Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Marian Antiphons: Regina Caeli

The four Marian Antiphons have traditionally been sung at the end of Compline - each one during a particular season of the Church Year.  Regina Caeli is sung from Easter Eve until Pentecost. 

Here's the antiphon sung to the Simple Tone by the Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo de Silos. Chant score from the Liber Usualis (1961), p.278.    (English translation below.)

Here's the chant score of the Simple Tone version, from the Liber Usualis:

Here it is sung to the Solemn Tone, by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint Maurice et Saint Maur de Clervaux. (Chant score from the Liber Usualis (1961), p. 275.)

Here's the chant score of the Solemn Tone version, from the Liber Usualis:

This is from "Singing the Four Seasonal Marian Anthems," by Lucy Carroll, published in Adoremus; it includes an English translation of the antiphon:
Regina Caeli

Regina Caeli is perhaps the second-most familiar of the four texts, having been set to music by so many composers over the centuries, and frequently heard at Easter Vigil Mass. It is sung from Easter Vigil through Pentecost Sunday.

The text first appeared about the year 1200, and is often credited to Pope Gregory V (+998); the chant melody probably dates from the 14th century.
Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia; quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia; resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia; ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

(A note on the Latin: caeli is sometimes spelled coeli. The oe vowel format was integrated into Latin from the Greek, and the more accepted spelling today of this word for heaven is the fully Latinized ae version.)

This translation is by the Reverend Adrian Fortescue, 1913:
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia; for He whom thou was chosen to bear, alleluia; has risen as He said, alleluia; pray for us to God, alleluia.

It is certainly indicative of the Easter season, this hymn, filled with alleluias after a Lent where no alleluia is sung.

Another form of this text is in Regina Caeli Jubilo, dating from the 17th century. Its English form survives in the hymn “Be Joyful Mary” (melody by Johann Leisentritt (1527-1586).

Here are links to posts about all four antiphons on Chantblog:

Here's a terrific Regina Caeli by Czech composer P. J. Vejvanovský (~1633-1693), in that Grands Motets style I like so much:

This comes from Wikipedia:
The Regina Cæli or Regina Cœli ("Queen of Heaven", pronounced [reˈdʒiːna ˈtʃɛːli] in ecclesiastical Latin), is an ancient Latin Marian Hymn of the Christian Church.
It is one of the four seasonal Marian antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary, prescribed to be sung or recited in the Liturgy of the Hours at the conclusion of the last of the hours to be prayed in common that day, typically night prayer (Compline or Vespers). The Regina Caeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through Pentecost Sunday.
And this is from TPL:
The author of Regina Caeli is unknown, but by virtue of its presence (or absence) in manuscripts, it had to have been composed sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries. One possible author in that time period is Pope Gregory V (+998). Its original use appears to have been in Rome where it was used as an Antiphon for Vespers at Easter. Today the Regina Caeli is used as hymn of joy during the Easter Season (Easter Sunday until Trinity Sunday) when it is used in place of the Angelus and prescribed to be recited at Compline. (see Angelus).

Perhaps the most interesting legend surrounding the prayer has it being composed, in part, by St. Gregory the Great. The legend has it that in the year 596, during Easter time, a pestilence was ravaging Rome. St. Gregory the Great requested a procession be held to pray that the pestilence be stopped. On the appointed day of the procession he assembled with his clergy at dawn at the church of Ara Coeli. Holding in his hand the icon of our Lady that was said to have been painted by St. Luke, he and his clergy started out in procession to St. Peter's. As he passed the Castle of Hadrian, as it was called in those days, voices were heard from above singing the Regina Caeli. The astonished Pope, enraptured with the angelic singing, replied in a loud voice: "Ora pro nobis Deum. Alleluia!" At that moment an angel appeared in a glorious light, sheathed the sword of pestilence in its scabbard, and from that day the pestilence ceased. In honor of this miraculous event, the name of the castle was then changed to Sant' Angelo and the words of the angelic hymn were inscribed upon the roof of the Church of Ara Coeli.

The traditional concluding versicle and collect, which are not part of the original antiphon, are also given below.
REGINA, caeli, laetare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
O QUEEN of heaven rejoice! alleluia:
For He whom thou didst merit to bear, alleluia,
Hath arisen as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia,
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut, per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray
O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; grant, we beseech Thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Roman Breviary.

Here's Filippo Lippi's Madonna of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi:

This is from the Wikipedia link above:
The Madonna of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Filippo Lippi. It is housed in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi ofFlorence, central Italy.


Rear view.
The painting was found by art historian Giuseppe Poggi in 1907 in the psychiatric hospital of San Salvi in Florence. There are several theories about the provenance of the panel: Poggi assigned it to the Villa of Castelpulci, owned by the Riccardi family, who bought Palazzo Medici in 1655. According to another, the Madonna was instead part of the original decoration of the palace.
After having been acquired by the Italian state, it was moved to Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, where now is displayed in the Hall of the Triumphs and Arts in the first floor, near the gallery of Luca Giordano. It has been restored in 2001 by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.


The model of the painting had been used by Lippi since as early as 1436: it portrays the Madonna's half-bust in a niche with a shell-shaped dome, holding the Child; in this case, he stands on a marble parapet. The style is however typical of his late career, not far from the frescoes in the Cathedral of Spoleto, and is thus generally considered on the of the artists' last panels.
The rear of the panel has a drawing with St. Jerome's head.

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