Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Communion Song(s) for the Feast of the Ascension

There are three different Communion chants for the Feast of the Ascension - one for each year.  I'll post all of them here.

Year A's chant is Data est mihi ("All power is given to me"):

The text is this familiar one, from Matthew 28, containing the very last words of Matthew's Gospel:
18  [And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying:] All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Here's James MacMillan's Data est mihi, sung by the Westminster Choir conducted by Joe Miller; this piece comes from a collection called "The Strathclyde Motets."   This video was recorded "at the Choir's Homecoming Concert in Princeton, N.J. in January 2011":

The Communio for Year B is Signa autem eos ("These signs will accompany them"):

Signa autem eos, qui in me credunt, hæc sequéntur: dæmónia ejícient: super ægros manus impónent, et bene habébunt. from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

The text is taken from Mark 16:17-18, the last part of Mark's Gospel:
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
(There are only two more verses after this, these:
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

But of course, there's that footnote, too: "Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.")

Psallite Domino ("Sing to the Lord") is the Communion song for Year C; here it's sung by the Congregation of St. Lazarus Autun:

This text comes, while taking some liberties, from Psalm (67/)68:
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
    behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    and whose power is in the skies.

Here's a very nice polyphonic Psallite Domino:  this piece was composed by Sebastiaan Van Steenberge, performed by Koristen van Keizersberg (Director: Peter Maus), and recorded at Keizersberg Abbey in Leuven, Belgium in May 2008:

Here, from ChristusRex.org, are all the Mass Propers for Ascension, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:

In Ascensione Domini
Introitus: Act. 1, 11; Ps. 46 Viri Galilæi (2m48.4s - 2635 kb) score here
Alleluia: Ps. 46, 6 Ascendit Deus (1m50.2s - 1725 kb) score here
Alleluia: Ps. 67, 18.19 Dominus in Sina (2m33.9s - 2409 kb) score here
Offertorium: Ps. 46, 6 Ascendit Deus (1m33.8s - 1469 kb MONO due to problems with my recording setscore here
(anno A)Mt. 28, 18.19 Data est mihi (1m21.9s - 1283 kb) score here
(anno B)Mc. 16, 17.18 Signa (1m05.5s - 1027 kb)
(anno C)  Ps. 67, 33.34 Psallite Domino (59.0s - 925 kb MONO due to problems with my recording setscore here

You can read other posts about the day's propers on Chantblog as well:

Don't forget to read Full Homely Divinity's article on Ascension.

And here's a wonderful thing - a glorious piece I didn't know existed until just now!  It's Bach's Ascension Oratorio (AKA the Cantata for Ascension Day, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen - "Praise God in His Kingdoms"), first performed on May 19, 1735 in Leipzig.    Listen especially for Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben here - which ultimately became the Agnus Dei in the B Minor Mass: 

The German and English words are here (and also here).

This is the list of movements and musicians from the YouTube page:
Johann Sebastian Bach
Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11
(Cantata, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11)

Part I
1 Chorus. Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen
2 Evangelista. Der Herr Jesus hub seine Hände auf
3 Recitativo. Ach, Jesu, ist dein Abschied
4 Aria. Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben
5 Evangelista. Und ward aufgehoben zusehends
6 Chorale. Nun lieget alles unter dir

Part II
7 Evangelista. Und da sie ihm nachsahen
8 Recitativo. Ach ja! so komme bald zurück
9 Evangelista. Sie aber beteten ihn an
10 Aria. Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke
11 Chorale. Wenn soll es doch geschehen

Hannah Morrison, soprano
Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano
Nicholas Mulroy, tenor
Peter Harvey, bass

Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

This depiction of the Ascension comes from Folio 13v of the Rabula Gospels (Mesopotamia, 6th century AD):

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