Saturday, April 28, 2012

Surrexit pastor bonus

Surrexit pastor bonus is the second Matins Responsory for Easter Monday; see it here in its context at  [EDIT:  Alas, has changed their site and all its links, and now requires a fee as well.  You can still take a look at Matins for Easter Monday in Latin and English, for free, at the wonderful Divinum Officium, though.  Just enter the date of any Easter Monday - 04-21-2014, for instance - and click Matutinum, and you'll be in business.)

Here is the text and translation from that site:

R.  Surréxit pastor bonus, qui ánimam suam pósuit pro óvibus suis, et pro grege suo mori dignátus est : * Allelúja, allelúja, allelúja.

V. Etenim Pascha nostrum immolátus est Christus.

R.  Allelúja, allelúja, allelúja.

V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui

R.  Allelúja, allelúja, allelúja.
R.  The Good Shepherd is risen, who laid down his life for his sheep, and vouchsafed to die for his flock : * Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

V. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.

R.  Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost.

R.  Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no plainchant audio recording of this anywhere online. (EDIT: But there may be soon, thanks to Jakub Pavlik (see comments)! Jakub, who lives, I believe, in the Czech Republic, has already transcribed the responsory from the Antiphonarium Sedunense - a 14th-Century manuscript from Domstift Sitten (that's "the Cathedral Chapter" in Sion ("Sitten"), Switzerland) housed at a Swiss manuscript library - and linked to a PDF of the transcription posted at this Czech Liturgy of the Hours website! Amazing.

Here's an image file I created from his PDF; this Responsory was, evidently, put together a bit differently at Domstift Sitten. Notice the second Versicle, which reads "Surrexit dominus de sepulchro qui pro nobis propendit in ligno," which translates as "The Lord is risen from the grave, who for us was hung from the tree."

Many, many thanks to Jakub, who may soon create an audio file of this! Ah, the interwebs....!)

However, many composers have set this text in polyphony - Victoria, di Lassus, Palestrina, L'Héritier, and Mendelssohn, among others.  Understandable; it's a beautiful text.

Most have set only the first part of the text; here it is, along with a different (and I think better) English translation:

Surrexit pastor bonus,
qui animam suam posuit,
pro ovibus suis et pro grege suo mori
dignatus est. Alleluia.

The good shepherd has risen,
who laid down his life for his sheep,
and deigned to die for his flock. Alleluia.

Here's one recording of di Lassus' version, sung by the Wicker Park [Chicago] Choral Singers:

It would be very worth your while, I think, to click over to this page and listen to L'Héritier's version, sung by the Oxford Camerata; I can't embed it here. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about L'Héritier:
Jean L'Héritier (Lhéritier, Lirithier, Heritier and other spellings also exist) (c. 1480 – after 1551) was a French composer of the Renaissance. He was mainly famous as a composer of motets, and is representative of the generation of composers active in the early to middle 16th century who anticipated the style of Palestrina. He was a native of the diocese of Thérouanne, in the Pas-de-Calais, but little is known about his early years.

According to a note by an Italian contemporary, L'Héritier was a pupil of Josquin des Prez, a relationship which most likely occurred while Josquin was at the French royal court in the years after 1500 (exact years for Josquin's stay there have not been established).
[EDIT:  The video is now embeddable:


And here's an interesting bit about this particular piece:

The manuscript containing Surrexit pastor bonus was a working choirbook for the choir of the Julian Chapel in the Vatican, and is a major source for motets by composers of the post-Josquin generation. It is dated 1536 and bears the coat of arms of Pope Paul III (1534-49). It contains seven motets by Lhéritier, one fewer than the best represented composer, Claudin de Sermisy. It also contains motets by Josquin, Festa, Maistre Jan, Jachet of Mantua, Verdelot, Gombert, Willaert, Lupi, Morales and da Silva.

That Lhéritier's music was highly regarded in the sixteenth century is evident from the number and geographical diversity of sources in which his music is found. Much of his work was published by printers in Paris, Lyon, Rome, Ferrara and Venice as well as in Nuremberg, Louvain and Seville. Moreover, his works were being reprinted well into the 1580s, and manuscripts of his works were compiled as far afield as Spain, Germany, Austria, Poland and Bohemia as well as in France, the Netherlands and Italy. Palestrina based two masses on motets by Lhéritier, and it is obvious that Lhéritier was important in developing the style of continuous imitation from Josquin and disseminating this style in Italy.

And wow! How about this terrific take on Mendelssohn's Surrexit pastor bonus, from "Concert de l'Escolania de Montserrat a l'església de Saint-Hilaire de Poitiers - 27 de juny del 2008." Man, these boys can sing!

This sheet-music site offers an interesting anecdote about the Mendelssohn:

Inspiration for the Three Motets op. 39 was a visit to the romanesque church of Trinità dei Monti. On 20 Dec 1830 Mendelssohn wrote to his parents: "The French nuns sing there, and it is wonderfully lovely. ... Now, one should know one more thing: that one is not allowed to see the singers. Therefore I have come to an unusual decision: I will compose something for their voices, which I rememer exactly..."

Another recording of the Mendelssohn - very beautiful, but in my opinion not as exciting - from the Stuttgart Chamber Choir:

Here's Pieter Brueghel the Younger's "Good Shepherd,"  which hangs in the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. Brueghel lived from 1565 to 1636.

And here's The Good Shepherd mosaic in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, from the 1st half of 5th century:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kathleen Ferrier: Ma Bonny Lad

The lyrics, from "The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive":

Have ye seen owt o my bonnie lad,
and are ye sure he's vveel, oh?
He's gone ower land
wiv his stick in his hand,
he's gyen to moor the keel, O!
Yes, aa'v seen yor bonny lad,
'twas on the sea aa spied him,
his grave is green, but not wi grass,
and thou'lt never lie aside him.

