Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Gradual for the Feast of the Transfiguration: Speciosus forma

The Feast of the Transfiguration is on August 6 each year; here's the Gradual, Speciosus forma, sung beautifully by the Gloriæ Dei Cantores:

The text comes from Psalm 45:3, 2; here's the Latin and English from this page, which I believe belongs to somebody posting the chant propers for the Extraordinary Form.

Speciosus forma prae filiis hominum: diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis. V.: Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.

Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Candor est lucis aeternae, speculum sine macula, et imago bonitatis illius. Alleluia.

Thou art beautiful above the sons of men: grace is poured abroad in Thy lips. V.: My heart hath uttered a good word. I speak my works to the King.

Alleluia, alleluia. V.(Wisd. 7. 26). He is the brightest of eternal light, the unspotted mirror, and the image of His goodness. Alleluia.

Here's the chant score:

I've written about the Alleluia, Candor est lucis before; here's the chant score for that one:

And those words, in Latin and English; the text comes from Wisdom 7:26:
Candor est lucis aetérnae, spéculum sine macula, et imago bonitátis illíus. Allelúia.

For she is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness.

"She" refers to Wisdom;  here's an mp3 of the Alleluia, from the Benedictines of Brazil.

Here's something interesting I found while Googling for this post: a hymn setting, I think, in Dutch, of Psalm 45:

That particular YouTuber has lots of vids of similar Psalm settings at his/her home page.

One problem with Psalm 45 is that some translations seem to think that what's seen as Verse 1 in others is actually an instruction for the musicians. So there's some variation in citing verses for this one!

If you're interested, somebody has posted Olivier Messiaen's entire work, La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ at YouTube.  Here are the first two movements (I believe) from the piece, in the video below:

Here's the content - sort of a "program notes" - from that YouTube page; as you can see, one of the movements is called Candor est lucis aeternae :

La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, for 100 voices, piano, cello, flute, clarinet, xylorimba, vibraphone, marimba & orchestra (1965-1969)

Premier Septénaire
I. Récit évangélique
II. Configuratum corpori claritatis suae
III. Christus Jesus, splendor Patris
IV. Récit évangélique
V. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua
VI. Candor est lucis aeternae
VII. Choral de la Sainte Montagne

Deuxième Septénaire
VIII. Récit évangélique
IX. Perfecte conscious illius perfectae generationis
X. Adoptionem filiorum perfectam
XI. Récit évangélique
XII. Terribilis est locus iste
XIII. Tota Trinitas apparuit
XIV. Choral de la Lumière de Gloire

Yvonne Loriod, piano
Arturo Muruzabal, violoncelle
Martine van der Loo, flute
Harmen de Boer, clarinette
Peter Prommel, marimba
Ruud Stotÿn, vibraphone
Henk de Vlieger, xylorimba
Ludwig van Gijsegem, ténor
Reiner Holthaus, baryton

Koor van de Brt Bruxelles
Groot Omroepkoor & Radio Symfonie Orkest Hilversum
Reinbert de Leeuw

La Transfiguration was the first of Messiaen's works to use sacred words as its text, drawing from the bible and the missal on the subject of Christ's transfiguration. It is not a dramatic work, but a liturgical one, meant, as Paul Griffiths notes, to show a story rather than to tell it. It is scored for a large choir and orchestra, with a duration of about ninety minutes. This work hearkens back to Messiaen's music of several decades earlier: gone are the harsher twelve-note constructions of the later works, replaced by a return to diatonicism, modes, 'loose' triadic harmony, and metrical freedom. The piece consists of fourteen movements, divided into two sets of seven (more of Messiaen's theological symbolism). Typically, there is also the incorporation of birdsong into the melodic framework, and it is important to note that, according to Griffiths, more than a decade later there is more species of birdsong in La Transfiguration than in the Catalogue des Oiseaux of 1958. There is also perhaps a recollection of Debussy through the use of the whole-tone scale. Ultimately, this work exemplifies Messiaen's tendency to compose music intended to be appreciated not in terms of its formal connectedness and continuity, but rather moment by moment. []

