Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Saint Lawrence Press Blog: "The Vigil of the Nativity"

More at this blog post about the Proclamation of Christmas as St. Lawrence Press enumerates and describes the liturgies of December 24.  See the bolded section below for a full description of how the Proclamation is sung at Prime:
The Vigil of the Nativity is unique in the Liturgical Year in that it is of simple rite at Mattins and then becomes of double rite from Lauds onwards.

Mattins has one nocturn of three lessons. The invitatorium is Hodie scietis and the hymn Verbum supernum, the antiphons and psalms are from the ferial psalter for Saturday, Memor fuit in saeculum etc., but the versicles, lessons and responsories are proper. The homily is taken from St. Jerome's commentary on the first chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. At Lauds the antiphons, Judaea et Jerusalem nolite timere etc, are sung with the psalms of Sunday. The Office hymn is En clara vox. The chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus, and collect are proper to the Vigil. The ferial preces are not sung.

Prime is festal with the first antiphon from Lauds, as usual, and psalms 53, 118(i) and 118(ii). The Martyrology is sung with extra solemnity today. The Hebdomadarius dons a violet cope and preceded by acolytes bearing candles and a thurifer with incense enters the choir. After reverencing the choir and altar the Martyrology is censed, as a Gospel book, three times. The the choir rise and the Hebdomadarius chants 'Octavo Kalendas Januarii. Luna undecima. Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit coelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimonono: A diluvio etc., listing the years since the birth of Abraham, the Exodus from Egypt, the anointing of David, the time since Daniel the Prophet, since the founding of Rome and the conception of the LORD by the Holy Ghost. He continues until '...novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus', then raising the pitch of the chant, whilst the choir kneel, he continues, 'in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus Homo'. Then in the tone of the Passion: 'Nativitas Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundem carnem.' The choir then rise and sit whilst in the normal tone the Hebdomadarius (or a lector, depending on the custom of the place) continues with the entries for the day: 'Eodem die natalis santae Anastasiae etc. The lectio brevis, Per quem accepimus, is proper to the Vigil. The antiphons from Lauds are used in sequence at the rest of the Hours.

Mass is sung after None. Today the ministers do not wear folded chasubles but dalmatic and tunicle. There is just one collect. The dismissal, Benedicamus Domino, is sung by the deacon to a most beautiful and ornate tone reserved for today, the feast of the Holy Innocents and pro re gravi Masses.

First Vespers of the Nativity are sung in the afternoon. The antiphons Rex pacificus etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. All hymns of Iambic metre have the Doxology Jesu, tibi sit gloria, qui natus es de Virgine for the Octave and up until the feast of the Epiphany.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there is no change of rank between Mattins and the rest of the day. The antiphons at Mattins and the Hours are doubled. At Prime the special short lesson is omitted and the one used for all of Advent is sung. Not having folded chasubles the distinction of the lightening of the penitential tone is lost at Mass and the beautiful chant of the Benedicamus Domino is replaced by Ite, missa est. Mass is sung after Terce, not after None. The hymns at the Little Hours through the Octave etc do not have the special tone and Doxology in honour of the Incarnation. 

Notice what happens at the end of the Martyrology on Christmas:  "Then in the tone of the Passion: 'Nativitas Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundem carnem.'" 

Again, the strands of the Great Church Year are pulled together, the one referring to another; the music of the Christmas Proclamation has overtones of the Passion right within it.

The moon and the Proclamation of Christmas

Here's the Proclamation of Christmas sung to the Solemn Tone in Latin at this year's Midnight Mass at St. Peter's:

I've been looking into the rather strange general intro to the Proclamation - this year it's Octavo Kalendas Ianuarii, luna undecima - and have finally understood what's going on here.

Here's the deal:  the Proclamation will always start out with "Octavo Kalendas Ianuarii" because Christmas Day is the eighth day of the Calends of January.  Here's the explanation of how Calends and other relative days are figured,  at Wikipedia:
The Calends (Latin Kalendae "the called", gen. plural -arum), correspond to the first days of each month of the Roman calendar. The Romans assigned these calends to the first day of the month, signifying the start of the new moon cycle.[citation needed] On that day, the pontiffs would announce at the Curia Calabra the rest days for the upcoming month, and the debtors had to pay off their debts that were inscribed in the calendaria, a sort of accounts book. The date (in this calendar system) was measured relative to days such as the Calends,Nones or Ides, for example, in modern terms, three days past Calends would be the 4th of the month. This sort of system would be used to date documents, diary entries, etc.
Computation of the days of the month from Calends can be done using the following verses:
Principium mensis cujusque vocato Kalendas:
Sex Maius nonas, October, Julius, et Mars;
Quattuor at reliqui: dabit Idus quidlibet octo.
meaning that the first day is called the Calends; six days later is the Nones of May, October, July and March; four days later for the remaining months; and the Ides is eight days after that.[1]
To find the day of the Calends of the current month, one counts how many days remain in the month, and add two to that number. For example, April 22, is the 10th of the Calends of May, because there are 8 days left in April, to which 2 being added, the sum is 10.[2]

So, December 25 is the 8th of the Calends of January, since there are six days following it before January begins.  Then, add two.   (This all has something to do with  the difference between the average number of days in a solar month - 30.41 days - and the length of the lunar cycle - 29.54 days; I haven't quite figure this out yet, but it's not necessary in order to explain what's happening with the announcement.  But this sort of thing is, no doubt, why the Julian calendar replaced this system.)

