Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6)

I'm continuing the completion of my Office Hymn listings.  Here are the hymns for Transfiguration listed at Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books
On the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord (Aug. 6) :
1st Evensong:   Celestis formara glorie ... ... ... 26, 41 or 42
Mattins:  O Sator rerum ... ... ... ... 44 or 56
Lauds:   O nata Lux de Lumine ... ... ... 41 or 63

(You can get the full office for the Feast of the Transfiguration - Psalms, collect, Chapter, antiphons, etc., although no music is provided - at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston).  See iframe peek-in at the bottom of this post.)

The Hymner has English words to all three of the hymns for today.  Here is their version of the hymn for First Vespers of the Transfiguration, Celestis formara glorie:
Celestis formam glorie

A Type of those bright rays on high,
For which the Church hopes longingly,
Christ on the holy mountain shows,
Where brighter than the sun he glows.

Tale for all ages to declare;
For with the three disciples there,
Where Moses and Elias meet,
The Lord holds converse high and sweet.

The chosen witnesses stand nigh,
Of Grace, the Law, and Prophecy:
And from the cloud the Holy One
Bears record to the Only Son.

With face more bright than noon-tide ray,
Christ deigns to manifest to-day
What glory shall be theirs above,
Who joy in God with perfect love.

And faithful hearts are raised on high
By this great vision's mystery;
For which in yearly course we raise
The voice of prayer, the hymn of praise.

Thou Father,—thou, eternal Son,
Thou, holy Spirit, Three in One,
To this same glory bring us nigh,
That we may see thee eye to eye. Amen.

Sing Celestis formara glorie to any of these melodies:

LLPB provides a recording of Hymn tune #26;  the cantor is singing the Christmas Evensong hymn "Jesus, the Father's Only Son."  

Here's tune #41, on this mp3 from LLPB; the words are those from the Lauds Assumption hymn Tu, Christe, nostrum gaudium. 

I do not have a recording of melody #42.

Here's the English version of  O Sator rerum from The Hymner:
O Sator rerum

Author of all things, Christ, the world's Redeemer,
Monarch of Monarchs, judgement's dread Awarder,
Now to our praises, as to our petitions,
Graciously hearken.

While the night fleeteth, we our votive anthems
Frame to thine honour ; grant that they may please thee;
And as we hymn thee, Source of Light eternal,
Ever refresh us.

Sunlike thy visage shone with rays of splendour,
Brightly thy raiment gleam'd with snowy whiteness,
When mid the Prophets, Moses and Elias,
Thou wast transfigured.

Then did the Father own thee Sole-begotten;
Thou art the glory of the holy Angels;
Thee, the Way, Virtue, Life, the world's Salvation,
Ever confess we.

Glory and power be to thee, Creator,
Who alone all things rulest and controllest,
Throned in thy kingdom, Monarch everlasting,
Trinal and Onely. Amen.

At Mattins, sing O Sator rerum to either of these 11-11-11-5 meter melodies:

Melody #44 is the one used this mp3 of the hymn O Pater sancte, sung at the Lauds Trinity Office (again the audio file is courtesy of the LLPB).  This tune, and #56 following, uses the 11-11-11-5 meter, the "Sapphic and Adonic" meter.

Melody #56 is the same one used for Iste Confessor, a hymn sung on the feast days of Confessors; the tune is the one on this mp3, from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood.

And here is the very lovely Lauds hymn, O nata Lux de Lumine:
O nata Lux de Lumine

O Light, which from the Light hast birth,
Jesu, Redeemer of the earth,
Thy suppliant flock vouchsafe to spare,
Nor spurn their gift of praise and prayer.

Thou who, for lost transgressors' sake,
Didst not disdain our flesh to take,
O grant that living members we
Of that thy Body blest may be.

Beyond the sun thine aspect bright;
Thy raiment as the snowdrift white:
To chosen witnesses made known,
Thy Godhead on the mount was shown.

Seers, from their children's eyes conceal'd,
To thy disciples stood reveal'd;
On each thou didst thy power bestow
Thee as eternal God to know.

The Father, from his heav'nly throne,
Proclaim'd thee his Anointed Son,
And we with faithful hearts no less,
Thee, King of glory, aye confess.

