Wednesday, September 04, 2013

On the Feast of the Nativity of the B.V. Mary (Sept. 8)

On the Feast of the Nativity of the B. V. Mary (Sept. 8) & during the 8ve (when the Service is of the Feast) :
1st Evensong: Ave! maris stella ... ... ... ... 64
MattinsQuem terra, pontus, ethera  ... ... ... ... 63
LaudsO gloriosa femina  ... ... ... ... 63
2nd EvensongLetabundus ... ... Sequence, p. (11)
     But within the 8ve & on the 8ve day :
:   Ave! maris stella
On the Sunday & 8ve day at both Evensongs ... 64
On the remaining days of the 8ve ... ... ... 65

Follow along with the Offices for this feast at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston) (published in 1885). You can get all the Psalms, the collect, Chapter, antiphons, etc., for each of the offices of the day at that link, although no music is provided; also check the iFrame look-in at the bottom of this post.

Here's the chant score for melody #63, used at Matins and Lauds for this feast:

Here's an mp3 from LLPB of melody #63 above; this is "The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky" (the English version of Quem terra, pontus, ethera posted at Oremus Hymnal), sung at numerous Marian feasts throughout the year. Here are the words listed there:
The God whom earth and sea and sky
adore and laud and magnify,
whose might they own, whose praise they swell,
in Mary's womb vouchsafed to dwell.

The Lord whom sun and moon obey,
whom all things serve from day to day,
was by the Holy Ghost conceived
of her who through his grace believed.

How blessed that Mother, in whose shrine
the world's Creator, Lord divine,
whose hand contains the earth and sky,
once deigned, as in his ark, to lie.

Blessed in the message Gabriel brought,
blessed by the work the Spirit wrought;
from whom the great Desire of earth
took human flesh and human birth.

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.


Words: attributed to Fortunatus, sixth century;
trans. John Mason Neale, 1854

Music: St. Ambrose, O Amor quam ecstaticus, Quem terra, pontus, aethera

You can sing O gloriosa femina (below the first line is O gloriosa domina) for Lauds to the same melody; here are the words, in Latin and English:
O gloriosa Domina
excelsa super sidera,
qui te creavit provide,
lactasti sacro ubere.

Quod Eva tristis abstulit,
tu reddis almo germine;
intrent ut astra flebiles,
Caeli fenestra facta es.

Tu regis alti janua
et porta lucis fulgida;
vitam datam per Virginem,
gentes redemptae, plaudite.

Gloria tibi, Domine,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
in sempiterna secula. Amen.

O Heaven's glorious mistress,
elevated above the stars,
thou feedest with thy sacred breast
him who created thee.

What miserable Eve lost
thy dear offspring to man restors,
the way to glory is open to the wretched
for thou has become the Gate of Heaven.

Thou art the door of the High King,
the gate of shining light.
Life is given through a Virgin:
Rejoice, ye redeemed nations.

Glory be to Thee, O Lord,
Born of a Virgin,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
world without end. Amen.

Here is the score for the beautiful melody #64, used for the splendid hymn Ave! Maris Stella on this day; below that is a video of the hymn sung by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey at Ganagobie.:

CPDL has the Latin and English words; English translation is by Allen H Simon:
Ave, maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper Virgo,
Felix caeli porta.

Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Evae nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
Profer lumen caecis,
Mala nostra pelle,
Bona cuncta posce

Monstra te esse matrem,
Sumat per te preces,
Qui pro nobis natus
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos,
Mites fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Jesum,
Semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus
Spiritui Sancto,
Tribus honor unus. Amen.


Hail, star of the sea,
loving Mother of God,
and also always a virgin,
Happy gate of heaven.

Receiving that Ave
from Gabriel's mouth
confirm us in peace,
Reversing Eva's name.

Break the chains of sinners,
Bring light to the blind,
Drive away our evils,
Ask for all good.

Show yourself to be a mother,
May he accept prayers through you,
he who, born for us,
Chose to be yours.

O unique virgin,
Meek above all,
Make us, absolved from sin,
Gentle and chaste.

Keep life pure,
Make the journey safe,
So that, seeing Jesus,
We may always rejoice together.

Let there be praise to God the Father,
Glory to Christ in the highest,
To the Holy Spirit,
One honor to all three. Amen.

CPDL also offers a brief write-up about the hymn:
Hymn to the Virgin Mary (8th cent., author anon.)
Liturgical use: Hymn at Vespers on feasts of the Virgin Mary.

Mary's title of stella maris was first proposed by St. Jerome, in his treatise Liber de nominibus hebraicis (probably around AD 390), in which he explains the etymology of Hebrew names. He quotes unidentified sources as explaining the name of Mary as smyrna maris, literally bitterness of the sea. The Hebrew word miriam indeed refers to bitterness - it is explained as such in the anonymous Jewish account The life of Moses. St. Jerome dismisses the 'bitter' etymology, however, and proposes to change her title to stella maris. In order to justify his proposal, he quotes Syrus, most likely his contemporary St. Ephraem Syrus, who had insisted on Mary's status as domina or mistress.