The phrase following "Octavo Kalendas Ianuarii" will vary each year; the number there - this year luna undecima, two years ago luna decima nona - is a count of how many days have passed since the last New Moon.    Per this "Moon Phases" calendar, you can see in 2012, the new moon did indeed occur 11 days before December 24, and in 2010 it did indeed occur 19 days before Christmas Eve.

So the announcement in English for this year is this:

"The eighth of the Calends of January, 11 days after the last New Moon."

It seems that this kind of announcement, "the Martyrology," was and in some places still is made at every service of Prime - the first office of the day - for the following day.    ("The following day," of course, begins later that same day with Vespers.)  It normally - as far as I know at the moment - listed the martyrs for that day (and the saints who died on that day, which date is typically chosen for their feast day), along with the date and at least sometimes the phases of the moon.

Here's a typical listing from Divinum Officum for July 18, 2012 (chosen at random), first in Latin, then in English:
Martyrologium (anticipated)

Quartodecimo Kalendas Augusti Luna vicesima nona Anno 2012 Domini

Sancti Vincentii a Paulo, Presbyteri et Confessoris, Congregationis Presbyterorum Missionis et Puellarum Caritatis Fundatoris, caelestis omnium caritatis Societatum Patroni; qui in Domino obdormivit quinto Kalendas Octobris.
Colossis, in Phrygia, natalis sancti Epaphrae, quem sanctus Paulus Apostolus concaptivum appellat. Hic, ab eodem Apostolo Colossis Episcopus ordinatus, ibidem, clarus virtutibus, martyrii palmam, pro ovibus sibi commendatis, virili agone percepit; cuius corpus Romae, in Basilica sanctae Mariae Maioris, conditum est.
Treviris sancti Martini, Episcopi et Martyris.
Hispali, in Hispania, passio sanctarum Virginum Iustae et Rufinae, quae, a Praeside Diogeniano comprehensae, primo equulei extensione et ungularum laniatione vexatae, postea carcere, inedia et variis torsionibus sunt afflictae; tandem Iusta in carcere spiritum exhalavit, Rufinae vero cervix, in confessione Domini, confracta est.
Cordubae, in Hispania, sanctae Aureae Virginis, beatorum Adulphi et Ioannis Martyrum sororis; quae aliquando in apostasiae crimen a Mahumetano Iudice inducta est, sed mox, facti poenitens, iterato certamine, hostem effuso sanguine superavit.
Romae sancti Symmachi Papae, qui, a schismaticorum factione diutius fatigatus, demum, sanctitate conspicuus, migravit ad Dominum.
Veronae sancti Felicis Episcopi.
Apud Scetim, Aegypti montem, sancti Arsenii, Romanae Ecclesiae Diaconi; qui, Theodosii tempore, in solitudinem secessit, ibique, virtutibus omnibus consummatus et iugi lacrimarum imbre perfusus, spiritum Deo reddidit.
In Cappadocia sanctae Macrinae Virginis, filiae sanctorum Basilii et Emmeliae, atque sororis item sanctorum Episcoporum Basilii Magni, Gregorii Nysseni et Petri Sebastensis.
V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.

R. Deo grátias

Martyrologium (anticipated)

On the morrow we keep the feast of the holy Confessor Vincent of Paul, who slept in the Lord upon the 27 th day of September, and whom Pope Leo XIII. proclaimed the patron before God in heaven of all charitable societies throughout the whole Catholic world which derive their origin in any way from his institution, [in the year 1660.]
July 19th anno Domini 2012 The 29th Day of Moon were born into the better life

The holy Epaphras, whom the holy Apostle Paul doth call his own fellow prisoner. He was ordained by the same Apostle Bishop of Colossi, where, illustrious for graces, he gained the palm of martyrdom in manly contending on behalf of the sheep committed to his care. His body is buried at Rome, in the Church of St Mary the greater.
At Seville, in Spain, the holy Virgins Justa and Rufina. They were arrested under the President Diogenian. They were first racked and tormented by being torn with hooks, and afterwards afflicted with imprisonment, starvation, and divers tortures in the end Justa gave up the ghost in prison, and Rufina had her neck broken for confessing the Lord, [at the end of the third century.]
At Cordova, the holy Virgin Aurea, who for a time fell away, but repented of what she had done, and in a renewed combat prevailed against the enemy by the shedding of her blood, [in the year 856.]
At Trier, the holy martyr Martin, Bishop [of that see, in the year 210.]
At Rome, the holy Pope Symmachus, who long suffered through the deeds of the schismatics, and at length passed away, famous for holiness, to be ever with the Lord, [in the year 514.]
At Verona, holy Felix, the Bishop.
At Mount Skete, in Egypt, holy Arsenius, a Deacon of the Church of Rome, who in the time of Theodosius betook himself to the desert, where he gave up his soul to God, finished in all graces and plentifully wet with tears, [in the year 450.]
In Cappadocia, the holy Virgin Macrina, sister to holy Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, [in the year 379.]
V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God.

