Friday, 15 January 2016

Advent Vespers - Omnipotens sermo tuus and Psalm 112

The final antiphon for the Fourth Sunday is based on a verse from Chapter 18 of the Book of Wisdom

Omnipotens sermo tuus, Domine, a regalibus sedibus veniet, alleluia.
Thy almighty word, O Lord, shall come from thy royal throne, alleluia.

Wisdom 18:15
Omnipotens sermo tuus de caelo a regalibus sedibus durus debellator in mediam exterminii terram prosilivit
Thy almighty word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction.

The recording is a good one, our enunciation is clear.

Praise the Lord, ye children: praise ye the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, from henceforth now and for ever.
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of praise.
The Lord is high above all nations; and his glory above the heavens.
Who is as the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high:
And looketh down on the low things in heaven and in earth?
Raising up the needy from the earth, and lifting up the poor out of the dunghill:
That he may place him with princes, with the princes of his people.
Who maketh a barren woman to dwell in a house, the joyful mother of children.

Then the Gloria Patri followed by a repeat of Omnipotens sermo tuus.

Advent Vespers - Erunt prava and Psalm 111

The third antiphon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent begins with a quote from Isaiah 40:4 and continues by exhorting the Lord to hurry-up:
The crooked ways shall be made straight, and the rough smooth: come, O Lord, and delay not, alleluia.

Erunt prava in directa, et aspera in vias planas: veni, Domine, et noli tardare, alleluia.

Then followed Psalm 111:  Beatus vir qui timet Dominum

Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in his commandments.
His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.
To the righteous a light is risen up in darkness: he is merciful, and compassionate and just.
Acceptable is the man that sheweth mercy and lendeth: he shall order his words with judgment:
Because he shall not be moved for ever.
The just shall be in everlasting remembrance: he shall not hear the evil hearing. His heart is ready to hope in the Lord:
His heart is strengthened, he shall not be moved until he look over his enemies.
He hath distributed, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever and ever: his horn shall be exalted in glory.

The wicked shall see, and shall be angry, he shall gnash with his teeth and pine away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.

Unfortunately, the recording wasn't good enough to use.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Advent Vespers - Ecce veniet and Psalm 110

The second antiphon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent follows: Ecce veniet desideratus cunctis gentibus: et replebitur gloria domus Domini, alleluia. 

Lo! the Desired of all nations will come: and the house of the Lord shall be filled with glory, alleluia.

The antiphon is based on Haggai 2:8, with the speaker changed from God to the monks:
"And I will move all nations: AND THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME: and I will fill this house with glory: saith the Lord of hosts".

There is an interesting discussion of the translation on the blog of an American Benedictine who notes that the key word here is desideratus and that the Vulgate follows more closely the Hebrew than the Septuagint Greek in rendering the Hebrew chemddah,  (delight, desire). 

“Normally, this is understood as a prophecy of 'precious things' or 'treasure' pouring into the temple, and this is corroborated in this same verse of Haggai by references to silver and gold, which are obviously things desired and delightful for those who own them. 
In the context of the Advent liturgy, with its emphasis on the world's longing to be redeemed from the slavery of sin and death, and the theme of the opening of salvation to the Gentiles, this antiphon is now referring to Jesus Christ as the One longed-for by all nations.”

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; in the council of the just: and in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills.
His work is praise and magnificence: and his justice continueth for ever and ever.
He hath made a remembrance of his wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord:
He hath given food to them that fear him. He will be mindful for ever of his covenant:
He will shew forth to his people the power of his works.
That he may give them the inheritance of the Gentiles: the works of his hands are truth and judgment.
All his commandments are faithful: confirmed for ever and ever, made in truth and equity.
He hath sent redemption to his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever. Holy and terrible is his name:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever.

Then Glory be followed by a repeat of the Antiphon.

Advent Vespers - Canite tuba and Psalm 109

Vespers began with Father Andrew chanting 'Deus in adjutorium meum intende' (O God come to my aid) and everyone answers 'Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina'. (O Lord, make haste to help me). This is based on Psalm 70:2 and was originally introduced at the start of prayer in the west by John Cassian in the fourth century. Saint Benedict had used Cassian’s prayer at the start of most offices and for tasks such as weekly service in the kitchen.
See Kevin Peterson's blogpost at Compline Underground

Canite tuba in Sion, qui a prope est dies Domini. Ecce venit, ecce venit ad salvandum nos
Sound the trumpet in Sion, for the day of the Lord is near. See, he is coming to save us

Then into Psalm 109
The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand:
Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
The Lord will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.
With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength: in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee.
The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.
The Lord at thy right hand hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall judge among nations, he shall fill ruins: he shall crush the heads in the land of the many.
He shall drink of the torrent in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

The Antiphon Canite tuba is repeated. We tried to get urgency into ‘ecce venit ad salvandum nos’ but it isn’t obvious in the recording.

Father Andrew has a fine voice.

Advent Vespers - Procession

We sang Advent Vespers in St Mary's church in Stirling. Father Andrew Kingham officiated

We started the Processional Hymn in the doorway from the vestry so it sounded distant and had little reverberation from the surroundings.
This was quite effective in communicating that we were coming from a distance.

