Friday, March 06, 2015

The Communion Song for the Third Sunday of Lent: Passer Invenit ("The sparrow has found her a home")

Here's one of the rare instances of a chant proper used twice during the liturgical year.  Passer Invenit is the Communion Song for the Third Sunday in Lent (when the Gospel reading is other than the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, as it is this year in Year B), and also for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time - which for Episcopalians is the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost (Proper 10).   I'm not sure who the singers are in this video:

It's sung in the video below by the schola of the Monastery of the Holy Cross, Benedictine monks in Chicago.  They also add some commentary about the chant, which is well worth listening to.

The passage is from the beautiful Psalm 84, Quam dilecta!, and the text for this chant consists of verses 2-3:
How dear to me is your dwelling, O LORD of hosts! *
My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; *
by the side of your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.

Happy are they who dwell in your house! *
they will always be praising you.

Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims' way.

Here's an mp3
, another lovely rendition from JoguesChant. Below is the score, from the same site:

This one caught my eye in particular because I recognized an ornithological reference! From Wikipedia:
A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, as songbirds, the passerines form one of the most diverse terrestrial vertebrate orders: with over 5,000 identified species,[1] it is roughly twice as diverse as the largest of the mammal orders, the Rodentia.

The names "passerines" and "Passeriformes" are derived from Passer domesticus, the scientific name of the type species – the House Sparrow – and ultimately from the Latin term passer for Passer sparrows and similar small birds.

Here's a lovely rendition from a women's chant group (again, not sure who they are):

These guys, apparently part of the Sacred Heart Choir in Kuala Lumpur, are singing the same tune for Lent 3, they say (and doing a really nice job of it, too):

I've actually written before about this chant, having found this entry at the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum site:
Here is the communion chant for this weekend, the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This chant, which mimics the sound of a turtle dove, is surely one of the most spectacular in the Gregorian repertoire.

And it's always so great to find a reference like that - and the monks in the video above discuss this, too. Here's the sole polyphonic piece I could find that's based on this text; it's actually the entire Psalm "Quam dilecta!", and a very lovely thing it is, too, written by one Michel-Richard Delalande (1657-1726).

I simply adore the lush richness of this Petits Motets style! If you look at the selections on the right side of the page at that YouTube link, you'll notice that this guy did quite a number of Psalms.

The image below is a "Grasshopper Sparrow on a nest. Source: Chester A. Reed, ''The Bird Book'', 1915."

Here are all the chant propers for the day, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:
Hebdomada tertia quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 24, 15.16 et 1-2 Oculi mei (3m02.3s - 2852 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 9, 20. V. 4 Exsurge... non prævaleat (3m46.7s - 3546 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 122, 1-3 Ad te levavi (1m45.2s - 1646 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 18, 9.11.12 Iustitiæ Domini (1m21.7s - 1278 kb) score
                 Quando legitur Evangelium de Samaritana:
                 Io. 4, 13.14 Qui biberit aquam (3m02.3s - 2852 kb)
                 Quando legitur aliud Evangelium:
                 Ps. 83, 4.5 Passer invenit (3m30.3s - 3288 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog for other propers of this day:


Julia Marks said...

At the beginning of the women's chant group video, there is a title card that reads:

Gruppo Vocale Armoniosoin Canto
Direttore: Franco Radicchia

(probably not a lettuce)

bls said...

Thanks, Julia - I missed it.


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