Says Wikipedia about Ferrier:

Kathleen Mary Ferrier, CBE (22 April 1912 – 8 October 1953) was an English contralto who achieved an international reputation as a stage, concert and recording artist, with a repertoire extending from folksong and popular ballads to the classical works of Bach, Brahms, Mahler and Elgar. Her death from cancer, at the height of her fame, was a shock to the musical world and particularly to the general public, which was kept in ignorance of the nature of her illness until after her death. She was especially known in Britain for her unaccompanied recording of the Northumbrian folk tune "Blow the Wind Southerly", which was played regularly on BBC Radio for many years after her death.

The daughter of a Lancashire village schoolmaster, Ferrier showed early talent as a pianist, and won numerous amateur piano competitions while working as a telephonist with the General Post Office. She did not take up singing seriously until 1937, when after winning a prestigious singing competition at the Carlisle Festival she began to receive offers of professional engagements as a vocalist. Thereafter she took singing lessons, first with J.E. Hutchinson and later with Roy Henderson. After the outbreak of the Second World War Ferrier was recruited by the Council for the Encouragement of [Music and] the Arts (CEMA), and in the following years sang at concerts and recitals throughout England. In 1942 her career was boosted when she met the conductor Malcolm Sargent, who recommended her to the influential Ibbs and Tillett concert management agency. She became a regular performer at leading London and provincial venues, and made numerous BBC radio broadcasts.

More here.  HT All Manner of Thing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

James Alison: "What sorts of difference does René Girard make to how we read the Bible?"

James Alison talks about Girard's reading of Scripture. I've bolded a couple of (what I think are) really important things below:

I guess that many of you shared the sort of excitement I felt when I first read “The woes against the Pharisees” in Things Hidden or any of the chapters in the second half of The Scapegoat. Or when I heard René explain “The woman taken in adultery” even before he had written it up in I saw Satan. It was and is the excitement of experiencing someone handling scripture in a way that none of us had ever seen or heard it handled before. It was not like the massively erudite deliverences of our Scripture professionals, which so often leave us impressed, or depressed, by their knowledge, but no more enflamed by, or loving of, the sacred pages themselves. On the contrary Girard’s readings don’t tell you much about Girard, nor stun you with his erudition. Rather he seems to be reading Scripture from within a logic that is proper to Scripture itself, as though the same spirit which had enabled Scripture to be written was enabling it to be read, so that you, the reader, end up seeing more and more in Scripture than what Girard points out himself, and you find yourself loving and treasuring the Scriptures even more. You get the sense that you are, at last, beginning to understand the text “from the inside”.

It is because of this that I wanted to start with something which seemingly has little to do with any “Girardian themes” in Scripture. And yet which is vital if we are to avoid bibliolatry. That is, to recall the sense, from which I hope we all learn, of someone who simultaneously takes texts extremely seriously, and yet not seriously at all. Girard really looks in a very detailed way at what particular texts say, and then appears to throw them all up in the air so that the textual elements come down any which way, but “any which way” turns out to be extraordinarily powerful, coherent and whole. It is having seen Girard do this, time after time, that I have begun to get a sense of Jesus doing the same thing, time after time in the Gospels. In other words, what Girard does with texts is in itself an education in the art of “doing things with texts” which is what we see Jesus do in the New Testament. When we can glimpse that this is what is going on, so many of the apparently arcane arguments set in an ancient world suddenly become alive and contemporary.

Now there is something consistent which has enabled Girard to read texts in this way. It is not simply an adorable personal quirk of his. And it is something which can consistently help us avoid bibliolatry. It is the realisation that the centre of meaning is not to be found in the texts themselves. The centre of meaning is real, historical, non-textual, or not primarily textual, and the texts themselves are certain sorts of monuments to this real, historical, pre-textual reality. At Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so intense were the explosions that the light from them etched what look like photographs of buildings and protrusions on the walls of other buildings. Each one of those light-etched walls is a monument to the unimaginable, and unsurviveable reality of the explosion, some hints of whose force can be read off from its monuments. And for Girard the centre of meaning, the unimaginable explosion, is a highly agile and dynamic centre in which two apparently opposed things are happening at the same time.

The first of these is entirely offstage and entirely beyond any sort of direct knowledge of ours, only detectable in the traces thrown up against some textual walls (and just conceivably, some cave walls, as at Çatalhöyük). This is the postulate of the founding murder, a dynamic postulate which suggests that, however it happened, over whatever huge length of time it happened, the central building block which has enabled our human cultures to come to be and to survive at all is the all-against-one of collective lynching. All human cultural forms flow from this. Ancient mythical texts do not point to this in a simple affirmative way. On the contrary, they dance round it, mostly hiding it, occasionally glimpsing it, sometimes horrified by what they see, sometimes complacently satisfied with the order which has resulted. The point is not “if you read ancient texts you will see that Girard is right”. Because of course, if you want you can read anything at all into ancient texts. The point is this: if you accept Girard’s postulate, you will find that the ancient texts make much more sense than they have before, in a way which is much more worthy of respect than we are inclined to acknowledge, and that there was and is a certain rationale in what we call the “primitive” mind which, while we cannot go along with it, is not at all stupid, and is a serious part of what has enabled our own ways of being and living together to survive and thus of what has allowed us to exist as we do now.

The second part of this unimaginable explosion is also prior to any text, but it has been reaching into our foreground and into our texts in a strange and unique way through the adventure of the Hebrew people, culminating in the making explicit, public, evident and frontstage of something which had been structuring and running people without their being aware of it up until then. The apparently necessary lie by which we bring into being and maintain order, culture, language, memory, thus finding ourselves established as humans, is shown to be exactly that – a lie. So the offstage structuring reality is gradually over time brought closer and closer to the surface, less and less dishonestly, in the interpretations which we glimpse in the Hebrew Scriptures, until finally that offstage structuring reality is brought centre-stage and made completely visible and obvious in the Passion. Thus the lie is undone, and we find ourselves embarked on the possibility of humanity becoming something much better, more interesting, more responsible than we had imagined, and simultaneously we start to discover how very much more dangerous to each other we can be than we had thought, and how much more precarious is our stability, given that the comfort of “the old lie” only reassures for as long as we don’t know that it’s a lie.