Then we began to enter the nave and by the end of verse 2 the reverberations sounded better, as you can hear.
By verse three the building was making us sound like chant experts.
Those Pugin boys really knew how to build churches with great acoustics for Chant.

We processed to the back of the church by way of the north aisle, then up towards the Altar along the centre aisle. Our voices hardly changed until we walked past the hand-held phone microphone at verse seven, when you can hear our individual voices as we rustled by.
We sang the final Gaude in front of the Altar, before ascending to our places, bowing first to the Tabernacle and then to each other, after we had climbed the Sanctuary stairs in twos.

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel
The hymn is the Latin original of Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel and lists the seven 'O Antiphons’ used in the days before Christmas. The congregational Booklet had both the Latin text and the translation of the hymn and described the ancient origin of the O Antiphons. These dated from the earliest centuries of the Catholic Faith.

The congregational Booklet also explained that the first letter of each Antiphon spelled the Latin for 'Tomorrow I will come' (Ero Cras).
Clever, these long-ago Benedictines who arranged the verses so.

December 23: O Emmanuel (O God who is with us)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show, And cause us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Adonai, Lord of might; Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the law, In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free, Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save, And give them victory o'er the grave.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David come; And open wide our heav'nly home ;
Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind, All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease; Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel; Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Cambuskenneth and Saint Luke

The annual Una Voce Mass at The Abbey of St. Mary of Cambuskenneth was held on the 18th October. Our Schola had assumed that this was to be the same as the regular Missa de Angelis we pray at the monthly 5.00pm Latin Mass in Holy Spirit church.
But them Alan explained that the Mass was to be for the Feast of Saint Luke. So we had to have an online rehearsal using this expert:

Here is another version
We also had an early practice meeting which had visiting tourists standing outside and saying how much they enjoyed our singing. We milled about after our practice:
Despite my forgetting to list the Mass in Stirling’s local Parish bulletins, the Tower was full of worshipers. Refreshingly, most were younger than me, there was even an impatient toddler.
Here is the Altar before Mass:
I had invited the County Archaeologist who had expressed an interest after accompanying me on my ‘Catholic Stirling’ tour. I gave him a Missal with the Latin and English texts for the Mass and marked the passages for St Luke, as well as the translation of Adoro te Devote. But when I looked over to see how he was faring, he had closed the Missal and was just watching and listening. I later apologised to him that I had been a very poor host, leaving him alone while I joined the Schola. He countered that he had enjoyed the Mass and had ‘lost himself’ in the occasion.
When I was a young altar boy we learned the basic Latin prayers and where to stand, kneel etc.
Then I was promoted to Acolyte. This involved carrying one of the two candles when the priest read the Gospel. As a boy, I saw this as a symbolic action to light the Bible so that it could be read by the Priest. I was sure that the name Acolyte had something to do with providing lyte.

Now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things … so I know that akolouthos means an attendant. But deep down, I still think that it refers to the guys with the candles who give light.

These days, this task can be accomplished using the 'assistive light' function on a smart-phone, as Martin demonstrates. Father Emerson can read the Epistle despite the gloomy interior of the Tower:
Martin even invented a solemn rubric as he transferred the smart-phone to the Gospel side, moving the longer way and bowing before ascending to the Altar, where he joined the server in the responses. All very dignified, Lex Credendi and all that.

The Schola's voices sounded strong and united as the old stones echoed to our chant. 
I forgot to press record.....

Saturday, 11 October 2014

James MacMillan - Our Patron

We were invited to sing at a Dominican Rite Requiem Mass in the Catholic chaplaincy at Edinburgh University on 23 October 2013. The practice for this was a challenge since the Dominican style of chant is very ‘pared down’ compared to our more Benedictine style.

The Mass commemorated the founding benefactors of the Chaplaincy, Canon John Gray, Marc-AndrĂ© Sebastien Raffalovich, and Mrs Charlotte Jefferson-Tytus. with a sung Requiem in the Dominican rite. Mass was celebrated by Fr Lawrence Lew who writes:

“Last Saturday’s Missa Cantata was celebrated in this modern chapel, which has received seven major architectural awards so far. This was the first time the ancient rite of the Order has been said in it, and it was probably also the first public Dominican rite Mass in the city for almost five decades. Mass was sung by fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., who is assistant Catholic chaplain at St Albert’s, and two students of Edinburgh University served as acolytes; the students had ably mastered in just two days the intricacies of this role in the Dominican rite. The sermon was preached by the Prior, fr. Dermot Morrin, O.P., in which he reflected on Canon Gray’s conversion to Catholicism having glimpsed the simple reverent beauty of the Mass, and Raffalovich’s love of beauty and the Dominican charism.

A Schola Gregoriana comprised of singers from Stirling-based ‘Cantors of the Holy Rude’ sang the Mass propers and ordinary from the Dominican Gradual. They were led by an alumnus of St Albert’s Catholic Chaplaincy, James MacMillan CBE”.

Alan took the opportunity to ask James MacMillan to be our Patron and he agreed.

Here we are led by our soon-to-be Patron (wearing suits rather than soutanes)

So we are now:

Cantors of the Holy Rude
Patron, James MacMillan CBE.

These photos were all taken by Martin.