 I'm sure that's much more than you ever wanted to know.  But that's what's happening there - and it's really interesting that the Church is still using this, since the Julian calendar was introduced in 46 BC....

(A pretty impressive aspect of this, BTW, is that the coder at the Divinum Officum site has integrated a phases of the moon function into his/her script!  Well done, I must say.)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Introit for Sunday in the Octave of Christmas: Dum Medium

This Sunday's Introit for the Extraordinary Form is Dum Medium: "While a profound silence."  Here's an mp3 of the chant from  ReneGoupil, and below is the chant score from that site, with their English translation below that.  (The Ordinary Form seems to celebrate "Holy Family Sunday" - but I'm not quite sure about that one; the Brazilian Benedictines say it's on December 30, but I'm not clear whether that's a permanent feast day or whether they're referring to this Sunday only.  In any case, Anglicans don't celebrate that feast, so I'm going with the EF this time.)

While a profound silence enveloped all things, and night was in the midst of her course, your all-powerful Word, O Lord, leaped down from your royal throne.   The Lord reigns, he is enrobed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, he has girded himself.

The first part of the introit comes from a beautiful and obscure text I'd never seen until a couple of years ago:  Wisdom 18:14-15.
14 For when peaceful stillness encompassed everything / and the night in its swift course was half spent,

15 Your all-powerful word from heaven’s royal throne / leapt into the doomed land,

Wisdom 18 recounts, once again, the salvation history of the people of Israel - and this section refers to the last of the 10 plagues when the Israelites were captives in Egypt.  Of course, this is a parallel to what's happening in the New Testament and in the Great Church Year- with a twist.   In Exodus, the people are freed from slavery when Pharoah, after the deaths of the Egyptian first-born, finally releases the Israelites from their bondage; here, the Holy Family is escaping into Egypt because Herod has ordered the death of all boys under the age of 2 years in Bethlehem.   (The Feast of the Holy Innocents was this past Wednesday.)

Psalm 92/93 provides the "He has girded himself with strength" portion of the Introit.
1 The LORD is King;
he has put on splendid apparel; *
the LORD has put on his apparel
and girded himself with strength.
2 He has made the whole world so sure *
that it cannot be moved;
3 Ever since the world began, your throne has been established; *
you are from everlasting.
4 The waters have lifted up, O LORD,
the waters have lifted up their voice; *
the waters have lifted up their pounding waves.
5 Mightier than the sound of many waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea, *
mightier is the LORD who dwells on high.
6 Your testimonies are very sure, *
and holiness adorns your house, O LORD,
for ever and for evermore.

I'm not sure what sort of thing this is; it starts out using this text and then goes someplace else.  It's beautiful, though, so here it is - sung by "Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Dominique Vellard, dir. Le Chant des Cathédrales - Ecole de Notre Dame de Paris" :

And, wow!  The various lectionaries for this Sunday are really all over the place.  The RCL has three different readings for Years A, B, and C; the first is indeed the flight into Egypt - but the others are the Purification (i.e., Simeon and Anna in the temple), and Jesus' adventures as a boy in the temple.   The 1928 and 1662 BCPs both had Matthew's story of Jesus' birth; the 1979 BCP has the Prologue of John on this Sunday for every year (I like this last choice, myself),

Just for the sake of coherence with the chant proper, here's RCL-A: the flight into Egypt from Matthew 2:13-23:
2:13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."

2:14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt,

2:15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son."

2:16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.

2:17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

2:18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."

2:19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,

2:20 "Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead."

2:21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.

2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee.

2:23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He will be called a Nazorean."
Here's the Collect  (which sure seems to parallel the Prologue of John!):
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
I don't have Hatchett's commentary on this, but here's a bit about the collect from Trinity Episcopal in Concord, MA:
The familiar theme in this Collect of “the new light that shines forth” was initially part of the Gregorian Sacramentary and later included in the Sarum Rite. It was eventually included in our 1928 BCP revision for the Second Sunday after Christmas. The late Massey Shepherd, who wrote the Commentary on the 1928 Prayer Book, felt that the Collect was more associated with the translation by the Rev. Arwell M.Y. Bayley that was included in his book, “A Century of Collects,” published in 1913. The Petition Clause in the original Latin could be translated as, “Grant that the light which through faith shines in the heart, may shine forth in our works,” thus picking up the relationship between faith and works. The juxtaposition of darkness and light has been with us from the beginning of creation as described in Genesis. The “new light” of Christ is particularly found in this Sunday’s reading from The Gospel of John, as well as our hymns, and our sermons, encouraging and inspiring us to go forth into the world to love and serve God.