....Girard offers us a centre of meaning that is both prior to history, yet historical, liturgical, and contemporary, it means that the whole question of the relation between the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures and those of the Apostolic Witness (or New Testament) comes into a much fresher light. Rather than seeing two juxtaposed histories, of which one is newer and the other older, it makes much more sense to see the Hebrew Scriptures as being a permanently contemporary vision of who we are, and the Apostolic Witness being the permanently actual interpretative key revealing what has really been going on all along as the Word comes into the world. In this sense, what Girard has given us is an extraordinary tool for breaking free of the twin temptations which have beset Christian reading of the Scriptures: – the Marcionite temptation of attributing to some other god all the really unpleasant and violent passages of the Old Testament, and the Fundamentalist temptation of applying the words “God” and “Lord” univocally across both Testaments. Nor is this a Christian temptation alone: the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel were wrestling with the same temptations close to six centuries before Christ, as are shown in their differing justifications for moving beyond the child sacrifice apparently enjoined in the book of Exodus.

Here's a fairly simple illustration of "mimetic theory" from another source:

Here’s a new word for you: hominization. It refers to the process of becoming human and is part of the language of cultural anthropology and archaeology. One of the 20th century giants of this world is Rene Girard, a French thinker and devout Roman Catholic who has contributed numerous books and articles to a wide range of disciplines: history, philosophy, literary criticism, critical theory, anthropology, theology, psychology, mythology, sociology, economics and cultural studies. Girard received his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University and has lived and taught for most of his life in America.

What makes him fun is that while he combines a “deconstructionist” and “debunking” analysis of the origins and bases of human culture he uses it to affirm his Catholic faith and Christianity. Most in academia would belong to a secular or atheist bent but Girard is unapologetically Catholic. His thought, while at times complex and demanding is rooted in a simple phenomena called mimesis, the imitation or representation of aspects of the sensible world, especially human actions, in literature and art. Brian MacDonald, whose interview with Girard is here, gives this explanation of Girard’s thought in his introduction:

“Picture two young children playing happily on their porch, a pile of toys beside them. The older child pulls a G.I. Joe from the pile and immediately, his younger brother cries out, “No, my toy,” pushes him out of the way, and grabs it. The older child, who was not very interested in the toy when he picked it up, now conceives a passionate need for it and attempts to wrest it back. Soon a full fight ensues, with the toy forgotten and the two boys busy pummeling each other.

As the fight intensifies, the overweight child next door wanders into their yard and comes up to them, looking for someone to play with. At that point, one of the two rivals looks up and says, “Oh, there’s old fat butt!” “Yeah,” says his brother. “Big fat butt!” The two, having forgotten the toy, now forget their fight and run the child back home. Harmony has been restored between the two brothers, though the neighbor is now indoors crying.”

McDonald continues: “It would not be much of an exaggeration to say that Girard builds his whole theory of human nature and human culture through a close analysis of the dynamics operating in this story. Most human desires are not “original” or spontaneous, he argues, but are created by imitating another whom he calls the “model.” When the model claims an object, that tells another that it is desirable — and that he must have it instead of him. Girard calls this “mimetic” (or imitative) desire. In the subsequent rivalry, the two parties will come to forget the object and will come to desire the conflict for itself. Harmony will only be restored if the conflicting parties can vent their anger on a common enemy or ‘scapegoat.’…Girard shows, throughout the body of his work, how his theory of “mimetic” desire can illuminate and unify an extraordinarily disparate set of human phenomena. It can explain everything from sacrifice to conflict, from mythology to Christianity.

The point here, at least for me, is NOT (necessarily) that Girard's "mimetic theory" is correct (although I have to say it sure looks right, from the last illustration!). The main point is simply that we can dispense with all sorts of problems of communication in post-Christendom if we can show that Christian faith has something to do with the way human beings actually are. We don't have to worry so much about "translations," or "exegesis," or the whole scholarly endeavor in the course of evangelism (although these will still be exceedingly helpful and in fact can be a fun and profitable exercise, even for layfolks like me - so don't go anywhere, scholars).

We can simply point to the facts of the world and of the human condition, and to Revelation as we understand it to speak to these facts. The Nicene Creed sets up the boundaries of this Revelation - but that's all it does (an important thing, no doubt!). This is not important by itself, but only how it affects how we ought to understand Revelation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander

Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander, who wrote the lyrics to some 400 hymns - some of the best-loved of the hymns in the Anglican tradition, in fact - was a woman.  Just didn't know this, that's all!  It's that first name, I guess....

From Cyberhymnal:

Born: Ear­ly Ap­ril 1818, Red­cross, Coun­ty Wick­low, Ire­land.
Died: Oc­to­ber 12, 1895, Lon­don­der­ry, North­ern Ire­land.
Buried: Ci­ty Cem­e­te­ry, Lon­don­der­ry, North­ern Ire­land.

Alex­and­er’s hus­band was Will­iam Alex­an­der, bi­shop of Der­ry and Ra­phoe, and lat­er the An­gli­can pri­mate for Ire­land. Ce­cil and her sis­ter found­ed a school for the deaf, and she set up the Girls’ Friend­ly So­ci­e­ty in Lon­don­der­ry. Ce­cil Al­ex­and­er wrote about 400 hymns in her life­time. Her works in­clude:

