. I’m so afraid, my feet are tingling.”

The Times has a page, "Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How to Help." Episcopal Relief and Development usually sends aid in these circumstances, but doesn't seem to have a page set up for it yet.

There are some photographs here, and some stunning videos here.

Pray for these people. And send help.


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