Friday, March 27, 2015

The Palm Sunday Communion Song: Pater, si non potest ("Father, if this cup cannot pass away")

The Communion hymn for Palm Sunday, Pater, si non potest, is the last chant of the day, sung during Communion after the Passion gospel has been sung:

The text, taken directly from Matthew 26:42, is a short and sad ending for the Palm Sunday liturgy:
Pater, si non potest hic calix transire, nisi bibam illum: fiat voluntas tua.
Father, if this cup cannot pass away, unless I drink it: your will be done.

Here's the chant score: has all the chant propers for today, sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines:

Hebdomada SanctaDominica in Palmis de Passione Domini

Antiphona: Hosanna filio David (34.9s - 548 kb) score

Ad processionem
Procedamus (8.3s - 133 kb) score
Antiphona: Pueri... portantes (2m24.9s - 2266 kb) score
Antiphona: Pueri... vestimenta (1m18.4s - 1228 kb) score
Hymnus ad Christum Regem: Gloria, laus (2m43.7s - 2558 kb) score
Responsorium: Ingrediente Domino (3m34.2s - 3350 kb) score

Ad Missam

Tractus: Ps. 21, 2- Deus, Deus meus (1m54.7s - 1794 kb) score
Graduale: Phil. 2, 8. V. 9 Christus factus est (2m19.3s - 2178 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 68, 21.22 Improperium... et dederunt (2m40.2s - 2504 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 26, 42 Pater, si non potest (3m28.0s - 3252 kb) score

And here are Chantblog posts on some of these:

Blessed Holy Week to all.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lent 5: Saepe expugnaverunt ("Greatly have they afflicted me")

Sung by a group called Sequentia, this seems to be a version of the Tract for the Fifth Sunday in Lent.

Remember that the Tract replaces the Alleluia during Lent, and that the text consists either of a complete Psalm or of the greatest part of a Psalm.

Here's the chant score; the singing on the video above is much more elaborate - if not actually improvised upon - but the tune does seem to me to be there:

I've written briefly about this tract before; the text in English is from Psalm 129, verses 1-4:
“Greatly[a] have they afflicted me from my youth”—
    let Israel now say—
“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
    yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed upon my back;
    they made long their furrows.”
The Lord is righteous;
    he has cut the cords of the wicked.

I noted in the previous post that Psalm 129 is one of the "Songs of Ascents."    Also that Verse 4 is translated "The Lord who is just will cut the necks of sinners" in the Douay-Rheims version of this Psalm - but that the King James translates it this way:  "The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked," as do most other versions.  (The Good News Bible -  and some others  - translate it this way:  "But the Lord, the righteous one, has freed me from slavery," )  So I'm not quite sure what's going on there; clearly there are some disputes about the Hebrew.

It's a beautiful recording, though, and I'm really happy to have found it. provides the full complement of propers for today, here sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines;  note that the Communio again depends on the Gospel for the day.
Hebdomada quinta quadragesimæ  Dominica
Introitus: Ps. 42, 1.2.3 Iudica me, Deus (3m09.1s - 1293 kb) chant score
Graduale: Ps. 142, 9.10. V. Ps. 17, 48.49 Eripe me, Domine (3m49.9s - 1572 kb) chant score
Tractus: Ps. 128, 1-4 Sæpe expugnaverunt (1m50.9s - 759 kb) chant score
Offertorium: Ps. 118, Confitebor tibi, Domine (1m41.8s - 697 kb) chant score
                 quando legitur Evangelium de Lazaro:
                 Io. 11, Videns Dominus (3m43.2s - 1526 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de muliere adultera:
                 Io. 8, 10.11 Nemo te condemnavit (2m35.9s - 1213 kb)

                 quando legitur aliud Evangelium:
                 Io. 12, 26 Qui mihi ministrat(49.0s - 382 kb)

Here are posts on Chantblog about the other propers:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Communio for Lent 4: Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur ut civitas ("Jerusalem is built as a city")

Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur ut civitas is the Communion Song for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (when the Gospel is other than that of the man blind from birth or the parable of the Prodigal Son - in Year B, in other words).