Art by Marc Chagall

Here are all the chants for the day, from
In Transfiguratione Domini

Introitus: Ps. 26, 8.9 et 1 Tibi dixit cor meum (cum Gloria Patri) (2m59.6s - 2808 kb)
Graduale: Ps. 44, 3 et 2 Speciosus forma (4m20.2s - 4068 kb) score
Alleluia: Sap. 7, 26 Candor est lucis æternæ (2m36.223s - 1223 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 8, 6.7 Gloria et honore (1m22.047s - 643 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 17, 9 Visionem (2m36.4s - 2446 kb) score

Here are posts about chant propers for this day on Chantblog:

Here's a mosaic in the upper part of the Fransiscan Church of the Transfiguration in Mount Tabor, Israel; Mt. Tabor is traditionally identified as the "Mount of the Transfiguration":

Monday, July 25, 2011

Abschied von Otto von Habsburg - Die berühmte Anklopfzeremonie

i.e., "Farewell to Otto von Habsburg - The famous 'knocking ceremony'."  This is part of the July 16, 2011 funeral service for Archduke Otto von Habsburg in Vienna.

According to Ludwig von Mises Institute, here is what's being done and said on the video:
AFTER A requiem at Vienna’s St Stephen’s Cathedral, the funeral party entered Vienna’s Capuchin Friary (Kapuzinerkirche) after the following “knocking” ceremony.


Capuchin Friar : “Who desires admission?”

Leader of funeral party: “Otto of Austria, former Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Prince Royal of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, of Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow; Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and Bukowina; Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, of Osweicim and Zator, of Teschen, Friaul, Dubrovnik and Zadar; Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca; Prince of Trento and Brixen; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and Istria: Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenburg; Lord of Trieste, Kotor and Windic March; Grand Voivod of the Voivodship of Serbia”

Friar : “We do not know him!”


Friar : “Who desires admission?”

Leader : “Dr Otto von Habsburg; President and Honorary President of the Pan-European Union; Member and Father of the House of the European Parliament; Holder of honorary doctorates from countless universities and freeman of many communities in Central Europe; Member of numerous noble academies and institutes; Bearer of high and highest awards, decorations and honours of church and state made to him in recognition of his decade-long struggle for the freedom of peoples, for right and justice.”

Friar: “We do not know him!”


Friar : “Who desires admission?”

Leader : “Otto — a mortal, sinful man!”

Friar: “Let him be admitted."

Which is just perfect, I think.

Otto von Habsburg was the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary from 1916 - when he was 4 years old - until the empire was dissolved in 1918. According to Wikipedia:

Otto was active on the Austrian and European political stage from the 1930s, both by promoting the cause of Habsburg restoration as well as an early proponent of European integration—being thoroughly disgusted with nationalism—and a fierce opponent of Nazism and communism. He has been described as one of the leaders of the Austrian anti-Nazi resistance. After the 1938 Anschluss, monarchists were severely persecuted in Austria, and—sentenced to death by the Nazis—Otto fled to the United States, with a visa issued by Aristides de Sousa Mendes.

The Requiem Mass, by Michael Haydn, is online, too; it begins here, with the Introit:

Requiem in c-moll
Missa pro defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismondo
Michael Haydn (1737 — 1806)
Domchor & Domorchester St. Stephan
Hans Haselböck, Orgel
Leitung: Domkapellmeister Markus Landerer
Sopran: Tünde Szabóki
Alt: Alice Rath
Tenor: Gernot Heinrich
Bass: Günter Haumer
Orgel beim Requiem: Anne Marie Dragosits

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen: Orlande Di Lasso's Lauda Mater Ecclesia

A hymn set by Lassus, "alternatim, with verses for four, three and five voices," as Howard noted a few years ago. This is the first time I've seen it online:

This was once an office hymn for today, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen, along with Nardi Maria pythici. These lyrics seem to conflate Magdalen (in her recasting during the Middle Ages as a "woman of ill repute," something found nowhere in Scripture) with Lazarus' and Martha's sister Mary:

Lauda mater ecclesia
Lauda Christi clementiam,
Quae septem purgat vitia
Per septiformem gratiam.

Maria, soror Lazari,
Quae tot commisit crimina,
Ab ipsa fauce tartari
Redit ad vitae limina.

Post fluxae carnis scandala
Fit ex lebete phiala
In vas translata gloriae
De vase contumeliae.