May we Thy splendour day by day
In innocence of life display;
And thus to joys beyond the skies
In holy converse heav'nward rise.

Eternal God, of kings the King,
To thee our hymns of praise we bring
Who, Threefold Deity, alone
Dost reign to endless ages One. Amen.

Sing O nata Lux to either of these melodies:

Here again is tune #41, on this mp3 from LLPB; the words are those from the Lauds Assumption hymn Tu, Christe, nostrum gaudium.

Melody #63 is the same one sung by the LLPB cantor on this mp3 of the Assumption Matins hymn "The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky" (in Latin, Quem terra, pontus, ethera).

Here are a couple of scans of Transfiguration hymsn from the Office of Book of The Community of St. John Baptist.   The Lauds hymn is O nata Lux de Lumine here, too; and for Vespers it's another translation of Celestis formara glorie.

Here's the entire Lauds service from the same source, including the Antiphon on the Benedictus:

The beautiful Quicumque Christum Quaeritis is the the Transfiguration hymn for Vespers and Matins in the Roman Breviary.   It consists of vv. 1-4, 37-40, 41-44, and 85-88 of Aurelius Prudentius' Hymnus Epiphaniae found here, along with a dozen or so others of his hymns, originally compiled and translated by Martin Pope (with thanks to Project Gutenberg).  Prudentius was a Roman Christian and poet born in the year 348.


Here are the words to Quicumque Christum Quaeritis, in Latin and English:
Quicumque Christum quæritis,
oculos in altum tollite:
illic licebit visere
signum perennis gloriæ.

Inlustre quiddam cernimus,
quod nesciat finem pati,
sublime, celsum, interminum,
antiquius caelo et chao.

Hic ille rex est gentium
populique rex Iudaici,
promissus Abrahae patri
eiusque in aevum semini.

Hunc et prophetis testibus
isdemque signatoribus,
testator et sator iubet
adire regnum et cernere:

Gloria Tibi, Domine
Qui natus es de virgine
Cum Patre et Samcto Spiritu,
in sempiterna sæcula.

Lift up your eyes, whoe'er ye be
That fare the new-born Christ to see:
For yonder is the shining sign
Of grace perennial and divine.

Sure 'tis the sign most reverend
Of Being that doth know no end:
Of One in state sublime arrayed
Ere sky and chaos yet were made.

This is the King of Israel,
Of all in Gentile lands that dwell:
The King to Abram and his seed
Throughout all ages erst decreed.

The prophets witnessed to the bond
Which sealed to Him the realm profound:
The Father's Kingdom He received
And the vast legacy perceived.

All glory be to you O Lord,
Son of the Virgin, the blessed Word,
With Father and Blest Spirit One
Until the ages’ course is done.

Read more here about Quicumque Christum quaeritis.

I adore the Feast of the Transfiguration, and have written many posts about it here.  You can also read much more about Transfiguration at the wonderful website Full Homely Divinity.

And here is the entire New Advent entry for today's feast, from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia:
Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

Observed on August 6 to commemorate the manifestation of the Divine glory recorded by St. Matthew (Chapter 17).


The Armenian bishop Gregory Arsharuni (about 690) ascribes the origin of this feast to St. Gregory the Illuminator (d. 337?), who, he says, substituted it for a pagan feast of Aphrodite called Vartavarh (roseflame), retaining the old appellation of the feast, because Christ opened His glory like a rose on Mount Thabor. It is not found however in the two ancient Armenian calendars printed by Conybeare (Armenian Ritual, 527 sq.). It probably originated, in the fourth or fifth century, in place of some pagan nature-feast, somewhere in the highlands of Asia.


The Armenians at present keep it for three days as one of the five great feasts of the year (seventh Sunday after Pentecost); it is preceded by a fast of six days. Also in the Syriac Church it is a feast of the first class. In the Greek Church it has a vigil and an octave. The Latin Church was slow in adopting this feast; it is not mentioned before 850 (Martyrology of Wandelbert, Gavanti, "Thesaurus Liturg.", II, August); it was adopted in the liturgy about the tenth century in many dioceses, and was celebrated mostly on 6 August; in Gaul andEngland, 27 July; at Meissen, 17 March; at Halberstadt, 3 September, etc. In 1456 Callixtus III extended the feast to the UniversalChurch in memory of the victory gained by Hunyady at Belgrade over the Turks, 6 August, 1456. Callixtus himself composed the Office. It is the titular feast of the Lateran Basilica at Rome; as such it was raised to a double second class for the Universal Church, 1 Nov., 1911.