Here's the flight into Egypt four ways.  In order:   Giotto (late C13/early C14); Joachim Beuckelaer (2nd half of C16); George Hitchcock (1892); and Henry Ossawa Tanner (1923).

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28: Holy Innocents

From Hymn Melodies for the Whole Year from the Sarum Service-Books:
On the Feast of the Holy Innocents & on the Octave Day :
Mattins Sanctorum meritis ... ... ... 52
Lauds & EvensongRex gloriose martyrum ... ... ... 27

Follow along with the Office for today - including antiphons, hymns, Psalms, Chapter, etc., although no music is provided - at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).   I'll link-in via iFrame to the SSM book at the bottom of the post too.

Sanctorum meritis is to be sung to this melody on this day:

This, I believe, will be the Latin text; it comes from CPDL; that entry's referring to another sacred song of unknown origin (for "SSTT" voices), probably based on the Gregorian chant and its text:
Sanctorum meritis inclita gaudia
pangamus socii gestaque fortia
nam gliscit animus promere cantibus
victorum genus optimum.

Hi sunt quo retines mundis inhorruit

Ipsum nam sterile flore per aridum
Sprevere penitus teque secuti sunt,
Rex, Christe, bone cælitum.

Hi pro te furias sævaque sustinent;

non murmur resonat, non querimonia,
sed corde tacito mens bene conscia
conservat patientiam.

Quæ vox, quæ poterit lingua retexere

Quæ tu martyribus munera præparas?
Rubri nam fluido sanguine laureis
Ditantur bene fulgidis.

Te, Trina Deitas unaque, poscimus,

ut culpas abluas, noxia quoque gloriam
per cuncta tibi sæcula.
A note at the CPDL page says that this is "A Martyrs' hymn transcribed from the Trent manuscript tr89."  Various sources give the author as "unknown" - or else Rabanus Maurus, the 8th-Century monk and archbishop of Mainz.

This is the same hymn that Hymn-melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service-books calls for at Matins "On the Feast of several Martyrs (or Confessors)."  LLPB sings it as "The Noble Deeds of Saints (MP3).   (Note:  that mp3 is a recording of melody 51, not melody 52; see for instance September 9: Constance and her Companions, Martyrs for that chant score.)   

Cyberhymnal calls it "The Triumph of the SaintsHere are the words from J.M. Neale's translation; pretty close to what's on the recording:
The triumphs of the saints,
The toils they bravely bore,
The love that never faints,
Their glory evermore—
For these the Church today
Pours forth her joyous lay;
What victors wear so rich a bay?

This clinging world of ill
Them and their works abhorred;
Its withering flowers still
They spurned with one accord;
They knew them short lived all,
How soon they fade and fall,
And followed, Jesu, at Thy call.

What tongue may here declare,
Fancy or thought descry,
The joys Thou dost prepare
For these Thy saints on high?
Empurpled in the flood
Of their victorious blood,
They won the laurel from their God.

O Lord most high, we pray,
Stretch forth Thy mighty arm
To put our sins away
And shelter us from harm;
O give Thy servants peace;
From guilt and pain release;
Our praise to Thee shall never cease.

Cyberhymnal offers another English translation of the hymn as well.

Here's a video from Giovanni Viannini - and still another melody not melody 52.   Haven't been able to find that tune anywhere so far. says this:
Sanctorum meritis inclita gaudia. [Common of Martyrs.] This hymn is frequently referred to by Hinemar in his "De una et non trina Deitate," 857; but he distinctly says he could not discover its author. It is found in four manuscripts of the 11th century in the British Museum; and in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo Saxon Church, 1851, is printed from an 11th century manuscript at Durham. Also in a manuscript of the 10th century at Bern, No. 455; in a manuscript of the 11th century at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (No. 391, p. 272); in the St. Gall manuscript 413 and 414, of the 11th century. It is in the Roman, Sarum, York, Aberdeen, Paris of 1643, and other Breviaries—-the Sarum use being at 1st Vespers and at Matins in the common of many martyrs… [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

Rex gloriose martyrum is the hymn for Lauds and 2nd Vespers for all "feasts of several martyrs" - but on this day it is sung to the same tune as A solis ortus cardine, the Lauds & 2nd Vespers hymn from the Christmas Office (that's this tune (mp3), although not those words).   Here's the chant score:

LLPB calls this 6th-Century hymn "A hymn about the Martrys (O Glorious King of Martyr Hosts)"; here are the English words, from Oremus:
O glorious King of martyr hosts,
thou crown that each confessor boasts,
who leadest to celestial day
the saints who cast earth's joys away.

Thine ear in mercy, Savior, lend,
while unto thee our prayers ascend;
and as we count their triumphs won,
forgive the sins that we have done.