Lent - Fourth Sunday: Communio
from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.
The text is taken from the beautiful Psalm 122:3-4:
Jerusalem, quæ ædificatur ut civitas, cuius participatio eius in idipsum: illuc enim ascenderunt tribus, tribus Domini, ad confitendum nomini tuo, Domine.

Jerusalem is built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

Here's the chant score:

Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur ut civitas is the old, Tridentine, Communion Proper for today; the others,  Lutum fecit and Oportet te were added as alternates that depend on the Gospel reading, after the 3-year lectionary was adopted.

Today is Laetare Sunday in Lent:  "Rose Sunday," a day when the penitential mood lifts a bit.  The vestments are rose-colored, and the theme is throughout one of grace.  It's a parallel, in that way, to Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday in Advent.

Another, very interesting, parallel, though, is Lent IV's similarity to Advent II, in that all the chant propers for these Sundays mention Jerusalem (or "Sion").  Last year, as readers of this blog might recall, I was wondering why this was the case for the Advent II propers; I asked Derek about it, and he referred me to Dom Dominic Johner's book. The Chants of the Vatican Gradual.   Here's what Johner has to say about today, Laetare Sunday, in Lent:
Even more than on the second Sunday of Advent (q.v.), the station "at the church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem," in which the solemn services were conducted at Rome, has determined the selection of the liturgical texts of today's Mass. All the chants contain allusions to Sion or Jerusalem. Only the Offertory in its present form is an exception.

In other words, the chant propers for today refer to Jerusalem because the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem was the stational church in Rome on the Fourth Sunday in Lent during the church's early years.

This page describes the custom, and lists all the stational churches for Lent; you'll see that the Fourth Sunday in Lent was celebrated at "Santa Croce in Gerusalemme," i.e., The Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.   Here's the introduction from that page:
Pilgrims who travel to Rome during Lent can participate in a beautiful custom that dates back to the fourth century. It’s a custom that began as a way to strengthen the sense of community in the city while honoring the holy martyrs of Rome. The faithful would journey through the streets to visit various churches. As they walked they would pray the Litany of the Saints. The bishop of Rome, that is the Holy Father, would join them, lead them in prayer and celebrate Mass at the church.

Though this practice was around for years, Pope Saint Gregory the Great established the order of the churches to be visited, the prayers to be recited and designated this as a Lenten practice. The tradition continued until 1309 when the papacy moved to Avignon. Pope Leo XIII revived the tradition and it was fully restored by John XXIII in 1959.

The PNAC apparently observes this Lenten custom even today, and elaborates on the history at this page.  Here's a short excerpt, with much more at the link:
Our modern observance of the stational liturgy traces its roots back to the practice of the Bishop of Rome celebrating the liturgies of the church year at various churches throughout the city, a tradition dating back as far as the late second or early third century.  One reason for this was practical: with the church in Rome being composed of diverse groups from many cultures, regular visits by the bishop served to unify the various groups into a more cohesive whole.  Another reason, particularly following the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313 which permitted public worship, was to commemorate certain feast days at churches with a special link to that celebration.  Therefore, Good Friday came to be celebrated at the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem and Christmas at St. Mary Major, where a relic of the manger was venerated.  In time, the original churches in the city, known as tituli (sing. titulus) because they often bore the name of the donor, took on an additional significance as the places that held the relics of the martyrs and the memory of the early history of the church in this city. 1

As time passed the schedule of these visits, which had earlier followed an informal order, took on a more formalized structure.  By the last half of the fifth century, a fairly fixed calendar was developed, having the order of the places at which the pope would say Mass with the church community on certain days throughout the year.  In the weeks before the beginning of Lent, the three large basilicas outside the walls were visited, forming a ring of prayer around the city before the season of Lent began.  During Lent, the various stations were originally organized so that the Masses were held in different areas of the city each day.  During the octave of Easter the stations form a litany of the saints, beginning with St. Mary Major on Easter Sunday and continuing with St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Lawrence, the Apostles, and the martyrs.