  • Verses from the Ho­ly Scrip­tures, 1846
  • Hymns for Lit­tle Child­ren, 1848
  • Narrative Hymns for Vill­age Schools, 1853
  • Po­ems on Sub­jects in the Old Test­a­ment, 1854 & 1857
  • Hymns De­scrip­tive and De­vo­tion­al, 1858
  • The Le­gend of the Gold­en Pray­er, 1859
  1. All Things Bright and Beau­ti­ful
  2. Angels Stand Around Thy Throne, The
  3. Dear Lord, This Thy Serv­ant’s Day
  4. Do No Sin­ful Act­ion
  5. Christ Has Ascend­ed Up Again
  6. Eternal Gates Lift Up Their Heads, The
  7. Every Morn­ing the Red Sun
  8. For All Thy Saints, a No­ble Throng
  9. Forgive Them, O My Fa­ther
  10. Forsaken Once, and Thrice De­nied
  11. From Out the Cloud of Am­ber Light
  12. He Is Com­ing, He Is Com­ing
  13. He Is Risen
  14. His Are the Thou­sand Spark­ling Rills
  15. How Good Is the Almighty God
  16. In Nazareth in Olden Times
  17. In the Rich Man’s Garden
  18. It Was Early in the Morn­ing
  19. Jesus Calls Us
  20. O Love Most Patient, Give Me Grace
  21. Once in Royal Da­vid’s City
  22. Roseate Hues of Early Dawn, The
  23. Saints of God Are Ho­ly Men, The
  24. Saw You Never, in the Twilight?
  25. So Be It, Lord; the Pray­ers are Prayed
  26. Souls in Death and Darkness Lying
  27. Spirit of God, That Moved of Old
  28. St. Patrick’s Breastplate
  29. Still Bright and Blue Doth Jordan Flow
  30. There Is a Green Hill Far Away
  31. There Is One Way
  32. Up in Heaven
  33. We Are But Little Children Weak
  34. We Are Little Christ­ian Children
  35. We Were Washed in Ho­ly Water
  36. When Christ Came Down on Earth of Old
  37. When of Old the Jewish Mothers
  38. When Wound­ed Sore the Strick­en Heart
  39. Within the Church­yard, Side by Side

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Passion Reading Chanted by the Trinity Choir

Here's that Palm Sunday sung Passion again; Trinity Wall Street has extracted it from the full Palm Sunday video to show it by itself.

The blurb says:

On Palm Sunday, the traditional scripture text from the Gospel of Mark was chanted in an improvisational style by members of the Trinity Choir, with participation by the congregation in a sung refrain.

It's really quite beautiful, isn't it? It might make a really good new version of a sung Passion - although it would have to be nailed down a bit (rather, that is, than "chanted in an improvisational style by members of the Trinity Choir") so that the congregation could get to know the melodies and sing them, either in the service, or on our own time (as happens now, once you get to know the Passion tones!).

This is one place where the Revised Common Lectionary has improved the situation, I think! Prior to this year, I don't think I've ever heard the Passion start out where it does here, at the anointing of Jesus at Bethany, by the woman "with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard."

Elizaphanian: "Why is it a 'Good' Friday?"

Rev. Sam on a roll! Looks like he's writing for the local news organization, and well done on that....
Courier article

Why 'Good'? The simple answer is that the crucifixion of Jesus reveals the truth about the world – and the truth sets us free. I believe that what is Good about Good Friday is that on this day above all God is revealed as a God of love, that with this God there is no place for fear of punishment. There are lots of theories that Christians debate about how we are to understand this (it's technically called 'the Atonement') but I think CS Lewis put it best when he said: "We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed. Any theories we build up as to how Christ's death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they do not help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself... "

Good Friday is really the culmination of something that I have been trying to describe through my last half-dozen articles – it is the climax and inevitable conclusion of living in a Fallen world. That is, it is because of our sin and brokenness that someone who was innocent ends up getting lynched. What makes Jesus remarkable is that he recognises what is going on and doesn't fight back. He recognises that what keeps the fallen system ticking over is the process of praise and blame, judgement and condemnation. As an innocent man Jesus had every right to retaliate against those who were accusing him, those who were beating him and flogging him. But he didn't. Instead he forgave them. In other words, what Jesus was doing was breaking the cycle of violence and pointing out that we didn't have to keep trudging around that path.

Righteous violence, after all, is what put him on the cross. It was the certainty of being righteous that gave each group of accusers their justification for putting Jesus to death. Whether that be the Romans, the religious authorities, the crowd or even the friend who betrayed him, there was always some more or less expedient rationale that could be deployed to make sense of doing something wrong. That is still the world that we live in. In effect, what happens on the cross is that judgement itself is judged, condemnation itself is condemned. The cross is the declaration that God is not on the side of those doing the denouncing, rather God is the one who is being denounced, the one who has offended the political authorities and the religious authorities and disappointed the expectations of the crowd and his friends.

When Christians talk about the cross – which is so central to our faith – this is what we are conscious of. Our own failures and brokenness, all the ways in which we have fallen short of God's intentions for us. Yet the thing is – it is level ground at the foot of cross. That is, we are all in the same boat; as St Paul puts it, 'We are none of us righteous, no, not one'. To come to the foot of the cross is, for the Christian, simply to recognise our own fallen nature, to see the consequences of that fallen nature, but also to recognise that God has taken those consequences onto himself, and that if we acknowledge this truth and let go of the compulsions and fears that lead us to judge and condemn each other – then we need have no fear of condemnation and judgement ourselves. This is the secret at the heart of the Lord's Prayer: 'forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us'. We just stand at the foot of the cross, not asserting our own goodness, but recognising the fate of goodness in our Fallen world.

Of course, if this was the end of the story, it would mean that the fallen world was all that there is – and that really wouldn't be Good. But I don't want to spoil the end of the story for those who don't know it... I'll say something about that in my next article.
(Note the Girardian analysis slipped in there casually!)

Hopefully he'll update his blog so I can let everybody know how it all comes out....

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter: Kommt, eilet und laufet, ihr flüchtigen Füße (The Easter Oratorio, BWV 249)

"Come hasten and hurry, you swift feet!," that is.

Maria Jacobi (S), Maria Magdalena (A), Petrus (T), Johannes (B) 

1. Sinfonia

2. Adagio

3. Aria (Duetto) T B
Kommt, eilet und laufet, ihr flüchtigen Füße,
Erreichet die Höhle, die Jesum bedeckt!
    Lachen und Scherzen
    Begleitet die Herzen,
    Denn unser Heil ist auferweckt.

4. Recitativo A S T B
O kalter Männer Sinn!
Wo ist die Liebe hin,
Die ihr dem Heiland schuldig seid?

Ein schwaches Weib muss euch beschämen!
Ach, ein betrübtes Grämen
Und banges Herzeleid
Tenor, Bass
Hat mit gesalznen Tränen
Und wehmutsvollem Sehnen
Ihm eine Salbung zugedacht,

Sopran, Alt
Die ihr, wie wir, umsonst gemacht.

