Monday, December 15, 2014

The Advent 3 Offertory: Benedixisti, Domine terram tuam ("Lord, thou hast blessed thy land")

An aptly celebratory Offertory for Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday in Advent:

The text comes from Psalm 85, vv. 1 and 2 (Psalm 84:2-3 in the Vulgate reckoning):

Psalm 84:2Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

Lord, thou hast blessed thy land: thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.
Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people: thou hast covered all their sins.

Here is a list of all the chant propers for Advent 3, sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines:

Hebdomada tertia adventus
Introitus: Phil. 4, 4.5; Ps. 84 Gaudete in Domino (cum Gloria Patri)(6m13.5s - 5839 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 79, 2.3. V. 2 Qui sedes, Domine (2m24.8s - 2265 kb) score
(anno B) Io. 1, 6. V. 7 et Lc. 1, 17 Fuit homo (2m09.3s - 1011 kb)
Alleluia: Ps. 79, 3 Excita, Domine (1m58.4s - 1853 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 84, 2 Benedixisti, Domine (1m18.4s - 1226 kb) score
Communio: Cf. Is. 35, 4 Dicite: Pusillanimes (56.9s - 891 kb) score

Here are other posts on Chantblog about the propers for this day:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Advent 2 Offertory: Deus, tu convertens ("God, wilt Thou not turn again?")

Here's a video of the Offertory for today; no word on who the singers are here:

Here's another version, sung by a member of "The Schola Cantorum, The Catholic Parish of St Canice, 28 Roslyn Street, Elizabeth Bay, Kings Cross, Sydney NSW, Australia":

The text is taken from Psalm (84/)85, vv. 6-7; it's a rather famous section from one of the Verse-Responses at Compline.  Here  it is, from the Coverdale Psalter:

6 Wilt thou not turn again, and quicken us, * that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7 Show us thy mercy, O LORD, * and grant us thy salvation.

And there's "Ostende nobis Domine" ("Show us thy mercy, O LORD") again, which we heard last week at the Alleluia.

Here's the full chant score:

There are some lovely readings in Year B for this day, among them Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13, 2 Peter 3:8-15a, and Mark 1:1-8:

Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the LORD's hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
"In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
A voice says, "Cry out!"
And I said, "What shall I cry?"
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
"Here is your God!"
See, the Lord GOD comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 Page 708, 709, BCP

Benedixisti, Domine

You have been gracious to your land, O LORD, *
you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of your people *
and blotted out all their sins.
I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, *
for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to him.
Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, *
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth have met together; *
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring up from the earth, *
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, *
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him, *
and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

2 Peter 3:8-15a

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
`Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,'"
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

For comparison, the Historic Lectionary used these texts - also beautiful, but far more focused on the Second, rather than the First, Coming:

Malachi 4:1–6

For behold the day shall come kindled as a furnace: and all the proud, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall set them on fire, saith the Lord of hosts, it shall not leave them root, nor branch.
But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd.
And you shall tread down the wicked when they shall be ashes under the sole of your feet in the day that I do this, saith the Lord of hosts.
Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, the precepts, and judgments.
Behold I will send you Elias the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come, and strike the earth with anathema.

Psalm 50:1–15

50 Unto the end, a psalm of David,
When Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bethsabee.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.
For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
10 To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
11 Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
12 Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
13 Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
14 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
15 I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.

Romans 15:4–13

For what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope.
Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ:
That with one mind, and with one mouth, you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath received you unto the honour of God.
 I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.
But that the Gentiles are to glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: Therefore will I confess to thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will sing to thy name.
10 And again he saith: Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
11 And again: Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and magnify him, all ye people.
12 And again Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and he that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope.
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Luke 21:25–36

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;
26 Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved;
27 And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty.
28 But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.
29 And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees:
30 When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh;
31 So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand.
32 Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly.
35 For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.

Here are all the propers for today, from and sung by the monks of St. Benedict's Monastery, Sao Paulo, Brazil.   These are the same propers used in the Extraordinary Form, which means they've been around for a very long time.  (And as previously noted, it's quite interesting to me that almost all of them - except this one, in fact - are focused on Jerusalem and/or Sion; that may also be an oblique reference to the Second Coming, and in particular to the Book of Revelation.  I am going to try to find out more about this.)

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 today's Propers:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Advent I Alleluia: Ostende nobis Domine ("Show us thy mercy, O Lord")

The text is a very familiar one, taken from Psalm 85:7 (84:8 in the Vulgate):
Show us thy mercy, O Lord : and grant us thy salvation. 

