Thursday, December 03, 2015

A Lauds antiphon for Advent: Ecce Dominus veniet ("Behold the Lord comes")

Ecce Dominus veniet ("Behold the Lord comes") is a Psalm antiphon at Lauds on the First Sunday of Advent.

 These are the words, from CPDL:
Ecce dominus veniet et omnes sancti ejus cum eo
et erit in die illa lux magna alleluia.

Behold, the Lord comes and all his saints with him
and on that day there will be great light, alleluia.

(The Psalm verses sung here come from Psalm 148:
1  Alleluja. Laudate Dominum de caelis; laudate eum in excelsis.
2  Laudate eum, omnes angeli ejus; laudate eum, omnes virtutes ejus.)

So here's a clear example of a text referring to the Second Coming, as was (and still is) the theme in late Pentecost (or Trinity) and early Advent.   The footnote at the Roman Breviary (1879) says that the text comes from Zechariah 14:5-6 - and that's this:
5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.

Intriguing to see that the text of the antiphon reverses the second verse of the citation!  I love it when that happens.  Although I should point out, too, that a footnote at verse six notes that "Compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain."  And that verse 7 goes on to say:
And there shall be a unique[b] day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.

So perhaps it doesn't actually count as a "reversal."  It's an odd text  in any case.

It's interesting to look at the other 4 Psalm antiphons for this day, too.  Here are all 5, which show up various arrangements of order in the manuscripts below:
1.  In illa die * stillabunt montes dulcedinem, et colles fluent lac et mel, alleluia.

2.  Iucundare * filia Sion, et exsulta satis filia Ierusalem, alleluia.

3.  Ecce Dominus veniet, * et omnes Sancti eius cum eo et erit in die illa lux magna, alleluia.

4.  Omnes sitientes * venite ad aquas quaerite Dominum, dum inveniri potest, alleluia.

5.  Ecce veniet * Propheta magnus, et ipse renovabit Ierusalem, alleluia.

1.  In that day * the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey. Alleluia.

2. Sing, O daughter of Zion, * and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. Alleluia.
3.  Behold, the LORD shall come, * and all His saints with Him ; and it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall be great. Alleluia.

4.  Ho, every one that thirsteth * come ye to the waters : seek ye the LORD while He may be found. Alleluia.

5.  Behold, a great Prophet * shall arise, and He shall build up a new Jerusalem. Alleluia.

These texts are all taken from the various Prophets of Advent:  Zechariah, Joel, Isaiah.  And they all do allude to both the First and Second Coming; that's one of the great things about Advent, to me:  it's not just one thing - and it's cosmic in a way that no other season really is.

At Cantus database, I've found some good, clear instances of Ecce Dominus veniet; it's quite easy to read and follow along with the scores.  You'll see that this melody is indeed the same as what's on the video, and is quite consistent between the manuscripts, too.   The antiphons all start with a highly decorated, larger capital letter, often in another color.

For instance, here's a page from a Fourteenth-century antiphoner from Klosterneuburg, Austria, used at the Augustiner-ChorherrenstiftEcce Dominus veniet is the 4th Lauds antiphon:

This one comes from the same monastery, but is 200 years earlier ("Twelfth-century antiphoner from Klosterneuburg, Austria").  Interesting to note the difference in musical notation styles!  This is the old style chant notation:

This one's from the Antiphonarium Benedictinum (1400), which comes from the Abbey of Sankt Lambrecht (Steiermark, Austria); here, Ecce Dominus veniet is the 3rd Lauds antiphon.

And this last one is from Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek / Codex 611(89) / f. 3r. ("14th-century antiphoner from the monastery of Einsiedeln, Switzerland.")  Ecce Dominus veniet was the 3rd Lauds antiphon at this monastery, too.

One of the interesting things, to me, about this text is that it shows up again, as the 2nd Responsory at Matins on Advent 2 - but includes another interesting bit of content:
R. Ecce Dominus veniet, et omnes Sancti ejus cum eo, et erit in die illa lux magna: et exibunt de Jerusalem sicut aqua munda: et regnabit Dominus in aeternum
* Super omnes gentes.
V. Ecce Dominus cum virtute veniet: et regnum in manu ejus, et potestas, et imperium.
R. Super omnes gentes.

R. Behold, the Lord shall come, and all His saints with Him, and it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall be great; and they shall go out from Jerusalem like clean water; and the Lord shall be King for ever,
* Over all the earth.
V. Behold, the Lord cometh with an host, and in His hand are the kingdom, and power, and dominion.
R. Over all the earth.

Recall that  Advent 2 is notable for its inclusion of references to Jerusalem, something I talked about last year.    Dom Dominic Johner points out, in his Chants of the Vatican Gradual, that:
[On Advent 2] the Introit, Gradual, and Communion speak of Sion, i.e., of Jerusalem.  The Alleluia-verse also alludes to this.  For at Rome the principal service was held in the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, close to the Lateran.  It was a royal palace; now it shelters a most venerable relic of the holy cross.  Our present Sion is the Catholic Church.  It is also our individual soul, and likewise the church building in which we look for the Redeemer today.  Here it is that we are being prepared for the heavenly Sion.

And so we have a preview of that emphasis on Sion at Matins by the addition of the extra text to the previous Sunday's Lauds antiphon, Ecce Dominus veniet
Behold, the Lord comes and all his saints with him
and on that day there will be great light, alleluia.

And shall go out from Jerusalem, like pure water.
And the Lord shall reign for ever over all the nations.

The reference to "pure water" is another bit of text from Zechariah 14 - this time, from verse 8:
On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.

(Revelation 22:1 picks up the theme later on, too:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb....)

I wish I had a sound file of this Responsory, but alas - I don't.  My plan going forward is to create files in MuseScore and post them, though; it'll be electronic music and without words, but at least we'll get the sense of how the chants sounded.

But Hieronymus Praetorius set this text, and I can post a video of that piece:

Here are all the mass propers for Advent 2, from and sung by the monks of St. Benedict's Monastery, Sao Paulo, Brazil:

Hebdomada secunda adventus
Introitus: Cf. Is. 30, 19.30; Ps. 79 Populus Sion (3m15.8s - 3061 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 40, 2.3. V. 5 Ex Sion (2m50.7s - 2675 kb) score
Alleluia: Ps. 121, 1 Lætatus sum (2m11.2s - 2057 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 84, 7.8 Deus, tu convertens (2m01.6s - 1901 kb) score
Communio: Bar. 5, 5; 4, 36 Ierusalem, surge cum Ps. 147, 12.13 (1m56.7s - 1825 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog for the Advent 2 Propers:

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