Aegra currit ad medicum
Vas ferens aromaticum
Et a morbo multiplici
Verbo curatur medici.

Surgentem cum victoria
Iesum videt ab inferis,
Prima meretur gaudia,
Quae plus ardebat ceteris.

Uni Deo sit gloria
Pro multiformi gratia,
Qui culpas et supplicia
Remittit et dat praemia. Amen.

Praise, mother church,
Praise the clemency of Christ,
Which purges the seven sins
Through his sevenfold grace.

Mary, the sister of Lazarus,
Who committed many sins,
Returned from the maw of hell
To the gate of life.

After the offences of her frail flesh,
This lowly jug becomes a sacred dish,
Transformed into a vessel of glory
From one of contempt.

Sick, she runs to the physician,
Bearing a jar of perfume,
And is cured of her many ills
By the doctor’s word.

She sees Jesus rising victorious
From the infernal depths,
Thus earning that first joy
Which burns brightly beyond all others.

Glory be to the one God
For his endless grace
Which pardons sin, remits penance
And grants rewards. Amen.

I've just finished reading that Gregory the Great was the first to conflate various Marys in the Gospels! That's the 6th Century, folks; apparently one Mary was the same as the next, even to some Popes.

It's a little disturbing, actually, that so little was thought of these women that nobody seemed able to keep them lined up in their identities - or to stop making up facts about them.

Well, it's a beautiful piece of music, anyway.

Below are some paintings of Magdalen, from the 15th and 16th centuries; note the feverish  imaginations of artists who apparently never noticed that their works had nothing to do with the actual stories told!  

El Greco's "Penitent Magdalen" (c. 1585); Weyden's "The Magdalen Reading" (c. 1435), and Caravaggio's "Martha and Mary Magdalene" (this is Bethany, bud, and you've got the wrong Mary!) from about 1599. 

None, of course, represent her as what she was: "The Apostle to the Apostles" and  "Equal to the Apostles."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shabbat boundary rock with Hebrew etching discovered

Shabbat boundary rock w... JPost - Arts & Culture - Entertainment

Shabbat boundary rock with Hebrew etching discovered
07/12/2011 05:42

An ancient rock inscription of the word “Shabbat” was uncovered near Lake Kinneret this week – the first and only discovery of a stone Shabbat boundary in Hebrew.

The etching in the Lower Galilee community of Timrat appears to date from the Roman or Byzantine period.

News of the inscription, discovered by chance Sunday by a visitor strolling the community grounds, quickly reached Mordechai Aviam, head of the Institute for Galilean Archeology at Kinneret College.

“This is the first time we’ve found a Shabbat boundary inscription in Hebrew,” he said. “The letters are so clear that there is no doubt that the word is ‘Shabbat.’”

Aviam said Jews living in the area in the Roman or Byzantine era (1st-7th centuries CE) likely used the stone to denote bounds within which Jews could travel on Shabbat. The Lower Galilee of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages had a Jewish majority – many of the Talmudic sages bore toponyms indicative of Galilee communities.

The engraving uncovered in Timrat is the first and only Shabbat boundary marker yet discovered in Hebrew – a similar inscription was found in the vicinity of the ancient Western Galilee village of Usha, but its text was written in Greek.

Aviam and his colleagues plan to enlist local help in scouring neighboring areas to locate additional inscriptions, and eventually to publish their findings in an academic journal.

“This represents a beautiful, fascinating link between our modern world and antiquity, both emotional and archeological,” Aviam said. “Certainly for those of us who are religiously observant, but also for the secular among us who enjoy a stroll on Shabbat to know that we’re walking in places where Jewish history lived two thousand years ago.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Sarum Corpus Christi Office

Continuing my updating of the Daily Office hymnody schedule:  From Hymn melodies for the whole year, from the Sarum service-books, office hymns to be sung at Corpus Christi - the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, and this year on June 23 - are:
On the Feast of Corpus Christi & during the Octave :
EvensongSacris solemniis ... ... ... ... 51
Mattins Pange, lingua, gloriosi Corporis ... ... 36
Lauds:   Verbum supernum prodiens, Nec ... ... 41

Follow along with the office here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).    I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the post too.