Martyrs in thee their triumphs gain,
confessors grace from thee obtain;
we sinners humbly seek to thee,
from sins offense to set us free.

All laud to God the Father be,
all praise, eternal Son, to thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to God the holy Paraclete.

This may be the Latin text; it comes from a CPDL page about a Victoria motet of the same name:
Rex gloriose Martyrum
corona confitentium,
qui respuentes terrea
perducis ad coelestia.

Tu vincis in martyribus

parcisque Confessoribus:
Tu vince nostra crimina,
largitor indulgentiae.

Aurem benignam protinus

appone nostris vocibus
trophea sacra pangimus
ignosce quod deliquimus.

Gloria tibi Domine

qui surrexisti a mortuis
cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
in sempiterna saecula.
Amen. offers these manuscript notes:
Rex gloriose martyrum. [Common of Martyrs.] Probably of the 6th century. Included in the Bern manuscript 455 of the 10th century; in a manuscript of the 11th century, at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (391, p. 273); and in four manuscripts of the 11th century, in the British Museum (Vesp. D. xii. f. 106; Jul. A. vi. f. 64 b; Harl. 2961 f. 248; Add. 30851 f. 152 b); and in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 1851, is printed from an 11th century manuscript at Durham (B. iii. 32 f. 38 h). Also in an 11th century manuscript at St. Gall, No. 414; and in the Roman, Sarum, York, Aberdeen, and other Breviaries. The printed text is also in Mone, No. 732 ; Daniel, i., No. 237, and iv. p. 139; Cardinal Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865; G. M. Dreves's Hymnarius Moissiacensis, 1888, from a 10th century manuscript, &c. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
And the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia says that:
The hymn is of uncertain date and unknown authorship, Mone (Lateinische Hymnen des Mittelalters, III, 143, no. 732) ascribing it to the sixth century and Daniel (Thesaurus Hymnologicus, IV, 139) to the ninth or tenth century. The Roman Breviary text is a revision, in the interest of Classical prosody, of an older form (given by Daniel, I, 248). The corrections are: terrea instead of terrena in the line "Qui respuentes terrena"; parcisque for parcendo in the line "Parcendo confessoribus"; inter Martyres for in Martyribus in the line "Tu vincis in Martyribus"; "Largitor indulgentiæ" for the line "Donando indulgentiam". A non-prosodic correction is intende for appone in the line "Appone nostris vocibus". Daniel (IV, 139) gives the Roman Breviary text, but mistakenly includes the uncorrected line "Parcendo confessoribus". lie places after the hymn an elaboration of it in thirty-two lines, found written on leaves added to a Nuremberg book and intended to accommodate the hymn to Protestant doctrine. This elaborated form uses only lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 of the original. Two of the added strophes may be quoted here to illustrate the possible reason (but also a curious misconception of Catholic doctrine in the apparent assumption of the lines) for the modification of the original hymn:
Velut infirma vascula Ictus inter lapideos Videntur sancti martyres, Sed fide durant fortiter. Non fidunt suis meritis, Sed sola tua gratia Agnoscunt se persistere In tantis cruciatibus.

Better known than either of those hymns in relation to this day on the Calendar, though, is Coventry Carol. Wikipedia has this:
The "Coventry Carol" is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew. The carol refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed. The lyrics of this haunting carol represent a mother's lament for her doomed child. It is the only carol that has survived from this play.
See the words, again from Wikipedia, below the video.


The only manuscript copy to have survived into recent times was burnt in 1875.[2] Our knowledge of the lyrics is therefore based on two very poor quality transcriptions from the early nineteenth century, and there is considerable doubt about many of the words. Some of the transcribed words are difficult to make sense of: for example, in the last verse "And ever morne and may For thi parting Neither say nor singe" is not clear. Various modern editors have made different attempts to make sense of the words, so such variations may be found as "ever mourn and say", "every morn and day", "ever mourn and sigh". The following is one attempted reconstruction.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

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

This is Lucas Van Valckenborch's "Masscre of the Innocents, painted in around 1580 - about the same time as Coventry Carol was written.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 27: The Feast of St. John Evangelist

From Hymn Melodies for the Whole Year from the Sarum Service-Books:
On the Feast of S. John Ev. & on the Octave Day :
Mattins:   Annue Christe (on the day) ...................46
                                     (on the octave day) ...................47
Lauds & Evensong:   Exultet celum laudibus ................... 27
Follow along with the Office for today - including antiphons, hymns, Psalms, Chapter, etc., although no music is provided - at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).   I'll link-in via iFrame to the SSM book at the bottom of the post too.

Below is a video of Annue Christe, the prescribed hymn for Mattins as above, sung to melody #46; the singers chant only the first and last verse of the Latin words given below:

It's a pretty hymn - melismatic and liquid.