5. Aria S
Seele, deine Spezereien
Sollen nicht mehr Myrrhen sein.
    Denn allein
    Mit dem Lorbeerkranze prangen,
    Stillt dein ängstliches Verlangen.

6. Recitativo T B A
Hier ist die Gruft
Und hier der Stein,
Der solche zugedeckt.
Wo aber wird mein Heiland sein?

Er ist vom Tode auferweckt!
Wir trafen einen Engel an,
Der hat uns solches kundgetan.

Hier seh ich mit Vergnügen
Das Schweißtuch abgewickelt liegen.

7. Aria T
Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer,
Nur ein Schlummer,
Jesu, durch dein Schweißtuch sein.
    Ja, das wird mich dort erfrischen
    Und die Zähren meiner Pein
    Von den Wangen tröstlich wischen.

8. Recitativo S A
Indessen seufzen wir
Mit brennender Begier:
Ach, könnt es doch nur bald geschehen,
Den Heiland selbst zu sehen!

9. Aria A
Saget, saget mir geschwinde,
Saget, wo ich Jesum finde,
Welchen meine Seele liebt!
    Komm doch, komm, umfasse mich;
    Denn mein Herz ist ohne dich
    Ganz verwaiset und betrübt.

10. Recitativo B
Wir sind erfreut,
Dass unser Jesus wieder lebt,
Und unser Herz,
So erst in Traurigkeit zerflossen und geschwebt
Vergisst den Schmerz
Und sinnt auf Freudenlieder;
Denn unser Heiland lebet wieder.

11. Coro
Preis und Dank
Bleibe, Herr, dein Lobgesang.
Höll und Teufel sind bezwungen,
Ihre Pforten sind zerstört.
Jauchzet, ihr erlösten Zungen,
Dass man es im Himmel hört.
Eröffnet, ihr Himmel, die prächtigen Bogen,
Der Löwe von Juda kommt siegend gezogen!

Mary, daughter of James (S), Mary Magdalene (A), Peter (T), John (B)

1. Sinfonia

2. Adagio

3. Aria (T, B) (1)
Come, hasten and hurry,(2) ye fleet-footed paces,
Make haste for the grotto which Jesus doth veil!
    Laughter and pleasure, Attend ye our hearts now, For he who saves us is raised up.
4. Recit. (A, S, T, B) Mary Magdalene, Mary, daughter of James, Peter, John
(Mary Magdalene)
O men so cold of heart!
Where is that love then gone
Which to the Savior ye now owe?
(Mary, daughter of James)
A helpless woman must upbraid you!
Ah, our sore-troubled grieving
And anxious, heartfelt woe
(Peter, John)
Here, joined with salty weeping
And melancholy yearning,
For him an unction did intend,
(Mary, daughter of James, Mary Magdalene)
Which ye, as we, in vain have brought.

5. Aria (S) Mary, daughter of James
Spirit, these thy costly spices
Should consist no more of myrrh.
    For alone, Crowned with laurel wreaths resplendent, Wilt thou still thy anxious longing(3).
6. Recit. (T, B, A) Peter, John, Mary Magdalene
Here is the crypt
And here the stone
Which kept it tightly closed.
But where, then, is my Savior gone?
(Mary Magdalene)
He is from death now risen up!
We met, before, an angel here
Who brought to us report of this.
I see now with great rapture
The napkin all unwound here lying.

7. Aria (T) Peter
Gentle shall my dying labor,
Nought but slumber,
Jesus, through thy napkin be.
Yes, for it will there(4) refresh me
And the tears of all my pain
From my cheeks wipe dry with comfort.

8. Recit. and Arioso (S, A) Mary, daughter of James, Mary Magdalene
And meanwhile, sighing, we
Here burn with deep desire:
Ah, if it only soon might happen,
To see himself the Savior!

9. Aria (A) Mary Magdalene
Tell me, tell me, tell me quickly,
Tell me where I may find Jesus,
Him whom all my soul doth love!
    Come now, come, and hold me close, For my heart is, lacking thee, Left an orphan and distressed.
10. Recit. (B) John
We now rejoice
That this our Jesus lives again,
And these our hearts,
Which once in sadness were dissolved and in suspense,
Forget their pain
And turn to joyful anthems,
For this our Savior once more liveth.

11. Chorus (S, A, T, B)
Laud and thanks
Bide, O Lord, thy song of praise.
Hell and devil are now vanquished,
And their portals are destroyed.
Triumph, O ye ransomed voices,
Till ye be in heaven heard.
Spread open, ye heavens, your glorious arches,
The Lion of Judah with triumph shall enter!

The Easter Sequence: Victimae Paschali Laudes

"Uno sguardo ai mosaici della Basilica di San Marco a Venezia, ascoltando l'antica sequenza pasquale. Per un augurio di Buona Pasqua 2009."

(A look at the mosaics of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, while listening to the ancient Easter sequence. Good wishes for a Happy Easter 2009.)

Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando,
Dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis:

Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Praecedet vos in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
Tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.
Christians, to the Paschal victim
offer your thankful praises!

A lamb the sheep redeemeth:
Christ, who only is sinless,
reconcileth sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
what thou sawest, wayfaring:

"The tomb of Christ, who is living,
the glory of Jesus' resurrection;

"Bright angels attesting,
the shroud and napkin resting.

"Yea, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he will go before you."

Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining;
have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!

The English translation above comes from the Episcopal Church's Hymnal 1982.

Victimae Paschali Laudes is usually attributed to Wipo of Burgundy (1039), but sometimes to Notker Balbulus (10th century) and Adam of St. Victor (13th century).

Here's another interesting take on the hymn; it's the Sequence, followed by the Alleluia, from Notre Dame on Easter Day, 2010. I've heard it sung this way on another French recording as well; perhaps this rather martial rhythm is traditional in France.