Here's a bit about Sacris solemniis from Thesaurus Precum Latinarum, along with the words in Latin and English:
This is one of the five beautiful hymns St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) composed in honor of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at specific request of Pope Urban IV (1261-1264) when the Pope first established the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1264. Today Sacris Solemniis is used as a hymn for the Office of the Readings for Corpus Christi. The last two stanzas are the text for the hymn Panis Angelicus.
Sacris solemniis
iuncta sint gaudia,
et ex praecordiis
sonent praeconia;
recedant vetera,
nova sint omnia,
corda, voces, et opera.

Noctis recolitur
cena novissima,
qua Christus creditur
agnum et azyma
dedisse fratribus,
iuxta legitima
priscis indulta patribus.

Post agnum typicum,
expletis epulis,
Corpus Dominicum
datum discipulis,
sic totum omnibus,
quod totum singulis,
eius fatemur manibus.

Dedit fragilibus
corporis ferculum,
dedit et tristibus
sanguinis poculum,
dicens: Accipite
quod trado vasculum;
omnes ex eo bibite.

Sic sacrificium
istud instituit,
cuius officium
committi voluit
solis presbyteris,
quibus sic congruit,
ut sumant, et dent ceteris.

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
dat panis caelicus
figuris terminum;
O res mirabilis:
manducat Dominum
pauper, servus et humilis.

Te, trina Deitas
unaque, poscimus:
sic nos tu visita,
sicut te colimus;
per tuas semitas
duc nos quo tendimus,
ad lucem quam inhabitas.

At this our solemn feast
let holy joys abound,
and from the inmost breast
let songs of praise resound;
let ancient rites depart,
and all be new around,
in every act, and voice, and heart.

Remember we that eve,
when, the Last Supper spread,
Christ, as we all believe,
the Lamb, with leavenless bread,
among His brethren shared,
and thus the Law obeyed,
of all unto their sire declared.

The typic Lamb consumed,
the legal Feast complete,
the Lord unto the Twelve
His Body gave to eat;
the whole to all, no less
the whole to each did mete
with His own hands, as we confess.

He gave them, weak and frail,
His Flesh, their Food to be;
on them, downcast and sad,
His Blood bestowed He:
and thus to them He spake,
"Receive this Cup from Me,
and all of you of this partake."

So He this Sacrifice
to institute did will,
and charged His priests alone
that office to fulfill:
to them He did confide:
to whom it pertains still
to take, and the rest divide.

Thus Angels' Bread is made
the Bread of man today:
the Living Bread from heaven
with figures dost away:
O wondrous gift indeed!
the poor and lowly may
upon their Lord and Master feed.

Thee, therefore, we implore,
O Godhead, One in Three,
so may Thou visit us
as we now worship Thee;
and lead us on Thy way,
That we at last may see
the light wherein Thou dwellest aye.

The page also notes: "Latin from the Liturgia Horarum. English translation is a cento based upon a translation by John David Chambers (1805-1893)."  Here's the chant score as per Hymn melodies for the whole year:

Here's a lovely version of this hymn, although it uses a completely different tune:

As you can see, the last two verses of the hymn make up the famous "Panis Angelicus" text that has been set by numerous composers of polyphony. Here's Bocelli singing the Cesar Franck version:

I've posted about Pange Lingua ("Sing, my tongue") before - but that was the Venatius Fortunatus version, composed in the year 570.   Thomas Aquinas wrote another version in 1254, specifically for the newly-created Feast of Corpus Christi - but he seems to have used the original tune (mp3 here), which is the quite familiar one Hymn melodies prescribes:

Here are the words, in Latin and English:
Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
quem in mundi pretium
fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
ex intacta Virgine,
et in mundo conversatus,
sparso verbi semine,
sui moras incolatus
miro clausit ordine.

In supremae nocte coenae
recumbens cum fratribus
observata lege plene
cibis in legalibus,
cibum turbae duodenae
se dat suis manibus.

Verbum caro, panem verum
verbo carnem efficit:
fitque sanguis Christi merum,
et si sensus deficit,
ad firmandum cor sincerum
sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
veneremur cernui:
et antiquum documentum
novo cedat ritui:
praestet fides supplementum
sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
laus et jubilatio,
salus, honor, virtus quoque
sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
compar sit laudatio.

Amen. Alleluja.