Here's the full chant score:

Here are all the chants for the day, from
Hebdomada Prima Adventus
Introitus: Ps. 24, 1-4 Ad te levavi (3m29.7s - 3275 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 24, 3. V. 4 Universi, qui te exspectant (2m00.6s - 1887 kb) score
Alleluia: Ps. 84, 8 Ostende nobis (2m41.5s - 2525 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 24, 1-3 Ad te, Domine, levavi (1m41.0s - 1579 kb) score
Communio: Ps. 84, 13 Dominus dabit benignitatem (51.2s - 801 kb) score

And these are posts on Chantblog for the Advent 1 propers:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

J.S. Bach's Kantata BWV 61: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland ("Now come, Savior of the Gentiles")

Very likely from the same splendid concert at which the Bach Magnificat was recorded, here's a video of this Advent Cantata:

About the piece:
BWV 61 is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Weimar for the first Sunday in Advent and first performed it on 2 December 1714.
From, here's the German text:
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland I
1. Coro

Violino I/II, Viola I/II, Fagotto, Continuo

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,

Der Jungfrauen Kind erkannt,

Des sich wundert alle Welt,

Gott solch Geburt ihm bestellt.

2. Recitativo T

Der Heiland ist gekommen,

Hat unser armes Fleisch und Blut

An sich genommen

Und nimmet uns zu Blutsverwandten an.

O allerhöchstes Gut,

Was hast du nicht an uns getan?

Was tust du nicht

Noch täglich an den Deinen?

Du kömmst und lässt dein Licht

Mit vollem Segen scheinen.
3. Aria T

Violino I/II, Viola I/II, Continuo
Komm, Jesu, komm zu deiner Kirche

Und gib ein selig neues Jahr!

    Befördre deines Namens Ehre,

    Erhalte die gesunde Lehre

    Und segne Kanzel und Altar!
4. Recitativo B

Violino I/II, Viola I/II, Continuo
Siehe, ich stehe vor der Tür
und klopfe an. So jemand meine Stimme hören wird und die Tür
auftun, zu dem werde ich eingehen und das Abendmahl mit ihm halten
und er mit mir.
5. Aria S

Violoncelli, Continuo
Öffne dich, mein ganzes Herze,

Jesus kömmt und ziehet ein.

    Bin ich gleich nur Staub und Erde,

    Will er mich doch nicht verschmähn,

    Seine Lust an mir zu sehn,

    Dass ich seine Wohnung werde.

    O wie selig werd ich sein!
6. Choral

Viola I coll' Alto, Viola II col Tenore, Fagotto col Basso, Violino I/II, Continuo

Amen, amen!

Komm, du schöne Freudenkrone, bleib nicht lange!

Deiner wart ich mit Verlangen.

And an English translation:

BWV 61 Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland I

First Sunday in Advent.

Erdmann Neumeister, Geistliche Poesien (Eisenach, 1714) and Fünffache
(Leipzig, 1717); Facs: Neumann T, p. 293.

1. Martin Luther, verse 1 of the German adaptation of Veni redemptor
gentium, 1524 (Wackernagel, III, #16); 4. Rev. 3:20; 6. Philipp Nicolai,
conclusion (Abgesang) of the last verse of Wie schön leuchtet
der Morgenstern, 1599.

2 December 1714, Weimar.

BG 16; NBA I/1.

1. Ouverture [Chorale] (S, A, T, B)

Now come, the gentiles' Savior,

As the Virgin's child revealed,

At whom marvels all the world

That God him this birth ordained.

2. Recit. (T)

To us is come the Savior,

Who hath our feeble flesh and blood

now taken

And taketh us as kinsmen of his blood.

O treasure unexcelled,

What hast thou not for us then done?

What dost thou not

Yet daily for thy

Thy coming makes thy light

Appear with richest blessing.

3. Aria (T)

Come, Jesus, come to this thy church now

And fill with blessing the
new year!

    Advance thy name in rank and honor,
    Uphold thou ev'ry wholesome doctrine,
    The pulpit and the altar bless!
4. Recit. [Dictum] (B)(1)

See now, I stand before the door and on it knock. If anyone my voice
will render heed and make wide the door, I will come into his dwelling
and take with him the evening supper, and he with me.

5. Aria (S)

Open wide, my heart and spirit,

Jesus comes and draws within.

    Though I soon be earth and ashes,
    Me he will yet not disdain,
    That his joy he find in me
    And that I become his dwelling.
    Oh, how blessed shall I be!
6. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

Amen, amen!

Come, thou lovely crown of gladness, do not tarry(2).

I wait for thee with longing.

