Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Palm Sunday: Hosanna, Filio David

Here's Giovanni Vianini singing the entrance song for Palm Sunday:

Here is the chant score:

In English:
Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
King of Israel:
Hosanna in the highest.

The text of that refrain is from Matthew 21:9, and when sung, verses from Psalm 118, Confitemini Domino alternate with the refrain, as in this longer video:

I'd originally titled this post "The Introit for Palm Sunday: Hosanna, Filio David."  This prompted Ted K., to note in the comments that '"Hosanna, Filio David" is not, in fact, the Introit; it's the first of the processional antiphons for Palm Sunday. The introit for this Mass used to be "Domine ne longe facias" but an introit for Palm Sunday was suppressed by the Bugnini reforms of Holy week in 1955.'

So I changed the post to reflect this.  I had seen this piece sung several times exactly in the same place, and with the same ritual, as was usual for an Introit, so I made the assumption it was the Introit - but it really is called something else.  The three pieces at the beginning of the today's rite are called "antiphons," and they are taken from various offices on the day - so perhaps that explains the terminology used here.  And this does explain, in any case, why there are no polyphonic settings of Hosanna, Filio David!  It appears that this is either a very new or a very old chant, since another text was formerly used as Introit.  Still looking at that.

Here's the Simple English Propers version of this entrance antiphon:

More about the Palm Sunday Liturgy

After the singing of the entrance antiphon, and after the blessing of the palms, two antiphons, Pueri Hebræorum, portantes and Pueri Hebræorum vestimenta, are sung during the Procession, folllowed by the hymn "Gloria, Laus, et Honor" - more famously known today in English, of course, as "All Glory, Laud, and Honor."

Here's Giovanni singing the Gregorian Pueri Hebræorum, portantes:

Here are the words to these antiphons, in Latin and English (translations from two sources, which accounts for the differences between them):
Pueri Hebræorum,
portantes ramos olivarum,
obviaverunt Domino,
clamantes et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis.

The children of Jerusalem
welcomed Christ the King.
They carried olive branches
and loudly praised the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

Pueri Hebræorum vestimenta
prosternebant in via
et clamabant dicentes:
Hosanna Filio David,
benedictus qui venit in nomini Domini.

The Hebrew children
spread their garments in the way,
and cried out, saying:
Hosanna to the Son of God:
blessed is He that cometh
in the Name of the Lord.

It seems that these two Pueri Hebræorum antiphons - far more than the Introit itself - have inspired quite a few composers to polyphonic settings. Here's a lovely one on Pueri Hebræorum vestimenta from Tomás Luis de Victoria:

As for Gloria, Laus, et Honor: wow, it's a beautiful chant! Here's a lovely version:

Here's a chant score from the Benedictines, who call it a "Hymn to Christ the King":

The Latin text is just the same as the J.M. Neale translation we're familiar with singing in English on this day:

GLORIA, laus et honor
tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redemptor:
Cui puerile decus prompsit
Hosanna pium.
R. Gloria, laus, etc.
ALL glory, praise, and honor
to Thee, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet Hosannas ring.
R. All glory, etc.
Israel es tu Rex, Davidis et
inclyta proles:
Nomine qui in Domini,
Rex benedicte, venis.
R. Gloria, laus, etc.
Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David's royal Son,
Who in the Lord's Name comest.
the King and blessed One.
R. All glory, etc.
Coetus in excelsis te laudat
caelicus omnis,
Et mortalis homo, et cuncta
creata simul.
R. Gloria, laus, etc.
The company of Angels
are praislng Thee on high,
and mortal men and all things
created make reply.
All glory, etc
Plebs Hebraea tibi cum palmis
obvia venit:
Cum prece, voto, hymnis,
adsumus ecce tibi.
R. Gloria, laus, etc.
The people of the Hebrews
with palms before Thee went;
our pralse and prayer and anthems
before Thee we present.
R. All glory, etc.
Hi tibi passuro solvebant
munia laudis:
Nos tibi regnanti pangimus
ecce melos
R. Gloria, laus, etc.
To Thee before Thy Passion
they sang their hymns of praise;
to Thee now high exalted
our melody we raise.
R. All glory, etc.
Hi placuere tibi, placeat
devotio nostra:
Rex bone, Rex clemens, cui
bona cuncta placent.
R. Gloria, laus, etc.
Thou didst accept their praises,
accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.
R. All glory, etc.

There are more videos at last year's post.

There's another antiphon, Ingrediente Domino, that is used before the mass itself starts;  its official purpose, I believe, is for the re-entrance of the congregation into the church after a Procession outside.

Here's Giotto di Bondone's "Christ's Entry Into Jerusalem":

Of course, since the service turns in the middle to the Passion itself, it's fitting - after the reading or singing of the story of Christ's crucifixion - to end this post with a video of Vexilla Regis Prodeunt:

The words (English translation by J.M. Neale):
Vexilla regis prodeunt,
fulget crucis mysterium,
quo carne carnis conditor
suspensus est patibulo.

Confixa clavis viscera
tendens manus, vestigia
redemptionis gratia
hic inmolata est hostia.

Quo vulneratus insuper
mucrone diro lanceae,
ut nos lavaret crimine,
manavit unda et sanguine.

Inpleta sunt quae concinit
David fideli carmine,
dicendo nationibus:
regnavit a ligno deus.

Arbor decora et fulgida,
ornata regis purpura,
electa, digno stipite
tam sancta membra tangere!

Beata cuius brachiis
pretium pependit saeculi!
statera facta est corporis
praedam tulitque Tartari.

Fundis aroma cortice,
vincis sapore nectare,
iucunda fructu fertili
plaudis triumpho nobili.

Salve ara, salve victima
de passionis gloria,
qua vita mortem pertulit
et morte vitam reddidit.

O Crux ave, spes unica,
hoc Passionis tempore!
piis adauge gratiam,
reisque dele crimina.

Te, fons salutis Trinitas,
collaudet omnis spiritus:
quos per Crucis mysterium
salvas, fove per saecula. Amen.

The royal banners forward go,
the cross shines forth in mystic glow;
where he in flesh, our flesh who made,
our sentence bore, our ransom paid.


Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
life's torrent rushing from his side,
to wash us in that precious flood,
where mingled water flowed, and blood.

Fulfilled is all that David told
in true prophetic song of old,
amidst the nations, God, saith he,
hath reigned and triumphed from the tree.

O tree of beauty, tree of light!
O tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
those holy limbs should find their rest.

Blest tree, whose chosen branches bore
the wealth that did the world restore,
the price of humankind to pay,
and spoil the spoiler of his prey.

Upon its arms, like balance true,
he weighed the price for sinners due,
the price which none but he could pay,
and spoiled the spoiler of his prey.



O cross, our one reliance, hail!
Still may thy power with us avail
to give new virtue to the saint,
and pardon to the penitent.

To thee, eternal Three in One,
let homage meet by all be done:
whom by the cross thou dost restore,
preserve and govern evermore.

And that is what will happen at St. Mary the Virgin; this is the recessional hymn, sung without accompaniment. After it's over, there is silence.

This day most definitely has some of the most beautiful music of the year.

ChristusRex.org has all the chant propers for today, sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines:

Hebdomada SanctaDominica in Palmis de Passione Domini

Antiphona: Hosanna filio David (34.9s - 548 kb) score

Ad processionem
Procedamus (8.3s - 133 kb) score
Antiphona: Pueri... portantes (2m24.9s - 2266 kb) score
Antiphona: Pueri... vestimenta (1m18.4s - 1228 kb) score
Hymnus ad Christum Regem: Gloria, laus (2m43.7s - 2558 kb) score
Responsorium: Ingrediente Domino (3m34.2s - 3350 kb) score

Ad Missam

Tractus: Ps. 21, 2- Deus, Deus meus (1m54.7s - 1794 kb) score
Graduale: Phil. 2, 8. V. 9 Christus factus est (2m19.3s - 2178 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 68, 21.22 Improperium... et dederunt (2m40.2s - 2504 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 26, 42 Pater, si non potest (3m28.0s - 3252 kb) score

And here are Chantblog posts on some of these:


Ted K. said...

"Hosanna, Filio David" is not the Introit. It is the first of the processional antiphons for Palm Sunday. The introit for the Mass used to be "Domine ne longe facias" but an introit for Palm Sunday was suppressed by the Bugnini reforms of Holy week in 1955.

Michael Dickson said...

I realize that this post is elderly, but in case people find it via search, I thought some might like to know that while Palm Sunday was altered in the reforms, this chant is not new. I believe its earliest known attestation is in the St. Gall manuscript (ca. 980). There are some polyphonic adaptations, sometimes as part of a larger work for Palm Sunday (for example, Victoria, Pueri Hebreorum).

bls said...

Thank you, Michael.


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