View Wikipedia article for Ave maris stella.

This is from that Wikipedia link:
Ave Maris Stella (Latin, "Hail Star of the Sea") is a plainsong Vespers hymn to Mary. It was especially popular in the Middle Ages and has been used by many composers as the basis of other compositions. The creation of the original hymn has been attributed to several people, including Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century), Saint Venantius Fortunatus (6th century)[1] and Hermannus Contractus (11th century).[2] The text is found in 9th-century manuscripts, kept in Vienna[3] and in the Abbey of Saint Gall.[1]

The melody is found in the Irish plainsong "Gabhaim Molta Bríde", a piece in praise of St. Bridget. The popular modern hymn Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star, is loosely based on this plainsong original.

It finds particular prominence in the "Way of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary" by Saint Louis de Montfort.

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

This is Guillame Dufay's gorgeous chant/polyphony alternatim arrangement of the hymn, using the same melody in the chant portions; wow!

Or, you can listen to 32 different versions of the hymn (!) in the below playlist:

I have not found music for melody #65 as of yet - this tune is also used for Ave! Maris Stella - but here's the score:

Lastly, again for Vespers on the Feast day itself, we have Letabundus, the Christmas Sequence Hymn, at Second Vespers, as it is also used on Candlemas and Assumption.  Here it's sung by the Gregorian Singers of the Cremona Church of Sant’Abbondio:

Here's the full score with English words, from Hymn Melodies:

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

New Advent has this information about this feast:
Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The earliest document commemorating this feast comes from the sixth century. St.Romanus, the great ecclesiastical lyrist of the Greek Church, composed for it a hymn (Card. Pitra, "Hymnogr. Graeca", Paris, 1876, 199) which is a poetical sketch of the apocryphal Gospel of St. James. St.Romanus was a native of Emesa in Syria, deacon of Berytus and later on at the Blachernae church in Constantinople, and composed his hymns between 536-556 (P. Maas in "Byzant. Zeitschrift", 1906). The feast may have originated somewhere in Syria or Palestine in the beginning of the sixth century, when after the Council of Ephesus, under the influence of the "Apocrypha", the cult of the Mother of God was greatly intensified, especially in Syria. St. Andrew of Crete in the beginning of the eight century preached several sermons on this feast (Lucius-Anrich, "Anfänge des Heiligenkultus", Tübingen, 1906, 468). Evidence is wanting to show why the eighth of September was chosen for its date. The Church of Rome adopted it in the seventh century from the East; it is found in the Gelasian (seventh cent.) and the Gregorian (eighth to ninth cent.) Sacramentaries. Sergius I (687-701) prescribed a litany and procession for this feast (P.L. cxxviii, 897 sqq.). Since the story of Mary's Nativity is known only from apocryphal sources, the Latin Church was slow in accepting this oriental festival. It does not appear in many calendars which contain the Assumption, e.g. the Gotho-Gallican, that of Luxeuil, the Toledan Calendar of the tenth century, and the Mozarabic Calendar. The church of Angers in France claims that St. Maurilius instituted this feast at Angers in consequence of a revelation about 430. On the night of 8 Sept., a man heard the angels singing in heaven, and on asking the reason, they told him they were rejoicing because the Virgin was born on that night (La fête angevine N.D. de France, IV, Paris, 1864, 188); but this tradition is not substantiated by historical proofs. The feast is found in the calendar of Sonnatius, Bishop of Reims, 614-31 (Kellner, Heortology, 21). Still it cannot be said to have been generally celebrated in the eighth and ninth centuries. St. Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres (d. 1028), speaks of it as of recent institution (P.L., cxli, 320, sqq.); the three sermons he wrote are the oldest genuine Latin sermons for this festival (Kellner, "Heortology", London, 1908, 230). The octave was instituted by Innocent IV (a. 1243) in accordance with a vow made by the cardinals in the conclave of the autumn of 1241, when they were kept prisoners by Frederick II for three months. In the Greek Church the apodosis (solution) of the feast takes place 12 Sept., on account of the feast and the solemnity of the Exaltation of the Cross, 13 and 14 Sept. The Copts in Egypt and the Abyssinians celebrate Mary's Nativity on 1 May, and continue the feast under the name of "Seed of Jacob" 33 days (Anal. Juris Pont., xxi, 403); they also commemorate it on the first of every month (priv. letter from P. Baeteman, C.M., Alikiena). The Catholic Copts have adopted the Greek feast, but keep it 10 Sept. (Nilles, "Kal. Man.", II, 696, 706).

Here's Giotto's "Birth of the Virgin" ; the artist lived in Florence from about 1267-1337.  This piece is part of the interior of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.

And this icon comes from Russia, and the 18th Century:

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