On this day the pope at Mass uses new wine or presses a bunch of ripe grapes into the chalice; raisins are also blessed at Rome.  The Greeks and Russians bless grapes and other fruit.

This apparently comes from one of Raphael's studies for the Transfiguration; he worked from around 1500-1525:

And here's Pietro Perugino's 1500 Transfiguration:

Here's an iframe window into the Breviary linked above, if you want to follow along with the day's offices:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sebastián de Vivanco: Magnificat Quarti toni

Here's a beautiful Magnificat; the chant verses are sung to Gregorian Tone 4.  Beginning sometime in the 15th Century, composers began writing this kind of chant/polyphony alternatim, in which all the odd verses are sung to either chant or polyphony - and then the even verses take the other style.   These were often based on the ordinary of the mass, but here, obviously, the text comes from the Vespers Canticle (part of the Ordinary of the Divine Office).

Sebastián de Vivanco was born in Avila, Spain, in 1551, and died in Salamanca in 1622. The performance is by the Orchestra of the Renaissance led by Richard Cheetham.  

Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.

Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est: et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies, timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in bracchio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles.

Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimissit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in saecula.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arms: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remebering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel.
As he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.
Glory be to the father, and to the son, and to the holy spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston)

This is a Google book I'm surprised I've never run across before.  Its full title is Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive:  Translated and Arranged from the Sarum Book and Supplemented from Gallican and Monastic Uses. Printed for the Society of S. Margaret, Boston, U.S. (Google eBook)

So, it's the St. Margaret Breviary, really - here's a link to the order's website - and apparently comes right from the Sarum Breviary (although with some differences, I'd imagine).  This edition is from 1885.

[EDIT:  Michael, in comments, notes that there's a separate book for Matins as well (which is oddly labeled "Catholic Church"!).  Also that the books are:
....*mostly* Sarum - at least in the Psalter and the Office of the Season. He does make use of some of the tridentine alterations, such as in the system of Mattins lessons. The Proper and Common of the Saints, however, is much more highly [neo?-]Gallican. He takes pains which later folks like G. H. Palmer do not to avoid any direct invocation of the saints. 
Thanks, Michael.]

The book's got a hyperlinked Table of Contents, and it seems to be complete, with the Psalter for the days of the week for all the offices, the Chapter for each office, the Collects, the Antiphons, and everything for all the Feast Days, both major and minor.  No music, though.

A good find!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Alleluia: Angelus domini

This comes, apparently, from the "Antiphonary tonary missal of St. Benigne" (also called "Antiphonarium Codex Montpellier" or "Tonary of Saint-Bénigne of Dijon"), H159.  I don't know who the singers here are, but it's certainly lovely.

Here's a screen cap of the page in the manuscript (link below) from which this music comes; it's found in the section Alleluia Tetrarda Plagalis.  (Tetrarda Plagalis means something like "Fourth Tone, Second Type"; there were apparently 8 different kinds of melodies - i.e., "tones" - but divided into four 4 groups of two.  This I believe came out of the Byzantine chant system called oktoechos.)

Although as far as I can tell it doesn't say in the manuscript - it's organized by tone, rather than feast - this is obviously for use on Easter or during Eastertide.  The texts come from Matthew 28 and John 18:

Angelus enim[autem] Domini descendit de coelo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et super eum sedit. 

Respondens autem angelus dixit mulieribus: Quem quaeritis? Illae autem dixerunt: Jesum Nazarenum.

An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and rolled back the stone, and sat on it. 

And he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

This manuscript is known as "Codex H. 159 de la Bibliothèque de l'École de médecine de Montpellier."  IMSPL has what it calls a Preface, Directories (monochrome); this looks to be an add-on analysis and Table-of-Contents to the manuscript itself, here as a 4.5MB PDF.  It also offers the Complete Codex (color scans), in a 20MB PDF; both of these are courtesy of the Boston Public Library, it says.   If I'm reading this correctly, I'm gathering that this was part of the Solesmes chant research project during the 19th Century; Dom Andre Mocquereau was editor of the Preface.  Clearly I need to look more closely at that project, and to learn more about it.