Here's the full list of propers for Easter Day at

Dominica Paschæ in Resurrectione Domini

Ad Missam in Die
Introitus: Ps. 138, 18.5.6 et 1-2 Resurrexi (cum Gloria Patri)(5m29.3s - 5148 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 117, 24 et 1 Hæc dies... V. Confitemini (2m58.6s - 2794 kb) score
Alleluia: 1 Cor. 5, 7 Pascha nostrum (1m59.3s - 1866 kb) score
Sequentia: Victimæ paschali laudes (1m36.6s - 1510 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 75, 9.10 Terra tremuit (1m21.9s - 1282 kb) score
Communio: 1 Cor. 5, 7.8 Pascha nostrum (1m25.2s - 1334 kb) score
ad dimitendum populum: Ite, Missa est (28.7s - 451 kb) score

And here are posts for most of these on Chantblog:

Easter: Christus Vincit

From James MacMillan:

Christus vincit
Christus regnat
Christus imperat.

(Christ conquers
Christ reigns
Christ rules.

Easter: I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Easter: This joyful eastertide

From King's College Choir, another great Easter tune, and more terrific lyrics:

This joyful Eastertide,
away with sin and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
hath sprung to life this morrow.
Had Christ, that once was slain,
ne'er burst his three-day prison,
our faith had been in vain;
but now is Christ arisen,
arisen, arisen, arisen.

My flesh in hope shall rest,
and for a season slumber,
till trump from east to west
shall wake the dead in number. Refrain

Death's flood hath lost its chill,
since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver. Refrain

Easter: He is Risen, He is Risen!

A wonderful tune, and some great lyrics!

He is risen, he is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice:
he has burst his three days' prison;
let the whole wide earth rejoice:
Death is conquered, we are free,
Christ has won the victory.

Come, ye sad and fearful-hearted,
with glad smile and radiant brow!
Death's long shadows have departed;
Jesus' woes are over now,
and the passion that he bore,
sin and pain can vex no more.

Come, with high and holy hymning,
hail our Lord's triumphant day;
not one darksome cloud is dimming
yonder glorious morning ray,
breaking o'ver the purple east,
symbol of our Easter feast.

He is risen, he is risen!
He hath opened heaven's gate:
we are free from sin's dark prison,
risen to a holier state;
and a brighter Easter beam
on our longing eyes shall stream.

Easter: "Now the Green Blade Riseth"

From the Choir of Ely Cathedral:

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid him, love whom men had slain,
Thinking that never he would wake again.
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green,

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain.
Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

The Easter Vigil: Alleluia!

Here's an mp3 of the Easter Vigil Alleluia, from the Brazilian Benedictines. The threefold Alleluia at the start marks the beginning of the Easter season (and in the West, is the first time the word has been used since Ash Wednesday).

Here's a video of the same chant, sung by the Gloriæ Dei Cantores Schola, with the full chant score below:

The text comes from Psalm 107, and in English is:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Have faith in the Lord for He is good, for His mercy is forever!

Here's a wonderful polyphonic version of this, labeled "Le Poeme Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre; 1610 Nova Metamorphosi."

And here is the Taizé version; this was recorded at the funeral of brother Roger, founder of Taizé Community, on 23 August 2005.

The Communio is also "Alleluia"; here's the chant and score for that one, again from the Brazilian Benedictines:

The text comes from Psalm 117, vv 1-2:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!

Here's a video of the same chant (although using different Laudate verses), sung at Lauds before the Benedictus Dominus Deus; I believe this comes from Easter 2011, and from St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church in Edinburgh.

Here are all the chants for the Easter Vigil, from, and sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:

Dominica Paschæ in Resurrectione Domini
Ad Vigiliam Paschalem in Nocte Santa

Lumen Christi
(9.9s - 158 kb) score

Præconium Paschale

(provisory mono files) Exsultet iam (2m16.2s - 400 kb)  Per omnia (33.5s - 101 kb)  Vere dignum (4m43.9s - 835 kb)  In huius (1m42.2s - 303 kb)  Oramus ergo (3m00.2s - 531 kb)

Ad liturgiam verbi - cantica post lectiones

Canticum: Iubilate Domino (1m23.0s - 1298 kb) score
Canticum: Qui confidunt
Canticum: Cantemus Domino (2m12.9kb - 2078 kb) score
Canticum: Laudate Dominum
Canticum: Vinea facta est (1m40.0s - 1564 kb) score
Canticum: Attende cælum
Canticum: Sicut cervus (2m01.6s - 1902 kb) score
Alleluia: Confitemini Domino (3m15.1s - 3052 kb) score
Antiphona: Vidi aquam (1m29.4s - 1400 kb) score

Offertorium: Dextera Domini (1m36.7s - 1512 kb) score
Communio: Alleluia (1m11.9s - 1124 kb) score
Ite missa est (28.7s - 451 kb) score

And here are posts on some of these at Chantblog:


A new (RCC) translation of the Easter Proclamation, sung each year at the Easter Vigil. Quite beautiful, too! 

Here's the full text, in English and Latin:

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle's perfect praises).

(Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.)
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants' hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
a flame divided but undimmed,
which glowing fire ignites for God's honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Exsúltet iam angélica turba cælórum:
exsúltent divína mystéria:
et pro tanti Regis victória tuba ínsonet salutáris.

Gáudeat et tellus, tantis irradiáta fulgóribus:
et ætérni Regis splendóre illustráta,
tótius orbis se séntiat amisísse calíginem.

Lætétur et mater Ecclésia,
tanti lúminis adornáta fulgóribus:
et magnis populórum vócibus hæc aula resúltet.

[Quaprópter astántes vos, fratres caríssimi,
ad tam miram huius sancti lúminis claritátem,
una mecum, quæso,
Dei omnipoténtis misericórdiam invocáte.
Ut, qui me non meis méritis
intra Levitárum númerum dignátus est aggregáre,
lúminis sui claritátem infúndens,
cérei huius laudem implére perfíciat.]

[V/ Dóminus vobíscum.
R/ Et cum spíritu tuo.]
V/ Sursum corda.
R/ Habémus ad Dóminum.
V/ Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro.
R/ Dignum et iustum est.

Vere dignum et iustum est,
invisíbilem Deum Patrem omnipoténtem
Filiúmque eius unigénitum,
Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum,
toto cordis ac mentis afféctu et vocis ministério personáre.

Qui pro nobis ætérno Patri Adæ débitum solvit,
et véteris piáculi cautiónem pio cruóre detérsit.

Hæc sunt enim festa paschália,
in quibus verus ille Agnus occíditur,
cuius sánguine postes fidélium consecrántur.

Hæc nox est,
in qua primum patres nostros, fílios Israel
edúctos de Ægypto,
Mare Rubrum sicco vestígio transíre fecísti.

Hæc ígitur nox est,
quæ peccatórum ténebras colúmnæ illuminatióne purgávit.

Hæc nox est,
quæ hódie per univérsum mundum in Christo credéntes,
a vítiis sæculi et calígine peccatórum segregátos,
reddit grátiæ, sóciat sanctitáti.

Hæc nox est,
in qua, destrúctis vínculis mortis,
Christus ab ínferis victor ascéndit.

Nihil enim nobis nasci prófuit,
nisi rédimi profuísset.
O mira circa nos tuæ pietátis dignátio!
O inæstimábilis diléctio caritátis:
ut servum redímeres, Fílium tradidísti!

O certe necessárium Adæ peccátum,
quod Christi morte delétum est!

O felix culpa,
quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem!

O vere beáta nox,
quæ sola méruit scire tempus et horam,
in qua Christus ab ínferis resurréxit!

Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est:
Et nox sicut dies illuminábitur:
et nox illuminátio mea in delíciis meis.

Huius ígitur sanctificátio noctis fugat scélera, culpas lavat:
et reddit innocéntiam lapsis et mæstis lætítiam.
Fugat ódia, concórdiam parat et curvat impéria.

In huius ígitur noctis grátia, súscipe, sancte Pater,
laudis huius sacrifícium vespertínum,
quod tibi in hac cérei oblatióne solémni,
per ministrórum manus
de opéribus apum, sacrosáncta reddit Ecclésia.

Sed iam colúmnæ huius præcónia nóvimus,
quam in honórem Dei rútilans ignis accéndit.
Qui, lícet sit divísus in partes,
mutuáti tamen lúminis detrimenta non novit.

Alitur enim liquántibus ceris,
quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis
apis mater edúxit.

O vere beáta nox,
in qua terrénis cæléstia, humánis divína iungúntur!

Orámus ergo te, Dómine,
ut céreus iste in honórem tui nóminis consecrátus,
ad noctis huius calíginem destruéndam,
indefíciens persevéret.
Et in odórem suavitátis accéptus,
supérnis lumináribus misceátur.

Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:
ille, inquam, lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.
Christus Fílius tuus,
qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit,
et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.

R/ Amen.

Here's a PDF of the score in square notes, from CCWatershed. 

Here are all the chants for the Easter Vigil, from, and sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:

Dominica Paschæ in Resurrectione Domini
Ad Vigiliam Paschalem in Nocte Santa

Lumen Christi
(9.9s - 158 kb) score

Præconium Paschale

(provisory mono files) Exsultet iam (2m16.2s - 400 kb)  Per omnia (33.5s - 101 kb)  Vere dignum (4m43.9s - 835 kb)  In huius (1m42.2s - 303 kb)  Oramus ergo (3m00.2s - 531 kb)

Ad liturgiam verbi - cantica post lectiones

Canticum: Iubilate Domino (1m23.0s - 1298 kb) score
Canticum: Qui confidunt
Canticum: Cantemus Domino (2m12.9kb - 2078 kb) score
Canticum: Laudate Dominum
Canticum: Vinea facta est (1m40.0s - 1564 kb) score
Canticum: Attende cælum
Canticum: Sicut cervus (2m01.6s - 1902 kb) score
Alleluia: Confitemini Domino (3m15.1s - 3052 kb) score
Antiphona: Vidi aquam (1m29.4s - 1400 kb) score

Offertorium: Dextera Domini (1m36.7s - 1512 kb) score
Communio: Alleluia (1m11.9s - 1124 kb) score
Ite missa est (28.7s - 451 kb) score

And here are posts on some of these at Chantblog:

And a blessed Easter to all.

Holy Saturday: "Hast Thou Considered My Servant Job?"

Via Thornton Wilder and Mockingbird.

Now it came to pass on the day when the sons of God came to present themselves before SATAN that CHRIST also came among them. And
SATAN. [Said unto CHRIST:] Whence comest Thou?
CHRIST. [Answered SATAN and said:] From going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it.
SATAN. [Said unto CHRIST:] Hast though considered my servant Judas? For there is none like him in the earth, an evil and a faithless man, one that feareth me and turneth away from God.
CHRIST. [Answered SATAN and said:] Doth Judas fear thee for naught? Hast thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? But draw back thy hand now and he will renounce thee to thy face.
SATAN. [Said unto CHRIST:] Behold, all that he hath is in thy power.
[So CHRIST went forth from the presence of SATAN.]
* * * * *
[He descended to the earth. Thirty-three years are but a moment before SATAN and before God, and at the end of this moment CHRIST ascends again to his own place. He passes on this journey before the presence of the adversary.]
SATAN. You are alone! Where is my son Judas whom I gave into your hands?
CHRIST. He follows me.
SATAN. I know what you have done. And the earth rejected you? The earth rejected you! All Hell murmurs in astonishment. But where is Judas, my son and my joy?
CHRIST. Even now he is coming.
SATAN. Even Heaven, when I reigned there, was not so tedious as this waiting. Know, Prince, that I am too proud to show all my astonishment at your defeat. But now that you are swallowing your last humiliation, now that your failure has shut the mouths of the angels, I may confess that for a while I feared you. There is a fretfulness in the hearts of men. Many are inconsistent, even to me. Alas, every man is not a Judas. I knew even from the beginning that you would be able, for a season, to win their hearts with your mild eloquence. I feared that you would turn to your own uses this fretfulness that visits them. But my fears were useless. Even Judas, even when my power was withdrawn from him, even Judas betrayed you. Am I not right in this?
CHRIST. You are.
SATAN. You admitted him into your chosen company. Is it permitted to me to ask for how much he betrayed you?
CHRIST. For thirty pieces of silver.
SATAN. [After a pause:] Am I permitted to ask what role he was assigned in your company?
CHRIST. He held its money-bags.
SATAN. [Dazed:] Does Heaven understand human nature as little as that? Surely the greater part of you closest companions stayed beside you to the end?
CHRIST. One stayed beside me.
SATAN. I have overestimated my enemy. Learn again, Prince, that if I were permitted to return to earth in my own person, not for thirty years, but for thirty hours, I would seal all men to me and all the temptations in Heaven’s gift could not persuade one to betray me. For I build not on intermittent dreams and timid aspirations, but on the unshakable passions of greed and lust and self-love. At last this is made clear: Judas, Judas, all the triumphs of Hell await you. Already above the eternal pavements of black marble the banquet is laid. Listen, how my nations are stirring in new hope and in new joy. Such music has not been lifted above my lakes and my mountains since the day I placed the apple of knowledge between the teeth of Adam.
[Suddenly the thirty pieces of silver are cast upward from the revolted hand of JUDAS. They hurtle through the skies, flinging their enormous shadows across the stars and continue falling forever through the vast funnel of space.]
[Presently JUDAS rises, the black stains about his throat and the rope of suicide]
SATAN. What have they done to you, my beloved son? What last poor revenge have they attempted upon you? Come to me. Here there is comfort. Here all this violence can be repaired. The futile spite of Heaven cannot reach you here. But why do you not speak to me? My son, my treasure!
[JUDAS remains with lowered eyes.]
CHRIST. Speak to him, my beloved son.
JUDAS. [Still with lowered eyes, softly, to SATAN:] Accursed be thou, from eternity to eternity.
[These two mount upward to their due place and SATAN remains to this day, uncomprehending, upon the pavement of Hell.]
* * * * *
-from “The Angel that Troubled the Waters” by Thornton Wilder, pp. 129-133 (Coward-McCann, 1928)