Here are the scores for hymns 46 and 47:

CPDL provides the Latin words for the hymn; they write:
Transcribed from the Trent manuscript tr92. The keys, the notes' values and the accidental are as in the manuscript. The time signature is missing; the “tempus perfectum” has been assumed from the context and the perfect notes have been dotted. The text underlay within brackets and that of the Tenor (lowest voice) are editorial, the manuscript has the 1st verse only. The notes' values within the "ligaturæ" are semibreves. The “musica ficta” suggestions are in the MIDI and MusicXML files.

CPDL refers to this piece as "Anonymous - TTB - Sacred, Hymn" - and offers a midi of it.  Clearly, the text was picked up and used in a later composition.
Annue Christe sæculorum Domine,
Nobis per hujus tibi cari(a) merita,
Ut qui te coram graviter deliquimus
Hujus solvamur gloriosis precibus.

Salva Redemptor plasma tuum nobile,
Signatum sancto vultus tui lumine;
Nec lacerari sinas fraude dæmonum
Propter quos mortis exsolvisti pretium.

Noli captivos esse tuos servulos,
Absolve reos, compeditos erige,
Et quos cruore redemisti proprio
Rex bone tecum fac gaudere perpetim.

Sit tibi Jesu benedicte Domine
Gloria, virtus, honor, et imperium,
Una cum Patre, sanctoque Paraclito
Cum quibus regnas Deus ante sæcula.

Here's something from Cyberhymnal's entry on Annue, Christe, including an English translation of the four main verses:
"Words: Un­known au­thor, be­fore the 11th Cen­tu­ry (An­nue Chris­te sae­cu­lor­um Do­mi­ne); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Thom­as A. La­cey in The Eng­lish Hymn­al (Lon­don: Ox­ford Un­i­ver­si­ty Press, 1906), num­ber 174."

Lord of creation, bow Thine ear, O Christ, to hear
The intercession of Thy servant true and dear,
That we unworthy, who have trespassed in Thy sight,
May live before Thee where he dwells in glorious light.

O God our Savior, look on Thine inheritance,
Sealed by the favor shining from Thy countenance;
That no false spirit bring to naught the souls of price
Bought by the merit of Thy perfect sacrifice.

We bear the burden of our guilt and enmity,
Until Thy pardon lift the heart from slavery;
Then through the spending of Thy life blood, King of grace,
Grant us unending triumph in Thy holy place.

To Thee the glorious Christ, our Savior manifest,
All wreaths victorious, praise and worship be addressed,
Whom with the living Father humbly we adore,
And the life giving Spirit, God forevermore.
This from
Annue Christe saeculorum Domine. [Common of Apostles.] This hymn is of unknown authorship, its full form consists of four general stanzas, and nine stanzas proper of saints.

Translations in common use:—
1. 0 Christ, Thou Lord of worlds, Thine ear. By J. M. Neale. Published in the enlarged edition of the Hymnal Noted, 1854, No. 75, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines, from whence it has passed into a few collections. In the St. Raphael's Collection, 1860, special stanzas were introduced after the Sarum manner (these added stanzas are all original) for SS. Andrew, Thomas, John and James, Matthias, Peter, Bartholomew, Matthew, and Simon and Jude, and some of these were repeated in Skinner's Daily Service Hymnal, 1864, with additional verses for St. Barnabas and for SS. Philip and James, the latter altered from Bp. Wordsworth's hymn on that festival in his Holy Year, "Blest be, 0 Lord, the grace of Love." It is altered in the Hymnary, 1872, to "0 Christ, Thou Lord of all."

-- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

 And here's the chant score used at the Community of St. John Baptist (Anglican); it's melody #46 but with a different set of words:

I couldn't find an audio of hymn tune 47 anywhere, though.

Exultet celum laudibus is the hymn prescribed throughout the year for Lauds and 2nd Evensong for Feasts of Apostles & Evangelists - but this tune is only used during Christmastide (which means it's only used on the Feast of St. John Evangelist, since that's the only A&E feast day in Christmastide!).

This is the same tune used for A solis ortus cardine, sung at Lauds & 2nd Evensong on Christmas DayHere's LLPB's mp3 of that song; just sing the English words  below (from Oremus - "Words: Latin, tenth century; trans. Richard Mant, as alt. in The English Hymnal, 1906") instead of the words on the audio file and you're in business.
Let the round world with songs rejoice;
let heaven return the joyful voice;
all mindful of the Apostles' fame,
let heaven and earth their praise proclaim.

Ye servants who once bore the light
of Gospel truth o'er heathen night,
still may your work that light impart,
to glad our eyes and cheer our heart.

O God, by whom to them was given
the key that shuts and opens heaven,
our chains unbind, our loss repair,
and grant us grace to enter there;

for at thy will they preached the word
which cured disease, which health conferred:
O may that healing power once more
our souls to grace and health restore:

that when thy Son again shall come,
and speak the world's unerring doom,
he may with them pronounce us blessed,
and place us in thy endless rest.

To thee, O Father; Son, to thee;
to thee, blessed Spirit, glory be!
So was it ay for ages past,
so shall through endless ages last.
"The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive" - a site I like more and more each time I see it - provides this set of Latin words:
Exultet celum laudibus
Resultet terra gaudiis
Apostolorum gloriam
Sacra canant solemnia

Vos secli iusti iudices
Et vera mundi lumina
Votis precamur, cordium
Audite preces supplicum

Qui celum verbo clauditis
Serrasque eius solvitis
Nos a peccatis omnibus
Solvite iussu, quesumus

Quorum precepto subditur
Salus et languor omnium
Sanate egros moribus
Nos reddentes virtutibus

Ut cum iudex advenerit
Christus in fine seculi
Nos sempiterni gaudii
Faciat esse compotes

Deo Patri sit gloria
Eiusque soli Filio
Cum Spirito paraclito
Et nunc et in perpetuum.
There's a slightly different set of words on page 153 of Britt's Hymns of the Breviary and Missal.

Thie below video of Exultet celum laudibus is for St. Peter & St. Paul; the musical style is not to my taste, although the hymn itself is beautiful.  The words are slightly different here and there, but it's clearly a version of this hymn; the music comes from this CD from Jordi Savilli.

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

I've always really liked this image of St. John; "Lawrence OP"'s Flickr site says it's "From the east window, designed by Burne Jones and made by Morris & Co. of the pre-Raphaelite school, installed in the then-Unitarian chapel of Manchester College, Oxford.

This one, by Paolo Veronese, isn't bad, either!

The ceiling painting in the sacristy of San Sebastiano, the Coronation of the Virgin, is framed by pictures of the four evangelists sitting, kneeling or reclining, accompanied by their symbols (eagle, ox, lion and angel), and, in their over life-size dimensions, they seem to burst out of the pictorial fields. In the four pictures, the open book is a reference to the subject as writer of the gospel of the same name.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26: The Feast of St. Stephen

I've missed a few items in my tour of the Sarum Office Hymns, I noticed recently!  Each feast in the week after Christmas has its own entry in the "Proper of the Season" section of Hymn Melodies for the Whole Year from the Sarum Service-Books.

Let's start with the entry for the December 26 Feast of St. Stephen:
On the Feast of S. Stephen & on the Оctave Day :
MattinsMartyr Dei, qui unicum ... ... ... 26
Lauds & Evensong:   Sancte Dei preciose ... ... ... 45

Follow along with the Office for today - including antiphons, hymns, Psalms, Chapter, etc., although no music is provided - at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).   I'll link-in via iFrame to the SSM book at the bottom of the post too.

Below is the score for Hymn 26, listed here as the tune for the Matins hymn, Martyr Dei, qui unicum; it's the same tune used at the Christmas Office for the Matins hymn, Christe, Redemptor omnium.  Martyr Dei, qui unicum is the hymn for the Common of Martyrs; throughout the rest of the year, it's sung to tune 25, but during Christmastide tune 26 is used. 

Here's the LLPB mp3 that matches this tune (the words, though, are those for Christe, Redemptor omnium).

The Latin words for Martyr Dei, qui unicum are these:
Martyr Dei, qui (quæ) unicum
Patris sequendo Filium,
victis triumphas hostibus,
victor (victrix) fruens cælestibus.

Tui precatus munere
nostrum reatum dilue,
arcens mali contagium,
vitæ repellens tædium.

Soluta sunt iam vincula
tui sacrati corporis;
nos solve vinclis sæculi,
amore Filii Dei.

Honor Patri cum Filio
et Spiritu Paraclito,
qui te corona perpeti
cingunt in aula gloriæ.

This note at Google Books' Liturgical Prayer says: "The hymn Martyr Dei, qui unicum seems to be a continuation of Deus tuorum militum" - that is, the hymn for Lauds and 2nd Evensong for the Common of Martyrs.  Not unusual; many hymns are broken up in this way to serve several purposes.

Here's an English translation of this hymn, at Cyberhymnal, where it is called "Martyr of God, whose strength was steeled." Cyberhymnal notes that the hymn is by an: "Unknown au­thor, 10th Cen­tu­ry (Mar­tyr Dei qui un­i­cum); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Per­cy Dear­mer in The Eng­lish Hymn­al (Lon­don: Ox­ford Un­i­ver­si­ty Press, 1906), num­ber 180."
Martyr of God, whose strength was steeled
To follow close God’s only Son,
Well didst thou brave thy battlefield,
And well thy heavenly bliss was won!

Now join thy prayers with ours, who pray
That God may pardon us and bless;
For prayer keeps evil’s plague away,
And draws from life its weariness.

Long, long ago, were loosed the chains
That held thy body once in thrall;
For us how many a bond remains!
O Love of God release us all.

All praise to God the Father be,
All praise to Thee, eternal Son;
All praise, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
While never ending ages run.

Here's the hymn tune used for Sancte Dei preciose:

Oremus hymnal online offers this this midi of the plainsongThis was a hymn, as far as I can tell, written in honor of the "protomartyr Stephen" specifically.  It's called "Saint of God, Elect and Precious" at Cyberhymnal (where it's described as from an "Un­known au­thor, 11th Cen­tu­ry"); J.M. Neale translated it this way:
Saint of God, elect and precious,
Protomartyr Stephen, bright
With thy love of amplest measure,
Shining round thee like a light;
Who to God commendest, dying,
Them that did thee all despite.

Glitters now the crown above thee,
Figured in thy honored name:
O that we, who truly love thee,
May have portion in the same;
In the dreadful day of judgment
Fearing neither sin nor shame.

Laud to God, and might, and honor,
Who with flowers of rosy dye
Crowned thy forehead, and hath placed thee
In the starry throne on high:
He direct us, He protect us,
From death’s sting eternally.

Here's an image from a page at "Hymns and Carols of Christmas"; it's this hymn, in a book called Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887).  The Latin and English words are both included:

Here's the Latin:
Sancte Dei, pretiose,
Protomartyr Stephane,
Qui virtute caritatis
Circumfulsus undique,
Dominum pro inimico
Exorasti populo:

Et coronæ quâ nitescis
Almus sacri nominis,
Nos, qui tibi famulamur,
Fac consortes sieri:
Et expertes dirae mortis
In die Judicii.
Gloria et honor Deo
Qui te flore roseo
Coronavit et locavit
In throno sidereo:
Salvet reos, solvens eos
A mortis aculeo. Amen.

Cantus Database points to two manuscript pages in reference to Sancte Dei preciose (although I'm not sure it's pointing to an office hymn);  the first below is from a "Fourteenth-century antiphoner in two volumes (29 and 30) from the Abbey of Sankt Lambrecht (Steiermark, Austria)."  The second comes from a "Twelfth-century antiphoner from Klosterneuburg, Austria."  I can't find this particular text in either one, actually! Stephan is certainly the subject, though - and the two leaves seem to contain much of the same text.

It's interesting to me that  for each of the Feast Days in Christmas week the office hymns are sung twice:  once on the day itself, and then again eight days later.  That's kind of an unusual thing to do - at least I haven't seen it anywhere else in Hymn Melodies - and creates an interesting doubling effect in time (almost the way Psalms are often in doublets!).

The musical piece in the video below is based on this text, too - at least, the first verse is the same; it's labeled "Sancte Dei preciose V. Ut tuo propitiates" - but it's definitely not this office hymn, and there's no information about what's going on at the YouTube page.  It seems that John Sheppard wrote a mass for St. Stephen's Day called "Be Not Afraid," and it includes a "Sancte Dei preciose" (clip here) - but this is not that music, as far as I can tell.

I haven't found out anything about it, in fact.  (There's a bit of a problem in that Sancte Dei preciose is also spelled Sancte Dei pretiose, and it's taking twice as long to get any information about it!)  I suspect it may be one of those anonymously-composed early polyphony pieces.

It's just stunningly beautiful, in any case, and beautifully and expertly sung; don't miss it.  When I find out what it is, I'll come back and post it (or, if anybody out there knows....?).

Here's a little bit about Stephen from Wikipedia:
Saint Stephen (Koine Greek: Στέφανος, Stephanos; sometimes spelled "Stephan"), the protomartyr of Christianity, is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Anglican[2],Lutheran,[3] Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Stephen's name is derived from the Greek languageStephanos, meaning "crown". Traditionally, Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs' palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young, beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer. Rembrandt depicted his martyrdom in his work The Stoning of Saint Stephen.


Saint Stephen preaching.
History approximates Stephen's story around A.D. 34-35, shortly after Jesus' crucifixion[citation needed]. According to Chapter 6 ofThe Acts of the Apostles, Stephen was among seven men of the early church at Jerusalem appointed to serve as deacon. However, after a dispute with the members of a synagogue of "Roman Freedmen," he is denounced for blasphemy against God and Moses (Acts 6:11) and speaking against the Templeand the Law. Stephen is tried before the Sanhedrin. His defense is presented as accusing the Jews of persecuting the prophetswho had spoken out against the sins of the nation:
"Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers." (7:52)
While on trial, he experienced a theophany in which he saw both God the Father and God the Son:
"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." (Acts 7:56) This vision of Christ standing differs from other Scripture which indicates Jesus sits at the right hand of God - perhaps implying that Christ stood in honor of Stephen whose martyrdom was near.
He is condemned and stoned to death by an infuriated mob, which is encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, later to be known as Saint Paul the Apostle. After his own conversion to Christianity, Paul makes reference to witnessing Stephen's martyrdom in his writings.[4]

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

Here's Rembrandt's The Stoning of St. Stephen - painted when the artist was 19 years old; Wikipedia says it's his "first painting," but I find that kind of hard to believe.  Maybe his first commissioned painting?   (It doesn't look like Rembrandt to me, either.....)

But this is wonderful: Domenico Ghirlandaio's St Stephen, painted c. 1490.


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