Quite amazing, actually, to be able to casually download these things from a thousand years ago and look them over at home.

Wikipedia has an extensive entry on the Antiphonary of St. Benigne, too; I'm gathering that this means H 159 is rather important among chant manuscripts.   Here are some quotes from that article:
The Antiphonary tonary missal of St. Benigne (also called Antiphonarium Codex Montpellier or Tonary of Saint-Bénigne of Dijon) was supposed to be written in the last years of the 10th century, when the Abbot William of Volpiano at St. Benignus of Dijon reformed the liturgy of several monasteries in Burgundy. The chant manuscript records mainly Western plainchant of the Roman-Frankish proper mass and part of the chant sung during the matins ("Gregorian chant"), but unlike the common form of the Gradual and of the Antiphonary, William organized his manuscript according to the chant genre (antiphons with psalmody, alleluia verses, graduals, offertories, and proses for the missal part), and theses sections were subdivided into eight parts according to the octoechos. This disposition followed the order of a tonary, but William of Volpiano wrote not only the incipits of the classified chant, he wrote the whole chant text with the music in central French neumes which were still written in campo aperto, and added a second alphabetic notation of his own invention for the melodic structure of the codified chant.


This particular type of a fully notated tonary only appeared in Burgundy and Normandy. It can be regarded as a characteristic document of a certain school founded by William of Volpiano, who was reforming abbot at St. Benignus of Dijon since 989. In 1001 he followed a request by Duke Richard II and became first abbot at the Abbey of Fécamp which was another reforming centre of monasticism in Normandy.

Here's a bit more about this manuscript itself:
The Tonary of Saint-Bénigne of Dijon is organized in a very rare form of a fully notated tonary, which serves like a fully notated music manuscript for mass (gradual) and office chant (antiphonary).[8]

The first division of the chant book is between the book's gradual (fol. 13r-155v) and an antiphonary fragment (fol. 156r-162v) which has the Matins for Palm Sunday, St. Blasius and St. Hylarius in the conventional liturgical order, but with tonal rubrics.[9] The last leaf was added from another book to use the blank versoside for additions on the last pages written by other hands, chant notated in adiastematic neumes but without alphabetic notation and even diastematic neumes with alphabetic notation (fol. 160r-163r).[10]

The gradual itself with proper mass chant is divided into six parts: The first are antiphons (introiti and communions) (fol. 13r-53r). The next three parts are chant genres which precedes lessons: alleluia verses for gospel readings (fol. 53v-69r), the benedictiones (hymnus trium puerorum) for prophetic readings (fol. 75r-76v), and the graduels for epistel readings (fol. 77r-98v). The last two parts are an offertorial (fol. 99r-151r) and a tractus collection (fol. 69r-74v; 151v-155v), dedicated to the genre which replace the alleluia verses during fasten time for all kinds of scriptural readings.[11]

The third level of division are the eight parts according to the oktoechos in the order of autentus protus, plagi proti, autentus deuterus etc. In the first part, every tonal section has all introits according to the liturgical year cycle and then all communions according to the liturgical order. The whole disposition is not new, but it is identical with tonaries from different regions of the Cluniac Monastic Association. The only difference is that every chant is not represented by an incipit, it is fully notated in neumes and in alphabetic notation as well, so that even cantors who do not know the chant can memorize it with this tonary together with its tonus.

And this seems to be a page taken from the manuscript.   Here's a description:
As an example might serve the Introitus "Repleatur os meum" used as a refrain for psalm 70 during the procession into the church, at the beginning of the morning mass on Saturday before Pentecost. The introit was written in the first part of the antiphons and is quite at the beginning of the deuterus section (written as heading on each page), hence an introit in the 3rd tone or "autentus deuterus":

Here's another image from the manuscript.  Fortunately there's no information at that page about it, so I'm attempting to decipher the writing to try to figure out where it came from; that's part of the fun, after all.  (The first section definitely starts out with Puer natus est - so we're almost certainly looking at something for around Christmastime; the second starts with Adorate deum; that's currently the incipit of the Introit for the third Sunday after the Epiphany.  Those are some initial tantalizing clues to work from!)