1. Representing the vox Christi.

2. In the alto and tenor parts where necessary: come, and do not

© Copyright  Z.
Philip Ambrose

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Missa pro Defunctis: Kyrie Eleison (Kyrie from the Mass for the Dead)

For All Souls' Day, here is the Kyrie from the Mass for the Dead, sung here by the Alfred Deller Consort.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Here's Durufle's beautiful composed version; notes at the YouTube page say that it's sung by the Yale Glee Club (Jeffrey Douma, Music Director) along with the Elm City Girls Choir (Rebecca Rosenbaum, Music Director). And it's a wonderful collaboration:

Here are links to posts on Chantblog, for all the movements of the Requiem mass:

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Gradual for the Solemnity of All Saints: Timete Dominum omnes sancti ejus ("Fear the Lord, all ye his saints")

That's the first piece on this video, which I believe is sung by the Chœur Grégorien de Paris. (The video itself seems to be a visual tour of the St. Trophime Cathedral in Arles, France; the chant seems unrelated, to me, possibly used as background music simply for its beauty.  Well, enjoy it!  There are several different pieces on this video - and the church is indeed splendid.):

Here's an mp3 of Timete Dominum from ChristusRex,org,  sung by the Benedictines in São Paulo, Brazil.  And somebody's put the same audio file into a video:

The text, taken from Psalm (33/)34, vv. (10-11/)9-10, from CPDL:
Timete Dominum omnes sancti ejus: quoniam nihil deest timentibus eum.
Inquirentes autem Dominum, non deficient omni bono. Alleluia.

Fear the Lord, all ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him:
They that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good. Alleluia.

And here is the full chant score:

This text has been set by a number of composers.  Here's one setting by Ascanio Trombetti (1544-1590):

Very nice!   The YouTube page has more about the performance:
Live performance at De Duif, Amsterdam - December 21, 2010
Project "Sacrae Symphoniae" - Vocal and instrumental Renaissance music from Venice

Harma Everts & Klaartje van Veldhoven, sopranos
Santiago Cumplido del Castillo, countertenor
Bram Verheijen & Esteban Manzano, tenors
Eiji Miura, bass

The Royal Wind Music directed by Paul Leenhouts

Petri Arvo, Alana Blackburn, Stephanie Brandt, Ruth Dyson, Eva Gemeinhardt, Arwieke Glas, Hester Groenleer, Karin Hageneder, Kyuri Kim, Marco Paulo Alves Magalhâes, María Martínez Ayerza, Filipa Margarida da Silveira Pereira, Anna Stegmann: renaissance recorders

The All Saints' Day Collect is this one:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Hatchett's Commentary on the American Prayer Book says this about the collect:
This collect was composed for the 1549 Book.  The 1662 revision substituted "blessed" for "holy," and "in all virtuous and godly living" for "in all virtues, and godly living."  The present revision replaces "unspeakable" with "ineffable" since "unspeakable" has so changed and negative a connotation in modern English.  The collect expresses in an admirable way Saint Paul's conception of the church as the Body of Christ.

Here are mp3 files for all the propers on the day, from
Die 1 novembris
Omnium Sanctorum
Introitus: Ps. 32 Gaudeamus... Sanctorum omnium (3m09.8s - 2969 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 33, 10. V. 11b Timete Dominum (2m33.1s - 2395 kb) score
Alleluia: Mt. 11, 28 Venite ad me (3m34.5s - 3355 kb) score
Offertorium: Sap. 3, 1.2.3 Iustorum animæ (2m25.8s - 2281 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 5, 8.9.10 Beati mundo corde (1m29.8s - 1408 kb) score

And here are posts about these on Chantblog:

Here's an interesting icon appropriate for this day.  It's described this way:  "Icon of Chetyi-Minei (calendar of saints).  In the very center is the Resurrection of Christ surrounded by scenes from Holy Week and the feasts of the Paschal cycle. Around them are twelve groupings of saints: one for each month of the calendar year. In the border are icons of the Theotokos (Mother of God), each of which has a feast day during the liturgical year."

Friday, October 24, 2014

New York Polyphony: Nesciens mater (Byttering)

NYP offered this beautiful video in its socmed feeds today:

CPDL says the text is taken from a Christmastide antiphon:
Nesciens mater virgo virum
peperit sine dolore
salvatorem saeculorum.
Ipsum regem angelorum
sola virgo lactabat,
ubere de caelo pleno.

(some sources have ubera de coelo plena)
Knowing no man, the Virgin mother
bore, without pain,
the Saviour of the world.
Him, the king of angels,
only the Virgin suckled,
breasts filled by heaven. 

This is Byttering's Wikipedia entry:
Byttering (also Bytering, Bytteryng, or Biteryng; possible first name Thomas) (fl. c. 1400 – 1420) was an English composer during the transitional period from Medieval to Renaissance styles. Five of his compositions have survived, all of them in the Old Hall Manuscript.

A possible identification of Byttering with a Thomas Byteryng has been made. Byteryng was a canon at Hastings Castle between 1405 and 1408, and was a rector somewhere in London in 1414. There is no information on the composer in the Old Hall Manuscript other than that his surname is attached to several pieces. Those pieces stand out from many of the works in the manuscript by their relatively advanced stylistic traits.

Byttering's music includes three mass sections – two Glorias and a Credo – a motet based on Nesciens Mater, and a substantial three-voice, isorhythmic wedding motet, En Katerine solennia/Virginalis contio/Sponsus amat sponsum, his best-known work, which was almost certainly written for the wedding, on 2 June 1420, of King Henry V and Catherine of Valois.

The four-voice Gloria, No. 18 in the Old Hall MS, is one of the most complex canons of the early 15th century, and represents what was probably the extreme of stylistic differentiation between English and continental practice. Canons in continental sources are extremely rare, but there are seven in the Old Hall MS, and Byttering's is the only one with the standard arrangement of the same tune in all four voices.

Monday, October 20, 2014

And Yet Another Tiresome Episcopal Drama.....

Is there a petition I can sign that would get rid of the entire "leadership" - and I use that term  loosely - at General Theological Seminary?   The entire cast of characters involved in this incident - faculty, Dean, and Board - have all clearly demonstrated their incompetence and unsuitability for the positions they hold. 

This latest Baby Boomer Episcopalian drama is by far the most ridiculous thing I've seen in my 10 years of church membership - and that's really saying something.   With everything that's going on in the world today - including the imminent failure of the church itself - I simply cannot believe a few Episcopal clergypeople have found still another way to obsess over themselves, and have now suckered the entire church into the mess.

I've completely lost respect for all the "outraged commentators" too.  "Weaponization of resignation," indeed!  Sure - when you hold the gun to your own head.  8 brain-dead morons give the institution that employs them an ultimatum:  "Either the Boss goes, or we do."   Why is anybody shocked, shocked that the Board of Directors decided - quite rightly, too, in my estimation -  "Well, in that case, you go, then.  And don't let the door hit you on the way out."?  (And we get lectures on "dishonesty"!  As if the 8 morons were just minding their own business one day and happened to get fired, for no reason at all.)

Again, I am always utterly astounded that clergy do things their parishioners would never even consider doing in our worklives - and somehow expect to escape the consequences of it.  I'm even more amazed the lengths to which people are going now to make excuses for it.

I'm quite sure there's more to this than we are being told - it couldn't really be this ridiculous, could it? - but at this point, why should anybody care?   Show them all the door, and start over.

The Episcopal Church is, I'm sorry to say, drunk.  Hopefully it will hit bottom sometime soon - but don't hold your breath.....

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    "Hail true body, born of Mary": Plainsong from the Guildford Cathedral Choir

    I just became aware of "Archives of Sound," a YouTube channel apparently completely dedicated to videos (which are actually audio files along with still images) from the "Guildford Cathedral Choir (1961-1974) during Barry Rose's tenure as Organist & Master of the Choristers."    I'm quite sure I'll be posting from this collection fairly often; there's lots of Anglican Chant.

    This is a lovely recording of an English-language version of the Gregorian chant Eucharistic hymn Ave Verum Corpus, recorded at Guildford Cathedral in May of 1967:

    These are the words they are using here; I haven't been able to determine their provenance:

    Hail, true body, born of Mary,
    by a wondrous virgin birth.
    Thou who on the cross wast offered
    to redeem the sons of earth;

    Thou whose side became a fountain
    pouring forth thy precious blood,
    give us now; and at our dying,
    thine own self to be our food.

    O sweetest Jesu,
    O gracious Jesu,
    O Jesu, blessed Mary's Son.

    Wikipedia has the Latin words, along with a more literal English translation:
    Ave verum corpus, natum
    de Maria Virgine,
    vere passum, immolatum
    in cruce pro homine
    cuius latus perforatum
    fluxit aqua et sanguine:
    esto nobis praegustatum
    in mortis examine.
    O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie,
    O Iesu, fili Mariae.
    Miserere mei. Amen.
    Hail, true Body, born
    of the Virgin Mary,
    who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
    on the cross for mankind,
    whose pierced side
    flowed with water and blood:
    May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
    in the trial of death.
    O sweet Jesus, O pious Jesus,
    O Jesus, son of Mary,
    have mercy on me. Amen.

    Here's the score of the chant in Latin from the Liber Usualis:

    More about this hymn, from the same Wikipedia link above:
    "Ave verum corpus" is a short Eucharistic hymn that has been set to music by various composers. It dates from the 14th century and has been attributed to Pope Innocent VI.[1]

    During the Middle Ages it was sung at the elevation of the host during the consecration. It was also used frequently during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

    The hymn's title means "Hail, true body", and is based on a poem deriving from a 14th-century manuscript from the Abbey of Reichenau, Lake Constance.[citation needed] The poem is a meditation on the Catholic belief in Jesus's Real Presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and ties it to the Catholic conception of the redemptive meaning of suffering in the life of all believers.

    Barry Rose has written choral music, too; I've sung some of his Responses, for Mattins or Evensong (I can't quite recall at the moment).

    I had actually never heard the Gregorian version of this song until today - but I have heard many composed versions.  Most famous, perhaps, is the Mozart version, here sung by King's College, Cambridge:

    William Byrd also set this hymn:

    Another well-known polyphonic setting is Edward Elgar's:

    This is one I've just heard for the first time; interestingly, it seems only to be available on Chinese video sites!  And so, I'm not sure who the composer is, but the singers are the Salisbury Cathedral Choristers:

    Clearly a more contemporary setting; if I learn more about it, I'll come back to post again.

    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (September 29): Benedicite Dominum ("Bless the Lord, all ye his angels")

    Benedicite Dominum is the name of both the Introit and the Gradual for this feast day.  The text for both is taken from Psalm 102:20 (103:20 in the Anglican reckoning), followed by the wonderful Verse 1 from the same Psalm:
    Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders.

    Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless his holy name.

    Here's an mp3 of the Introit from, sung by the Benedictine monks of São Paolo; below is the chant score:

    Clearly, this chant is used at some other time than for St.MaAA; an "Alleluia" has been added to be sung during Eastertide ("T.P." = Tempus Paschale).  For what purpose?  I'm not clear yet, but am on the case.  I'm thinking it may be for celebrations of the dedications of churches named after St. Michael - or perhaps for Votive masses in his honor?  I will see what I can find out.

    Unfortunately, I haven't found an audio or video file of the Gradual; that is really too bad, because it looks like it must be a beautiful chant!  Here's the elaborate score:

    There is, though, at least one polyphonic setting of the Gradual, along with a setting of the Offertory, Stetit angelus.  The composer is the 18th-century Brazilian musician José Maurício Nunes Garcia; you can get all the words at the Vimeo page.

    "Gradual e Ofertório a São Miguel Arcângelo" - Pe. José Maurício Nunes Garcia - Madrigal Contemporâneo from Lúcio Zandonadi on Vimeo.

    Interestingly, the Liber Usualis 1961 (which was the book for the old, Tridentine Rite), calls this feast "Dedication of the Church of St. Michael, Archangel."    Hymn melodies for the whole year from the Sarum service books, though, calls it straightforwardly "The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels."  I'm actually not sure what's going on at this point; did the feast originate at the dedication of a particular church, then evolve during in the Middle Ages into a more general feast day?  Or was "St. Michael and All Angels" peculiar to the British Isles, while the rest of the church went on celebrating the Dedication of a particular church?   Or did all of Western Christendom celebrate the general feast - until at some point the Roman Catholic Church reverted to the earlier name and celebration?  I'm not sure, and I'm seeing conflicting information about this so far; I'll have to continue to look at this.  (There is also a "Feast of the Guardian Angels," celebrated by Catholics on October 2 - so the whole thing does seem to be quite complicated, all in all.  More to come, hopefully!)

    In any case, the church referred to - and it's sometimes called a "basilica" - is appearently the Church of St. Michael on Mount Gargano; it was originally dedicated at some point prior to the year 493.    This comes from the Wikipedia entry for "The Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo":
    The Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano, sometimes called simply Monte Gargano, is a Catholic sanctuary on Mount Gargano, Italy, part of the commune of Monte Sant'Angelo, in the province of Foggia, northern Apulia.

    It is the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the archangel Michael and has been an important pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. The historic site and its environs are protected by the Parco Nazionale del Gargano.

    In 2011, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a group of seven inscribed as Longobards in Italy. Places of the power (568-774 A.D.).

    Here are some images from that page.  The first one's labeled "Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo a Monte Sant'Angelo":

    This one of the tower was taken by user Idéfix:

     Tango7174 offers this image of a statue of St. Michael from the exterior of the church: also has some interesting stuff about the feast from "Rev. Alban Butler's The Lives of the Saints, 1866 (Volume IX: September)":
    September 29
    The Dedication of St. Michael’s Church

    [Or, the Festival of St. Michael and All the Holy Angels.]  THIS festival has been kept with great solemnity on the 29th of September ever since the fifth age, and was certainly celebrated in Apulia in 493. The dedication of the famous church of St. Michael on Mount Gargano, in Italy, 1 gave occasion to the institution of this feast in the West, which is hence called in the Martyrologies of St. Jerom, Bede, and others, The dedication of St. Michael. The dedication of St. Michael’s church in Rome, upon Adrian’s Mole, which was performed by Pope Boniface IV. in 610, and that of several other churches in the West, in honour of this arch-angel, were performed on this same day. 2 Churches were likewise erected in the East, in honour of St. Michael and other holy angels, from the time when the Christian worship was publicly established by the conversion of Constantine, doubtless upon the model of little oratories and churches, which had been formerly raised in the intervals of the general persecutions, in which storms they were again thrown down. Sozomen informs us, that Constantine the Great built a famous church in honour of this glorious archangel, called Michaelion, and that in it the sick were often cured, and other wonders wrought through the intercession of St. Michael. This historian assures us, that he had often experienced such relief here himself; and he mentions the miraculous cures of Aquilin, an eminent lawyer, and of Probian, a celebrated physician, wrought in the same place. This church stood about four miles from Constantinople; a monastery was afterwards built contiguous to it. Four churches in honour of St. Michael stood in the city of Constantinople itself; their number was afterwards increased to fifteen, which were built by several emperors. 3
      Though only St. Michael be mentioned in the title of this festival, it appears from the prayers of the church that all the good angels are its object, together with this glorious prince and tutelar angel of the church. On it we are called upon, in a particular manner, to give thanks to God for the glory which the angels enjoy, and to rejoice in their happiness. Secondly, to thank him for his mercy to us in constituting such glorious beings to minister to our salvation, by aiding and assisting us. Thirdly, to join them in adoring and praising God with all possible ardour, desiring and praying that we may do his will on earth with the utmost fidelity, fervour, and purity of affection, as it is done by these blessed spirits in heaven; and that we may study to sanctify our souls in imitation of the spotless angels to whom we are associated. Lastly, we are invited to honour, and implore the intercession and succour of the holy angels.

    There's much more at that link.  And this is "Note 2" from the same page:
    This festival has been celebrated in the church with great solemnity ever since the sixth century. It was enacted in the ecclesiastical laws of King Ethelred in England, in the year 1014, “That every Christian who is of age, fast three days on bread and water, and raw herbs, before the feast of St. Michael, and let every man go to confession and to church barefoot.—Let every priest with his people go in procession three days barefoot, and let every one’s commons for three days be prepared without anything of flesh, as if they themselves were to eat it, both in meat and drink, and let all this be distributed to the poor. Let every servant be excused from labour these three days, that he may the better perform his fast, or let him work what he will for himself. These are the three days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, next before the feast of St. Michael. If any servant break his fast, let him make satisfaction with his hide, (bodily stripes,) let the poor freeman pay thirty pence, the king’s thane a hundred and thirty shillings; and let the money be divided to the poor.” See Sir Henry Spelman’s Councils, vol. i. p. 530, and Johnson’s Collection of the Canons of the Church of England, t. 1, an. 1014. Michaelmas-day is mentioned among the great feasts in the Saxon Chronicle on the year 1011; in the Saxon Menology of the ninth century, published by Mr. Wanley (in Lingue. Aquilon. Thes. l. 2, p. 107,) and in the English Calendar published by Dr. Hicks. (in his Saxon Grammar, p. 102, &c.)

    About St. Michael himself, New Advent notes that:
    Regarding his rank in the celestial hierarchy opinions vary; St. Basil (Hom. de angelis) and other Greek Fathers, also Salmeron, Bellarmine, etc., place St. Michael over all the angels; they say he is called "archangel" because he is the prince of the other angels; others (cf. P. Bonaventura, op. cit.) believe that he is the prince of the seraphim, the first of the nine angelic orders. But, according to St. Thomas (Summa Ia.113.3) he is the prince of the last and lowest choir, the angels. The Roman Liturgy seems to follow the Greek Fathers; it calls him "Princeps militiae coelestis quem honorificant angelorum cives". The hymn of the Mozarabic Breviary places St. Michael even above the Twenty-four Elders. The Greek Liturgy styles him Archistrategos, "highest general" (cf. Menaea, 8 Nov. and 6 Sept.). 

    NA says this about what seems to be a different St. Michael's church:
    At Rome the Leonine Sacramentary (sixth century) has the "Natale Basilicae Angeli via Salaria", 30 September; of the five Masses for the feast three mention St. Michael. The Gelasian Sacramentary (seventh century) gives the feast "S. Michaelis Archangeli", and the Gregorian Sacramentary (eighth century), "Dedicatio Basilionis S. Angeli Michaelis", 29 Sept. A manuscript also here adds "via Salaria" (Ebner, "Miss. Rom. Iter Italicum", 127). This church of the Via Salaria was six miles to the north of the city; in the ninth century it was called Basilica Archangeli in Septimo (Armellini, "Chiese di Roma", p. 85). It disappeared a thousand years ago. At Rome also the part of heavenly physician was given to St. Michael. According to an (apocryphal?) legend of the tenth century he appeared over the Moles Hadriani (Castel di S. Angelo), in 950, during the procession which St. Gregory held against the pestilence, putting an end to the plague. Boniface IV (608-15) built on the Moles Hadriani in honour of him, a church, which was styled St. Michaelis inter nubes (in summitate circi)

    And the Reverend Stephen Gerth of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York writes this week that:
    The Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels, September 29, commonly called "Michaelmas" (MIK-uhl-mus), dates back to the dedication of a basilica near Rome on the Via Salaria in the fifth century. The basilica is gone, but the festival survived the Protestant Reformation among us Anglicans. Massy Shepherd wrote that this feast was "especially popular in medieval England" (The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary [1950] 251).

    Obviously  there is disagreement about which of these Churches of St. Michael is at the heart of the original dedication and feast.

    But I will not solve this problem today - so I'll end by simply wishing you a Happy Feast of St. Michael and All Angels!

    Here are sound files and/or chant scores for all the mass propers, again from
      Die 29 septembris Ss. Michaelis, Gabrielis et Raphaelis, Archangelorum
    Introitus: Ps. 102, 20 Benedicite Dominum (1m13.2s - 858 kb) score
    Graduale: Ps. 102, 20. V. 1 Benedicite Dominum (not available) score
    Alleluia:  Sancte Michael archangele (not available) score
                        vel, ad libitum, Laudate Deum omnes angeli (1m54.7s - 1345 kb) score
    Offertorium: Apoc. 8, 3.4 Stetit angelus (2m25.2s - 1703 kb) score
    Communio: Dan. 3, 58 Benedicite, omnes angeli (48.1s - 565 kb) score

    And these are posts on Chantblog about the propers for this day:

    And whatever you do, don't forget to check out Full Homely Divinity's Angel page!

    Here's a wonderful icon I don't think I've posted before; it's "the 13th-century icon of St. Michael from Archangel Cathedral in Yaroslavl [Russia]."

    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    Late September thoughts....

    •  I've gotten lost numerous times while driving around my new neighborhood this past summer; the usual stuff, nothing serious.  I sort of like getting lost, actually - and amazingly enough, I ended up once at a real Christian Hermitage.  I drove in and around it, and saw a sister there doing some work.  We waved at each other, silently.  

      Here are some snaps of the place, from the car:

    • I really do want to start a Christian monastic or neo-monastic community of some kind; I lean. myself, towards the cloistered version, in the country, centered around a farm.  I want it to exist primarily for prayer and the worship of God, open to those who need help and a place to rest in God.  I personally think the world really needs this kind of thing at the moment; everybody's really busy with do, do, do - when I think what we actually need is be, be, be (i.e., pray, pray, pray).
    • And now I have another idea.  For years, I've thought it would be fantastic to build small communities with a farm at their centers; this would preserve farmland, give people a healthy atmopshere in which to live, and the farm's harvest crops could be distributed among the community.  The people living there - and their kids - could work on the farm if they so chose.   I think this would work very well with a monastic community running the farm; all the same ideas would apply - and there would be, in addition, prayer available every day, for those who wished to join the community in Divine Service.  Wouldn't that be great?   Monks and/or nuns of the community would be silent, mostly, for our own benefit - or perhaps there could be two groups of religious: one silent, one interacting with the world.
    • I'm now singing again in the choir on Sundays, after a long break from doing that.  The last time I was in a choir it was just no fun at all:  bullying and disdain from the other singers - many had had some formal training in music - or thought they did, or was married to someone who had - which made them utterly insufferable - made it a really unpleasant way to spend time, so I quit.   This new choir is composed of exactly three members, plus a leader and an organist - and the organist will be retiring in two weeks.  It's much more fun this way.  We sing simple songs - sometimes hymns from the 1982 - and just basically try to keep everything on pitch.  Much, much better.
    • I've also signed up for the 4th year of EFM; my last group dissolved and it, too, had stopped being fun.  There's no point at all in doing any of these things if they're neither interesting nor enjoyable. 
    • I joined the local Y and am doing cardio and yoga.  Went to a class I thought was "Gentle Yoga," but was actually "Multi-level Yoga," and there was nothing gentle about it.  I decided to do Yoga because a friend of mine has been doing it for about 50 years; she's 20 years older than me and in much better shape.  She's been teaching me a little over the past few years, but I really need to actually learn the poses and exercises; doing it once in a while just doesn't cut it.  Yoga is amazing, because you think you're not really doing anything at all - and yet you're completely exhausted by the end of the session.  Looking forward to getting a routine going.
    • Also have joined a local Centering Prayer group.  I forgot how nice it can be to sit around silently with a bunch of people.   (Are you getting the "silent" theme here at all?  This is why I'm going to make a great hermit.)
    • Remember the "charismatic" parish across the street I talked about last time?  I did go a few times, and I guess it is, in a way.  Well, except that there's an ornately gilt-framed baroque-looking painting of the Madonna and child over the altar area, and a silver crucifix behind the altar, where the Sacrament in reserve, along with a sanctuary lamp.  If that's "charismatic," I'm in.

