It was back when I was pretty new to the Maternal Heart of Mary Church, Lewisham, that I was asked to use my Gregorian chant typesetting skills to make up a booklet for a new Pilgrimage planned for the feast of St Mary of the Cross (Mackillop).
I used the same source files as A New Book of Old Hymns, then as I updated them I inadvertently spoiled the page numbering on the old Pilgrim’s Primer.
Both books use the old and rather obsolete OpusTeX. Both could do with a complete knock-down rebuild, except that they are still handy as they are. Preliminary experiments with gregorio have shown that there would be a lot of page layout to change, but the Mass Books in the Parramatta Apostolate of the FSSP show that gregorio can work very well.
So, that’s the story – harking back to when I would back up my files on floppy disks and use an Atari Portfolio to do the tedious data entry, neume by neume, for each hymn. Now we have databases of gabc files all ready and waiting to go.
And, no, I won’t be there on the Pilgrimage this year. I’ll be helping with the sung Mass at Lawson instead – 5pm. Also being 8 months pregnant makes the walking a bit much – hey, I’m not even sure I’ll be using the choir loft at Mass – sounds easier to sing from the back pews this time.
The Te Deum was anonymously paraphrased into German but later attributed to Ignaz Franz, then translated into English by Clarence Walworth from New York. I’ve heard that it is the standard post-benediction hymn in the United States.
Liturgically, there are times when the Te Deum is not sung, in times with a more penitential flavour like Lent, so Holy God is not quite a “hymn for all seasons”. But pretty close.
Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy scepter claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.
Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.
Lo! the apostolic train
Join the sacred Name to hallow;
Prophets swell the loud refrain,
And the white robed martyrs follow;
And from morn to set of sun,
Through the Church the song goes on.
Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
While in essence only One,
Undivided God we claim Thee;
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.
Thou art King of glory, Christ:
Son of God, yet born of Mary;
For us sinners sacrificed,
And to death a tributary:
First to break the bars of death,
Thou has opened Heaven to faith.
From Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
We believe that Thou shalt come
In the dreaded doomsday morning;
When Thy voice shall shake the earth,
And the startled dead come forth.
*Therefore do we pray Thee, Lord:
Help Thy servants whom, redeeming
By Thy precious blood out-poured,
Thou hast saved from Satan’s scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
In the glory of the blest.*
Spare Thy people, Lord, we pray,
By a thousand snares surrounded:
Keep us without sin today,
Never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
Never, Lord, abandon me.
Right now our family just does two hours, Prime and Compline. I’ve mentioned the hymn for Compline earlier. We did try singing Prime from the regular Divine Office, but found it a bit difficult. Instead we settled on the Little Office version. It’s the same each day, with minor seasonal variations for Advent and Christmas.
The Divine Office has different hymns for each hour: Jam Lucis for Prime, Nunc Sancte Nobis for Terce, Rector Potens for Sext, Rerum Deus for None and Te Lucis for Compline. Matins, Lauds and Vespers have different hymns for each day of the week and different feast days and seasons. The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary has much fewer hymns and most of them to the one tune.
This is the hymn for Prime, Terce, Sext, None and Compline:
Memento, rerum Conditor,
Nostri quod olim corporis,
Sacrata ab alvo Virginis
Nascendo formam sumpseris.
Maria, Mater gratiæ,
Dulcis parens clementiæ,
Tu nos ab hoste protege
Et mortis hora suscipe.
Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine,
Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
In sempiterna sæcula. Amen.
Remember, O Creator Lord,
that in the Virgin’s sacred womb
Thou wast conceived, and of her flesh
didst our mortality assume.
Mother of grace, O Mary blest,
to thee, sweet fount of love, we fly;
shield us through life, and take us hence
to thy dear bosom when we die.
O Jesu! born of Mary bright!
Immortal glory be to Thee;
praise to the Father infinite,
and Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.
Matins and Lauds have slightly longer hymns, but same tune.
Some collections of chant have a shorter version, just taking the last two verses of Memento, as sung in this clip from youtube:
So, for singing along, here is the sheet music: MementoRerum
You might remember last weeks diversion into the differences in chant hymns introduced by Pope Urban VIII. Here is the earlier, medieval wording: MementoSalutis. Which is also the same wording that William Byrd used in a beautiful polyphonic arrangement.
Those pages are from a book I was working on which is up at github/veromary/littleOffice. A booklet with Prime and Compline from the little office, plus the text of the Gospel Canticles, Benedictus and Magnificat.
Here are recordings of our family singing compline.
Lastly, there is another version of the Latin sung by Giovanni Vianini’s choirs. This is the one found in the Monastic Antiphonale, used by Benedictine monasteries. The story of why there are two versions of so many hymns can be read: URBAN VIII AND THE REVISION OF THE LATIN HYMNAL by Vincent A. Lenti. Basically, we had all these hymns for a thousand years or so, then in the 1500s, the humanist Pope Urban VIII thought “that the old hymns were rather tasteless and inelegant and could be improved with a reworking of the Latin texts”. The Benedictines and other groups (including the Vatican) got permission to stick with the old hymns, so that’s why they’re in the Monastic books. The rest of the Roman Rite got the humanist “improved” versions. One of the wonderful changes with the whole recent overhaul of the liturgy was undoing Pope Urban VIII’s changes and going back to the original hymns. Unfortunately, the Extraordinary Form uses 1962 books, which still have the “improved” humanist versions. So that’s what I’ve given here.
“Ambrose and Prudentius took something classical and made it Christian; the revisers and their imitators took something Christian and tried to make it classical. The result may be pedantry, and sometimes perhaps poetry; but it is not piety.” — Rev. Joseph Connelly in Hymns of the Roman Liturgy, The Newmann Press, West minster, Maryland, 1957.