I'm noticing some other very interesting links at the IMSLP page.  I'll definitely be back with some stuff about those - particularly if I can find some audio or video recordings of some of the music!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hymns for the Feast of S. Anne, Mother of the B. V. Mary (July 26)

From Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum Service-books:
On the Feast of S. Anne, Mother of the B. V. Mary  (July 26):
Mattins:   In Anne puerperio ... ... ... ... 63
Lauds:   Felix Anna pre aliis ... ... ... ... 63
2nd Evensong:   Ave! mater Anna ... ... ... ... 64

Follow along with the full office here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885)You'll need to then turn to page 262 in that book, for antiphons, etc., for "Common Memorials of Saints:  Of a Matron."    I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the post too.

Here are the chant scores for #63 and #64 from Hymn Melodies:

These melodies are both used for other Marian feasts:  you'll hear one or both at Conception (January 8); Purification (Feb. 2); Assumption (August 15); and Nativity (September 8).  Tune #63 is also used for O Nata Lux on Transfiguration.

It's hard to find even the words for these St. Anne hymns, though - let alone the music. So I'll offer audio files of the melodies as used for other hymns.

Here's an mp3 of the cantor from LLPB singing melody #63 above; the hymn text is "The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky" (the English version of Quem terra, pontus, ethera posted at Oremus Hymnal).  That hymn is sung at Matins of Assumption.

Hymn melody #64, used for Ave! Mater Anna, is well-known as the tune for Ave Maris Stella, sung on the September 8 Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (as well as at other times; the video below has labeled it for Easter). 

Here's a (very faint) recording of the same hymn, sung by the Benedictines of Brazil.

It's a nice sort of doublet, having the same hymn tune used for both mother and daughter, and having the same opening structure.  Ave! Mater Anna calls naturally to mind Ave Maris Stella.  

I'm wondering if this was precisely done by design in Sarum - if the hymn was altered for just this reason, I mean - in part because Giovanni Vianini sings what I assume is more or less this same hymn as Gaude, Mater Anna.   He sings it to a different melody, though:

Here are the Latin words he's using (more or less); they come from Hymni inediti:  Liturgische Hymnen des Mittelalters aus Handschriften und Wiegendrucken (tr:  "Hymni Inediti: liturgical hymns of the Middle Ages from manuscripts and incunabula") at Google books:
Gaude, mater Anna,
gaude mater sancta,
cum sis Dei facta
genetrix avia.

Plaude tali natae
virgini Mariae;
eius genitore
Ioachim congaude

in hac nostra terra
primo benedicta,
quae fuit in Eva
quondam maledicta.

Ergo sume laudes
quas damus ovantes;
nos ab omni sorde
tua prece terge.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto
honor, tribus unus.

Loose English translation, with the help of Google Translate:

Rejoice, mother Anne,
Rejoice holy mother,
God made you
mother and grandmother.

Applaud such a daughter
Mary the Virgin;
Her father Joachim
Also rejoices

in this our country,
She is blessed first,
Which was in Eve
once cursed.

So receive our praise
which we exultant give;
save us from all stain
by your prayer.

Praise be to God the Father,
All praise to Christ and honor,
And to the Holy Spirit
honor, to the Three-in-One.

There are quite a few hymns for St. Anne at that Google book, but this is the only one that's included on the above Sarum list - and unfortunately at the moment I can't find the words, even in Latin, for either  In Anne puerperio or  Felix Anna pre aliis.  I believe the former translates as "While Anne in childbirth...." and the latter as "Happy Anna, before all others...."  I've looked for hymns that might be related to those ideas, but so far have come up with nothing.  Very obscure, these!

But, as always:  if I find anything, I'll certainly come back to post it.  There are some very nice lyrics to some of the hymns in the book; check them out.

Keep in mind, about St. St. Anne, that:
Saint Anne (also known as Ann or Anna, from Hebrew Hannah חַנָּה, meaning "favor" or "grace") of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ, according to Christian and Islamic tradition. Mary's mother is not named in the canonical gospels, nor in the Qur'an. Anne's name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Protoevangelium of James (written perhaps around 150) seems to be the earliest that mentions them.
And also:
The story bears a similarity to that of the birth of Samuel, whose mother Hannah had also been childless. Although Anne receives little attention in the Western church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to Anne in the Eastern church occur as early as the 6th century.  In the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, she is revered as Hanna. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Hanna, is ascribed the title Forbear of God, and both the Birth of Mary and the Dedication of Mary to the Temple are celebrated as two of the Twelve Great Feasts. The Dormition of Hanna is also a minor feast in the Eastern Church. In Protestant tradition it is held that Martin Luther chose to enter religious life as a Roman Catholic Augustinian monk after crying out to St. Anne.

Clearly, Mary had a mother and father - and perhaps they were named Anne and Joachim.   It's certainly OK with me that they're included in the calendar, even if they're not included in the Scriptures by name; as Jesus' Grandma and Grandpa, they remind us in a lovely incarnational way about grandparents everywhere.  I can't think of anything better, myself.

Current calendars, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, include Joachim for this day as well;  the 1979 BCP calls this the Feast of the Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  But the Sarum calendar, it seems, celebrated Anne by herself.

Here are the current readings and the collect for the day, from Satucket:
Psalm 132:11-19
Genesis 17:1-8

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 

Luke 1:26-33

Collect (contemporary language):

Almighty God, heavenly Father, we remember in thanksgiving this day the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and we pray that we all may be made one in the heavenly family of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.

Here's a peek-in to the SSM Breviary entry:

Meanwhile, here's Bach's Fugue in E-flat (BWV 552) - the "St. Anne fugue." This site says that:
Those of us in the English-speaking world have dubbed it “St. Anne” after a popular English hymn of Bach’s day (usually set with the text “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past”). “St. Anne” is the name of a church in the Soho section of London, where the hymn was written. It’s not known if Bach had actually heard this tune, or if the similarity to his opening fugue subject is purely coincidental.

There are some nice icons and other works of the mother of the Mother of God!   This one is a detail, labeled "Faras Saint Anne"; Wikipedia says it's now in the National Museum of Warsaw, but originally Coptic, from the 8th century, and tempera on plaster:

Here's a Greek one that Wikipedia labeles as "Angelos Akotanos - Saint Anne with the Virgin," from the 15th Century:

Here's a nice one, labeled "German, 15th century. Anne holds Mary and Christ."  It seems to be a plaster representation located in the Limburg Cathedral.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gaudeamus: For the Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia (July 11)

Gaudeamus has been and is used as the Introit for the Mass on many saints' days, beginning, apparently, with St. Agatha's.  It's now associated in the Proper of Saints with both All Saints' Day and the Feast of the Assumption.   Here's the chant score, with the words used for the latter feast:

Here are the words used for the Feast of St. Benedict, in Latin (including the Psalm verse), along with an English translation:
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino diem festum celebrantes
sub honore Benedicti abatis de cujus solemnitate gaudent
angeli et collaudant Filium Dei.

(Ps. 47:2)
Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis
In civitate Dei nostri in monte sancto ejus.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating the feast
in honor of Benedict, in whose happy solemnity
The angels rejoice and praise the Son of God.

(Ps. 47:2)
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God, on his holy mountain.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.)

More about Gaudeamus,  from the chapter "Josquin's Mass for All Saints and the Book of Revelation" in a book titled Symbolic scores: Studies in the music of the Renaissance:

It should be pointed out, however, that the Introit "Gaudeamus" - as ascertained already by Helmuth Ostoff - is also used for a large number of saints' days as well as for the feast of All Saints (November 1). The Introit sung in the Mass of Saint Agatha (February 5) is the oldest version. Its text is the same as that of Example 1, except that it has "Agathae martyres: de cujus passione" (Agatha martyr, at whose passion) instead of "Mariae virginis: de cujus assumptionae" (the Virgin Mary, for whose Assumption). From the eleventh century onwards, the antiphon appears in at least seven other Masses. In the Introit of All Saints the text passage quoted above reads "Sanctorum omnium de quorum solemnitate" (of all the Saints, at whose solemnity).

The YouTube page for the above video notes that the singers are the "Monastic Choir of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault."