Sing, my tongue, the Savior's glory,
of His flesh the mystery sing;
of the Blood, all price exceeding,
shed by our immortal King,
destined, for the world's redemption,
from a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
then He closed in solemn order
wondrously His life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
seated with His chosen band,
He the Pascal victim eating,
first fulfills the Law's command;
then as Food to His Apostles
gives Himself with His own hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
by His word to Flesh He turns;
wine into His Blood He changes;
what though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
This great Sacrament we hail,
Over ancient forms of worship
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith will tell us Christ is present,
When our human senses fail.

To the everlasting Father,
And the Son who made us free
And the Spirit, God proceeding
From them Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluia.

I've written about Verbum Supernum Prodiens on the blog before, too - and once again  there are two hymns with this name.  The first was written sometime before the 10th Century, and again Thomas Aquinas tweaked it in 1254 for Corpus Christi.  It's the second one we're talking about here, of course.  Here's the score prescribed by Hymn Melodies:

Here is an mp3 file of this hymn melody (courtesy of the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood) as used for the Ascension hymn "O Eternal Monarch" (in Latin, Eterne Rex altissime).  Simply use this melody, substituting in the words to Verbum Supernum Prodiens, below.

Again, these are the words of Aquinas' version of the hymn. As you can see, again the last two verses make up the text for one of the very famous hymns sung about the Holy Eucharist; this time it's O Salutaris Hostia ("O Saving Victim"):   
Verbum supernum prodiens,
Nec Patris linquens dexteram,
Ad opus suum exiens,
Venit ad vitæ vesperam.

In mortem a discipulo
Suis tradendus æmulis,
Prius in vitæ ferculo
Se tradidit discipulis.

Quibus sub bina specie
Carnem dedit et sanguinem;
Ut duplicis substantiæ
Totum cibaret hominem.

Se nascens dedit socium,
Convescens in edulium,
Se moriens in pretium,
Se regnans dat in præmium.

O salutaris hostia,
Quæ cæli pandis ostium,
Bella premunt hostilia;
Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria:
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.

The heavenly Word proceeding forth,
Yet leaving not his Father's side,
And going to His work on Earth,
Has reached at length life's eventide.

By false disciple to be given
To foemen for His blood athirst,
Himself, the living bread from heaven,
He gave to his disciples first.

In twofold form of sacrament,
He gave His flesh, He gave His blood,
That man, of soul and body blent,
Might wholly feed on mystic food.

In birth man's fellow-man was He,
His meat while sitting at the board;
He died, our ransomer to be,
He reigns to be our great reward.

O saving Victim, opening wide
The gates of heaven to man below;
Our foes press hard on every side,
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.

All praise and thanks to thee ascend
For evermore, blessed One in Three;
O grant us life that shall not end,
In our true native land with Thee. 

Here's Giovanni Vianini's rendition of an Ambrosian version of this hymn (not the same tune as in the chant score above):

So: these three hymns for Corpus Christi, all written by Thomas Aquinas, have become his lasting legacy to Eucharistic adoration. The last two verses of each hymn make up some of the most famous texts of all - and all are sung throughout the year at various occasions (including weekly, at Evensong & Benedcition).

Here's that peek-in to the SSM Breviary for this feast:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

BBC News - Codex Calixtinus book 'disappears' from Spain cathedral

BBC News - Codex Calixtinus book 'disappears' from Spain cathedral
The Codex Calixtinus dates from the 12th Century and was compiled as a guidebook for medieval pilgrims following the Way of Saint James.

This is the oldest copy of the manuscript and is unsaleable on the open market.

Only a handful of people had access to the room in which it was kept.

This edition of the Codex Calixtinus is thought to date from around 1150.

Its purpose was largely practical - to collect advice of use to pilgrims heading to the shrine there. It also included sermons and homilies to St James.

On Wednesday afternoon, the book was reported missing from the room where it is kept.

"We are investigating its disappearance," a police spokeswoman said, according to AFP news agency.

"It is usually kept in a room to which only half a dozen people have access," she said.

The Codex is only brought out on special occasions, such as last year's visit of Pope Benedict, when it is closely guarded.

If the work has been stolen, it will be impossible to sell it on the open market, says the BBC's arts reporter Vincent Dowd.


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