Friday, April 06, 2012

Maundy Thursday: Pange Lingua, gloriosi

Written by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century, the hymn extols the Eucharist and Christ's sacrifice in giving it. Below are the words, in Latin and the glorious, glorious English translation by Edward Caswall, a 19th-Century Anglican clergyman and hymn writer (who later converted to Roman Catholicism).

Listen to a stunningly beautiful version of it here, an mp3 of the St. Thomas Fifth Avenue Solemn Maundy Thursday Eucharist, sung to the hymn tune Grafton. I love the plainsong version - but this is really so lovely and loving that it's difficult to listen to, in its context, without tears welling in the eyes. The hymn, with organ accompaniment, starts at around 1:43:30; at the moment I think it's the loveliest hymn ever written. There are long pauses between verses as the Sacrament is taken in procession to the Altar of Repose.

[EDIT:  Unfortunately, that mp3 is no longer available.   But here's a video of the song, sung by the St. Thomas Choir for a recording; lovely!

And here's a short video of the hymn tune Grafton; it's just the organ, for four verses.  Imagine a slower, statelier pace - and those silent pauses between verses - and you'll have the idea.  They always sing it in English at St. Thomas, but the Latin would work too, as it's in the same meter.  Here's a page that describes the service itself; it's one of the richest and most beautiful of the Great Church Year.

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.

NOW, my tongue, the mystery telling
Of the glorious Body sing,
And the Blood, all price excelling,
Which the Gentiles’ Lord and King,
Once on earth among us dwelling,
Shed for this world’s ransoming.

Given for us, and condescending
To be born for us below,
He with men in converse blending
Dwelt, the seed of truth to sow,
Till he closed with wondrous ending
His most patient life of woe.

That last night at supper lying
Mid the twelve, his chosen band,
Jesus, with the Law complying,
Keeps the feast its rites demand;
Then, more precious food supplying,
Gives himself with his own hand

Word-made-flesh, true bread he maketh
By his word his Flesh to be,
Wine his Blood; when man partaketh,
Though his senses fail to see,
Faith alone, when sight forsaketh,
Shows true hearts the mystery.

Therefore we, before him bending,
This great Sacrament revere;
Types and shadows have their ending,
For the newer rite is here;
Faith, our outward sense befriending,
Makes our inward vision clear.

Glory let us give and blessing
To the Father and the Son,
Honor, thanks, and praise addressing,
While eternal ages run;
Ever too his love confessing
Who from both with both is One.

Amen. Alleluia.

All the chants for today are listed at, as follows:

Missa Vespertina in Cena Domini
Ad liturgiam verbi
Introitus: Cf. Gal. 6,14; Ps. 66 Nos autem gloriari (4m37.3s - 4337 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 144,15. V. 16 Oculi omnium (2m58.5s - 2793 kb) score
Tractus: Mal. 1,11 et Prov. 9,5 Ab ortu solis (2m33.8s - 2409 kb) score

Ad lotionem pedum

Antiphona: Cf. Io. 13, 4.5.15 Postquam surrexit Dominus (43.3s - 681 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 2.13.15 Dominus Iesus (1m02.4s - 979 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 6.7.8 Domine, tu mihi lavas pedes (1m16.0s - 1191 kb) score
Antiphona: Cf. Io. 13, 14 Si ego Dominus (37.2s - 583 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 35 In hoc cognoscent omnes (45.5s - 713 kb) score
Antiphona: Io. 13, 34 Mandatum novum (15.8s - 248 kb) score
Antiphona: I Cor. 13, 13 Maneant in vobis (56.2s - 876 kb) score

Ad liturgiam eucharisticam

Offertorium: Ubi caritas (2m16.3s - 2132 kb) score
Communio: I Cor. 11, 24.25  Hoc corpus (2m51.7s - 2684 kb) score

Ad translationem SS.mi Sacramenti

O salutaris Hostia I (52.2s - 818 kb) score, Panis angelicus I (1m15.5s - 1182 kb) score, Adoro te devote (2m26.0s - 2282 kb) score, Ecce panis (1m33.2s - 1458 kb) score, Pange lingua, Tantum ergo (3m06.5s - 2916 kb) score

Here are other posts on Chantblog for some of the propers:


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