And the following comes from the website of the Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma; they seem to be offering this recording.  Not surprising, since they are Benedictines and all the music here (including the above Introit, which comes from this CD) is dedicated to St. Benedict.  Note the different feast dates!
The pieces chosen for this florilegium come from the Masses and Offices sung for the three traditional feasts in honor of Saint Benedict: March 21, July 11 and Dec. 4.

No one should be surprised to hear an antiphon in praise of Saint Joseph at the end of this recording: for the monks of Fontgombault offer this disc to him whom they loved as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, before receiving and venerating him as their Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

1. Introit (July 11th): Gaudeamus The Life of Saint Benedict
2. Introit (December 4th): Vir Dei Benedictus
3. Antiphons (July 11th): Fuit vir - Beatus vir Benedictus - Glorious - Erat vir Domini Benedictus - Vir Domini Benedictus
4. Hymn (Matins, March 21st): Quidquid antiqui
5. Antiphons (feast of St. Scholastica): Egredere modo frater - Parcat tibi soror -Ecce te rogavi - Loquamur nunc - Cum Sanctus Benedictus
6. Communion (July 11th): Fidelis servus The Death of Saint Benedict
7. Sequence (July 11th): Læta dies
8. Antiphon of Magnificat (11th Vespers of March 21st): Hodie
9. Ant. of Magnificat (11th Vespers of March 21st): Sanctus Benedictus The Translation of the Relics of Saint Benedict
10. Ant. of Magnificat (1st Vespers of July 11th): Galliarum populis
11. Prolix responsory (1st Vespers of July 11th): Obviam
12. Antiphon of Benedictus (Lauds July 11th): Exsultaverunt
13. Hymn (Vespers July 11th): Claris Conjubila
14. Antiphon of Magnificat (11th Vespers of July 11th): Hodie The Glory of Saint Benedict
15. Gradual (July 11th): Domine præventisi
16. Hymn (Lauds July 11th): Inter æternas
17. Offertory (July 11th): Desiderium
18. Antiphon of Magnificat (1st Vespers of March 21st): Exsultet omnium Prayer to Saint Benedict
19. Alleluia (July 11th): Vir Dei Benedictus
20. Antiphon of Benedictus (Lauds March 21st): Sanctissime
21. Short Responsory (March 21st): Sancte Pater Benedicte
22. Prolix Responsory (1st Vespers of March 21st): Sanctissime
23. Antiphon of Magnificat (11th Vespers of December 4th): O Cælestis norma vitæ In Homage to Pope Benedict XVI 24. Antiphon (to Saint Joseph): O felicem virum -- Ps. Exaudiat

Several of the selections are available for listening at that page.   And here's a post for about Office hymns for this feast day.

(A florilegium is a compilation; literally, the word means "a gathering of flowers.")

Thursday, July 04, 2013

"The New Jerusalem"

"And I saw a New Heaven"

Edward Bainton's composition is sung here by the choir of King's College CambridgeThis passage from Revelation is one of the Daily Office readings for today, Independence Day in the United States.

And I saw a new Heaven and a new earth
For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away
and there was no more sea, And I John saw the holy city,
Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great? voice out of heaven, saying,
Behold the tabernacle of God is with men
and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people,
and God himself shall be with them and be their God
And God shall wipe away all tears? from their eyes
And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying
neither shall there be any more pain for the former things are passed away.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

O Sacrum Convivium VI: Tomás Luis de Victoria

O sacrum convivium is the Antiphon upon Magnificat at Second Vespers of Corpus Christi; it's a beautiful, mystical hymn in praise of the Blessed Sacrament.  St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote the text, which has been set by many composers.  The Gregorian melody is particularly lovely; listen to it in the 2nd video below. 

Here's a wonderful O Sacrum Convivium for 6 voices, by Tomás Luis de Victoria:

O sacrum convivium!
in quo Christus sumitur:
recolitur memoria passionis ejus:
mens impletur gratia:
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.

O sacred banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.

Here, the Belgian chant group Psallentes sings the splendid Gregorian antiphon - no less beautiful than any polyphonic setting!  They include this note: "The antiphon O sacrum convivium, from a sixteenth century Turnhout processionale (Flanders, ca. 1550)."

HT Luis Henriques.


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