This also explains the Advent II propers; Santa Croce in Gerusalemme was the stational church on that Sunday as well.

Which is all quite interesting, to me, and definitely explains what I took to be mysterious! offers a complete list of today's propers sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines; note that the Offertory and Communio vary, depending on the Gospel for the day.
Hebdomada quarta quadragesimæ  Dominica
Introitus: Cf. Is. 66, 10.11; Ps. 121 Lætare Ierusalem (3m46.5s - 3540 kb) chant score
Graduale: Ps. 121, 1. V. 7 Lætatus sum (1m58.9s - 1858 kb) chant score
Tractus: Ps. 124, 1.2 Qui confidunt (3m13.4s - 3024 kb) chant score
Offertorium: Ps. 134, 3.6 Laudate Dominum (1m37.4s - 1524 kb) chant score
                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Ps. 12, 4.5 Illumina oculos meos (1m33.8s - 1468 kb) chant score
Communio:  Ps. 121, 3.4 Ierusalem, quæ ædificatur chant score (1m09.7s - 1092 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de cæco nato:
                  Io. 9, 6.11.38 Lutum fecit (39.3s - 616 kb)

                 quando legitur Evangelium de filio prodigo:
                  Lc. 15, 32 Oportet te (28.9s - 454 kb)

Other Chantblog articles about the propers for the day include:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Lament for Lent: Parce Domine ("O Lord, spare thy people")

Parce Domine is a "Lenten lament" of a type similar to Attende Domine, about which I've written several times previously.  Both pieces are and have been used in processions and for congregational singing during Lent. I love Attende Domine and prefer it, personally, because of its tunefulness -  but just came across this one and thought I'd post it, too.  Giovanni Vianini sings it this video:

I don't find this piece in the Liber Usualis, but here's a PDF of the chant from the website of The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.   The text comes from Joel 2:17, and also, I'd say, from the general and widely-used Psalmic motif of "O Lord, will you be angry with us forever?," since that phrase is not found in the passage from Joel.
Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: let not thy wrath be kindled against us forever.

In the video above, Giovanni Vianini is singing the antiphon along with the hymn Flectamus iram vindicem, which CPDL calls "Variant 3":
The hymn Flectamus iram vindicem is attributed to St Ambrose. The Gregorian Parce Domine refrain is also sung with verses from the miserere using the tonus peregrinus."

Parce Domine, populo tuo, ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.

Variant 1
Parce Domine populo tuo, et ne des haereditatem tuam in [obprobrium] perditionem. (Joel 2:17. Vulgate)
Variant 2
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo quia pius es et misericors. Exaudi nos in aeternum, Domine.

Variant 3 (Hymn)

1. Flectamus iram vindicem,
Ploremus ante Judicem;
Clamemus ore supplici,
Dicamus omnes cernui:

2. Nostris malis offendimus
Tuam Deus clementiam
Effunde nobis desuper
Remissor indulgentiam.

3. Dans tempus acceptabile,
Da lacrimarum rivulis
Lavare cordis victimam,
Quam laeta adurat caritas.

4. Audi, benigne Conditor,
Nostras preces cum fletibus
In hoc sacro jejunio,
Fusas quadragenario.

O Lord, spare thy people, and be not angry with us for ever.
Variant 1
O Lord, spare thy people and give not thine inheritance to [reproach] perdition.
Variant 2
Spare, O Lord, spare thy people, for Thou art gracious and merciful. Hear us for ever, O Lord.

Variant 3 (Hymn)
1. Let us appease His wrath,
Beg for mercy from our Judge;
Cry to Him in supplication,
Let us all prostrate and say:

2. By our sins we have offended
against your mercy, O God
Pour forth from above
O pardoning One, your forgiveness

3. Having given us this acceptable time,
grant that in the water of our tears
we may purify our heart and that it may become
a joyful sacrifice offered out of love.

