Friday, February 08, 2013

Tu es deus: The Gradual for Quinquagesima Sunday

This is the beautiful gradual used for the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday in the Extraordinary Form.

(In case anybody's interested, there's a note on the page that says "For information on obtaining compact discs of these beautiful chant recordings, created by the monks of Notre Dame de Triors, please visit: Traditions Monastiques.")
The text of this gradual comes from Psalm (76/)77, vv. 15 and 16: 
Tu es Deus qui facis mirabília solus: notam fecísti in géntibus virtútem tuam.

Vs. Liberásti in bráchio tuo pópulum tuum, fílios Israel et Joseph.

Thou art the God that alone doest wonders: Thou hast made Thy power known among the nations.

Vs. With Thine arm Thou hast delivered Thy people, the children of Israel and of Joseph.

Here's the full chant score, from the Brazilian Benedictines' site; it looks like this is now the gradual for the sixth Sunday after Ephiphany as well. 

Someday I'll go through all the chants for this first, short period of "Ordinary Time" (i.e., the weeks after Epiphany and before Lent) and see which chants have been moved from the "Gesima" Sundays to the "Ordinary Time" Sundays); at the moment it looks to me as if all the chants for Quinquagesima were moved to Epiphany 6, with one possible exception.

In any case, Psalm 77 is a fitting way to enter the season of Lent.  Here's the whole Psalm from the U.S. Book of Common Prayer Psalter:
Voce mea ad Dominum
1     I will cry aloud to God; *
    I will cry aloud, and he will hear me.
2     In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; *
    my hands were stretched out by night and did not tire;  I refused to be comforted.
3     I think of God, I am restless, *
    I ponder, and my spirit faints.
4     You will not let my eyelids close; *
    I am troubled and I cannot speak.
5     I consider the days of old; *
    I remember the years long past;
6     I commune with my heart in the night; *
    I ponder and search my mind.
7     Will the Lord cast me off for ever? *
    will he no more show his favor?
8     Has his loving-kindness come to an end for ever? *
    has his promise failed for evermore?
9     Has God forgotten to be gracious? *
    has he, in his anger, withheld his compassion?
10     And I said, "My grief is this: *
    the right hand of the Most High has lost its power."
11     I will remember the works of the LORD, *
    and call to mind your wonders of old time.
12     I will meditate on all your acts *
    and ponder your mighty deeds.
13     Your way, O God, is holy; *
    who is so great a god as our God?

14     You are the God who works wonders *
    and have declared your power among the peoples.
15     By your strength you have redeemed your people, *
    the children of Jacob and Joseph.
16     The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and trembled; *
    the very depths were shaken.
17     The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; *
    your arrows flashed to and fro;
18     The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; *
    the earth trembled and shook.
19     Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, *
    yet your footsteps were not seen.
20     You led your people like a flock *
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Here's a very different polyphonic take on the text of this gradual, composed by Šimon Brixi (1693 - 1735) for Voice and Chamber orchestra. In A minor, it's performed here by "Collegium Marianum/Hana Blažiková [soprano]." Quite beautiful also, I think.

Brixi was a Czech composer; here's a bit about him from Wikipedia:
He was born in Vlkava u Nymburka. In 1720 he began to study law in Prague. He did not complete his studies, devoting himself rather to music.[1] His artistic activity was linked with the musical life in Prague. In 1727 Brixi accepted the position of teacher and choirmaster at the St. Martin Church in the Old Town of Prague. The precise date of his death is unknown, but the registration of his funeral bears the date 2 November 1735.

His compositions were intended almost exclusively for a church choir. Only about 21 of his compositions have been preserved. He wrote offertoria, gradualia, Regina Coeli, Salve Reginas, requiems, litanies, Te Deums, and church cantatas. In some of his works Brixi also thematically elaborated folk spiritual music. He was also interested in Italian baroque music; some of his copies of Neapolitan church compositions are preserved in the church archive at Mělník. Brixi was also influenced by the church compositions of Jan Dismas Zelenka. He composed his works both on Czech and Latin texts.[2]

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...