      Here are some of those photos.  Nobody knows who the saint in the stained glass is; I'm thinking it's probably John, though.

      See?  They reserve the sacrament, along with a sanctuary lamp (minus actual sanctuary!):

      The crucifix:

      The Madonna and Child:

      A really nice processional cross!

    • A lot of the music there is 7/11-style, though, it's true.  The Praise Song that replaces the Gloria goes something like this:  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; Free, free, free free.  We did get to sing "How Firm a Foundation" as the recessional one week, though.  The people are nice enough; there's no choir, though, and no EFM.
    • The rumor is that this place used to be real slain-in-the-spirit-style, and that the Bishop assigned an interim priest with the instruction that she "reign it in" some.   I really don't see why that's necessary, I have to say; as long as they use the BCP, they should be able to do it however they want.  And the service is straight-ahead Prayer Book.  But maybe that wasn't always the case - and I guess the place could once have really been nuts.
    • I feel more relaxed with the people at this place, in some ways.  But I enjoy Episcopalians of the more ordinary sort, too, and I appreciate them.  People like me - who know we're crazy and that we really can't get along very well without the spiritual life  - are less impressive, in some ways, than people who don't have the same issues.  I mean, it would be just as easy for them to stay away from church - but they see the beauty in it and come anyway.  That's pretty cool.  Or maybe they really do feel its necessity, and just know how to put on a good "well-adjusted" front?
    • Again I feel I have much more to say, but can't seem to dig it out.  Meantime, this is what July was like in Alaska at the brown bear cam; these guys are looking for jumping salmon:

    Sunday, September 21, 2014

    "Compline: A Spiritual Awakening"

    Here's a short video about Sunday Compline at St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle.  The service "hasn't changed in 57 years."

    From the YouTube page:
    Every Sunday evening at 9:30 p.m. in the nave of Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral (Seattle, WA), the all-male Compline Choir leads this formal choral service that is a Seattle tradition. An average audience of 500 packs the Cathedral each week for this meditative service. Many more listen to the broadcast on KING-FM, 98.1 on the radio dial.

    Thanks to Anglicans Online for the link to the video, and for their story this week.

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    New York Polyphony sings Beata progenies (Lionel Power d. 1445)

    This video was offered by NYP in its social media feeds this morning:

    Here's the Latin text from CPDL; English translation "by The St. Ann Choir, directed by William Mahrt."  The text is described there as a "Matins Responsory, Feasts of the Blessed Virgin."
    Beata progenies unde Christus natus est;
    quam gloriosa est virgo que caeli regem genuit.

    Blessed is the parent from whom Christ was born;
    O how glorious is the virgin who brought forth the King of heaven

    Cantus database lists this as an antiphon sung at various Marian feasts; the earliest certain date of its provenance listed there is ~1175, in a "Cistercian antiphoner from the Abbey of St. Mary of Morimondo in the diocese of Milan."  The antiphon in that volume was used at Mattins of Nativitas Mariae  (i.e., the Nativity of Mary, September 8).   I so far can't find any image of the antiphon from these manuscripts, but will post it if I do find one.

    Wikipedia says about Leonel Power - that's another spelling of his first name - that:  "Leonel Power (1370 to 1385 – 5 June 1445) was an English composer of the late Medieval and early Renaissance eras. Along with John Dunstaple, he was one of the major figures in English music in the early 15th century.[1][2]"

    Also that:
    While Power's output was slightly less than Dunstaple's (only 40 extant pieces can be definitely attributed to him), his influence was similar. He is the composer best represented in the Old Hall Manuscript, one of the only undamaged sources of English music from the early 15th century (most manuscripts were destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536-1540 under Henry VIII).

    Power was one of the first composers to set separate movements of the Ordinary of the Mass which were thematically unified and intended for contiguous performance. The Old Hall Manuscript contains his mass based on the Marian antiphon, Alma Redemptoris Mater, in which the antiphon is stated literally in the tenor in each movement, unornamented. This is the only cyclic setting of the mass Ordinary which can be attributed to him.[4]

    The audio was recorded at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York; fantastic acoustics!