Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Anglican Chant XXXIV: Psalm 43, Give Sentence with me (Turle)

A nice Anglican Chant tune from Turle:




Here's the Psalm text from the Coverdale Psalter:
1  Give sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause against the ungodly people *
 O deliver me from the deceitful and wicked man.
2  For thou art the God of my strength, why hast thou put me from thee *
 and why go I so heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?
3  O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me *
 and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling.
4  And that I may go unto the altar of God, even unto the God of my joy and gladness *
 and upon the harp will I give thanks unto thee, O God, my God.
5  Why art thou so heavy, O my soul *
 and why art thou so disquieted within me?
6  O put thy trust in God *
 for I will yet give him thanks, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.


"Give sentence with me" is translated as "Vindicate me" in the ESL translation; the Latin incipit is "Judica me, Deus."  I am not certain about  the derivation of the "give sentence with me" idiom; it's cetainly unusual in our context.  Will try to find out more about it.

James Turle "was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey from 1831-1882."  The Abbey has a full biography of Turle, here.

While writing this post, I found an interesting Dutch Anglican Chant site as well!   There are pages for each composer, listing their compositions by key and other classifications.   Here is Turle's individual page.


Thursday, November 02, 2017

An All Saints' Day Matins Responsory: Audivi vocem de caelo ("I heard a voice coming from heaven")

While searching for something recently (I don't remember what!), I came across this beautiful Taverner composition. CPDL describes it as the "8th responsory at Matins on All Saints. Source of text is Jeremiah 40:10 and Matthew 25:6."

It's a beautiful piece of alternatim:  composed melody alternating with plainchant.




Here's the full text; the translation is via CPDL at the link above.
Audivi vocem de caelo venientem: venite omnes virgines sapientissime;
oleum recondite in vasis vestris dum sponsus advenerit.
Media nocte clamor factus est: ecce sponsus venit.
I heard a voice coming from heaven: come all wisest virgins;
fill your vessels with oil, for the bridegroom is coming.
In the middle of the night there was a cry: behold the bridegroom comes.


Whenever I come across a new work sourced from the Breviary, I check Divinum Officium to see where the original chant came from, and learn more about its context - and also sometimes to get a translation.

This time, the responsory wasn't there - at least, not in this form.  The "Trident 1570" version of the Breviary at Divinum Officium has this for the 8th Responsory:
R. Media nocte clamor factus est:
* Ecce sponsus venit, exíte obviam ei.
V. Prudéntes vírgines, aptate vestras lámpades.
R. Ecce sponsus venit, exíte obviam ei.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Ecce sponsus venit, exíte óbviam ei. 
Translated there as:
R. At midnight there was a cry made:
* Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.
V. Trim your lamps, O ye wise virgins.
R. Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.

None of the other versions of the Breviary (Pre-Trident Monastic, Trident 1910, etc.) had the Audivi vocem incipit, either.  

But, several other composers - Tallis, Duarte Lobo, Shepherd - had also set the Audivi vocem version of the responsory, so I knew it existed somewhere at that time.   Checking the Sarum Breviary at McMaster.ca (PDF) solved the problem; there it was, as the 8th Responsory at Matins of All Saints.

Here's the score from that PDF; you can follow along with the chant sections of the Taverner piece and see how it sounded.



Here is Thomas Tallis' setting, sung by the wonderful New York Polyphony:




Not quite sure about Jeremiah as a source, though!  That's this:
As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken.
Seems a bit tenuous, to me.  But, I will look further at this; I'm interested in its Advent-ish them anyway, and why that shows up here.  Also quite interesting is that so many composers set this rather obscure - although very beautiful - responsory; would like to find out more about that, too.

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