4. O Merciful Creator, hear
our prayers with our weeping
in this holy time of
forty day fasting.

Here's a page from The St. Gregory Hymnal (published by St. Gregory Guild, Philadelphia, 1920), courtesy of  Parce Domine is offered here as an antiphon "usually sung three times before the 50th Psalm [AKA Psalm 51], Miserere mei, Deus":

Several composers have written settings of Parce Domine; here's one from Gounod, sung beautifully by Mezzo-Soprano Andreia Petrea.  This is really quite a great piece, I have to say; unfortunately I've not been able to find the text Gounod uses here - it's not Flectamus iram vindicem, as far as I can tell - and I haven't yet been able to understand the words via the video.  Will be back with an update if either of those two things occurs!

This is an audio/video of a setting of Parce Domine by 15th-Century Low Countries composer Jacob Obrecht; it starts here with the Gregorian melody - which, as far as I can tell, is not actually part of the composed piece.  (Here's a PDF of the composition from CPDL; the text is the one from Variant 2 above.)  The way the chant is sung here at the outset makes me like the antiphon better than I did originally:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Communio for Lent 2: Visionem quam vidistis ("The Vision you have seen")

This very short - and beautiful - chant is the Communion song for the second Sunday of Lent (and also for the Feast of the Transfiguration, one of the very few instances of this kind of double use):

The text comes from Matthew 17:9. a passage that immediately follows the story of the Transfiguration on the Mountain in that Gospel:
Visionem quam vidistis, nemini dixeritis,
donec a mortuis resurgat filius Hominis.

Tell the vision you have seen to no man,
till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

 Here's the chant score:

The Introit for today, Tibi dixit cor meum, is also used as the Introit for Transfiguration (although the other propers are different between the two days).  This is because the Second Sunday of Lent was,  I believe, at one time a commemoration of the Transfiguration, in the same way we now commemorate on the Last Sunday after Epiphany, the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday.

The Gospel reading for today in the Historic (Roman Catholic) Lectionary was taken from  Matthew 17:1-9, which contains the entire story of the Transfiguration; this certainly explains very well why the Transfiguration Introit is used on this date.   (But, oddly, the Tridentine Introit was not Tibi dixit, but Reminiscere Miserationum ("Remember Your Mercies")!  So this adjustment in the use of the Transfiguration propers here is actually quite odd; I'm guessing that we may actually be moving back in time, before the Tridentine Rite, in some way.  My hunch is that it all has something to do with the Liturgical Renewal movement during the 20th Century; I will need to do some more research on that.)

(Just for the sake of interest, in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and in the Historic Lutheran Lectionary, the Lent 2 Gospel reading was taken from Matt. 15:21–28, the story of the Canaanite woman whose daughter was "grievously vexed with a devil.")

In any case, the old, Tridentine, rite, the Communio for today was Intellige clamorem meum; here it's sung by the Schola of the Vienna Hofburgkapelle.

Rene Goupil notes that the text is taken from Psalm 5: 2-4, and offers this translation:
Understand my cry, heed my voice in prayer, my King and my God, for to thee, Lord, shall I pray.

So Visionem itself may be a new chant; again, I'll have to try to find out.

Whatever the case, Ambrosio Cotes (Villena/Valencia, 1550 - Sevilla, 1603) set the very same text, here sung, I believe, by Victoria Musicae (and directed by Josep R.Gil-Tàrrega?):

Here are all of today's chant propers, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:

Hebdomada secunda quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 26, 8.9 et 1 Tibi dixit cor meum (cum Gloria Patri) (2m59.6s - 2808 kb)
Graduale: Ps. 82, 19. V. 14 Sciant gentes (3m00.8s - 2828 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 59, 4.6 Commovisti (2m18.1s - 2160 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 118, 47.48 Meditabor (1m16.1s - 1192 kb) score
Communio: Mt. 17, 9 Visionem (2m36.4s - 2446 kb) score

Here are links to Chantblog articles about the propers for today: