16 April 2015

Bach: Oster-Oratorium, BWV 249

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Johann Sebastian Bach
Easter Oratorio (in German: Oster-Oratorium), BWV 249
Václav Luks conducts Collegium 1704 

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15 April 2015

The Simplest 'Regina coeli' in English

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A friend asked if there was a very simple setting in English of Regina coeli laetare that his musically challenged parish could learn and sing.  

The easiest by far is to use the melody sung to the Easter hymn Jesus Christ is risen today with the following text:  


Joy to thee, O Queen of heav'n!  Alleluia!
He whom it was thine to bear; Alleluia!
As He promised hath aris'n; Alleluia!
pray for us to God above. Alleluia!


The contractions heav'n and aris'n may take some getting used to, but as a text and tune it is the very simplest I know about.  

The only published version of this text with which I am familiar is to be found in the St. Ambrose Hymnal of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.  In that hymnal the text can be found as the fourth verse of the Paschal hymn Jesus Christ is risen today.

[The tune is usually called 'EASTER HYMN' and is an altered form taken from Lyra Davidica, 1708.  The metre is 77.77 with alleluias.]

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14 April 2015

Bearing Witness: Psalm 66: 16-20

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     16   Come and hear, all you who fear God;
                let me tell you what he has done for me.

     17   I cried out to him with my mouth;
                his praise was on my tongue.

     18   If I had cherished sin in my heart,
                the Lord would not have listened;

     19   but God has surely listened
                and has heard my prayer.

     20   Praise be to God,
                who has not rejected my prayer
                or withheld his love from me!

Psalm 66:16-20 
[orig. NIV]

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13 April 2015

Ēriks Ešenvalds - O Salutaris Hostia

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“When you live life like a saint, and when you die, 
this is what you hear in Paradise."




O Salutaris Hostia
Ēriks Ešenvalds

Hannah Partridge
Rachel Ambrose Evans
The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge

Stephen Layton, Conductor

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12 April 2015

Ola Gjeilo: "SUNRISE MASS"

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Audiences have been tremendously enthusiastic about Ola Gjeilo's compositions.  To my mind Gjeilo's 'Sunrise Mass' can only be compared to Morten Lauridsen's "Lux Aeterna" — and today's audiences (who are starving spiritually) need to hear both works.   May you be blest in listening to this masterpiece of beauty and faith.




Sunrise Mass 
by Ola Gjeilo
Bel Canto Choir Vilnius
Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra
Arturas Dambrauskas, conductor

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Дивна Любоевич, Пасхальный концерт

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A Blessèd Pascha 
To all of my Orthodox Christian family and friends!

Christos voskrese!
Christ is risen! 




Дивна Любоевич, Пасхальный концерт 2012.04.16
Divna Lyubojevich, Paschal Concert 16 April AD 2012

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Quasimodogeniti Sunday: Alleluia Verses

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Alleluia after First Reading:





Second Alleluia:



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Elgar's 'The Kingdom', Op. 51

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Elgar's The Kingdom, Op.51




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Serbian Orthodox Pascha Hymn

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Easter song performed by musical orchestra ''Stupovi'' 
and various Serbian singers and celebrities, 
dedicated to the resurrection of Christ, 
made as a part of an appeal for funds 
for reconstruction of medieval Serbian orthodox  
Monastery ''Pillars of Saint George''

Ljudi likujte, narodi čujte:
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Zvezde igrajte, gore pevajte,
Hristos voskrese, radost donese!
Šume šumite, vetri brujite,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Mora gudite, zveri ričite,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Pčele se rojte, a ptice pojte
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!

Anđeli stojte, pesmu utrojte,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Nebo se snizi, zemlju uzvisi,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Zvona zvonite, svima javite,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Slava ti Bože, sve ti se može,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Anđeli stojte, pesmu utrojte,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Nebo se snizi, zemlju uzvisi,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Zvona zvonite, svima javite,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!
Slava ti Bože, sve ti se može,
Hristos voskrse, radost donese!

Sv. Vladika Nikolaj

People rejoice, all nations listen:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Dance all ye stars and sing all ye mountains:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Whisper ye woods and blow all ye winds:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
O seas proclaim and roar all ye beasts:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Buzz all ye bees and sing all ye birds:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
O little lambs rejoice and be merry:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Nightingales joyous, lending your song:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Ring, O ye bells, let everyone hear:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

All angels join us, singing this song:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Come down ye heavens, draw near the earth:
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!

Glory to Thee, God Almighty!
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
Glory to Thee, God Almighty!
Christ God is risen! Let us rejoice!
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11 April 2015

Stephanie Martin: Now the Queen of Seasons

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Here is a splendid new composition by Stephanie Martin sung by the Pax Christi Chorale and students from Fr. John Redmond Catholic School and conducted by the composer herself:


Now the Queen of Seasons
Stephanie Martin, composer

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10 April 2015

Phillips Brooks Easter Hymn of the Angels

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Bishop Phillips Brooks
It is time to share with you, dear Reader, an Easter hymn by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopalian bishop, upon the neglected theme of the Holy Angels of the Day of Resurrection.  (No doubt you are familiar with his Christmas carol O Little Town of Bethlehem.)

The text of Phillips Brooks hymn printed below is taken from The Wartburg Hymnal, that remarkable hymnbook so influential upon the editors of The Hymnal 1940. The text deserves a new hymn tune, but it can be sung to the tune 'ST GERTRUDE' (Onward, Christian Soldiers) which many still know.   But for now let us read it, pray it, and ruminate upon it:


GOD hath sent His angels to the earth again,
Bringing joyful tidings to the Sons of men.
They who first at Christmas, thronged the heav'nly way,
Now beside the tomb-door sit on Easter Day.
Angels, sing His triumph as you sang His birth,
“Christ, the Lord is risen.”
“Peace, good will on earth.”

In the dreadful desert, where the Lord was tried,
There the faithful angels gathered at His side;
And when, in the garden, grief and pain and care
Bowed Him down with anguish, they were with Him there.
Angels, sing His triumph as you sang His birth,
“Christ, the Lord is risen.”
“Peace, good will on earth.”

Yet the Christ they honor, is the same Christ still,
Who, in light and darkness, did His Father's will;
And the tomb deserted, shineth like the sky,
Since He passed out from it, into victory.
Angels, sing His triumph as you sang His birth,
“Christ, the Lord is risen.”
“Peace, good will on earth.”

God has still His angels, helping at His Word,
And His faithful children, like their faithful Lord;
Soothing them in sorrow, arming them in strife,
Opening wide the tomb-doors, leading into life.
Angels, sing His triumph as you sang His birth,
“Christ, the Lord is risen.”
“Peace, good will on earth.”

Father, send Thine angels unto us, we pray;
Leave us not to wander, all alone our way;
Let them guard and guide us, whereso'er we be,
Till our resurrection brings us home to Thee.
Angels, sing His triumph as you sang His birth,
“Christ, the Lord is risen.”
“Peace, good will on earth.”


The Right Reverend Phillips Brooks
Christmas Songs and Easter Carols
1877

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Schola Magdalena: Stephanie Martin's 'Alleluia'

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Schola Magdalena sing Alleluia by Canadian composer Stephanie Martin.  The piece is sung and recorded in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Anglican) in Toronto.

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Healey Willan's HAEC DIES

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I think those in the Catholic Church who love the Anglican Patrimony would be interested in the composer Healey Willan's contributions to an older Basilian hymnal entitled The New Saint Basil Hymnal.   This hymnal bears the Imprimatur of H.E. James Cardinal McGuigan of Toronto.  

Willan's Mass of Saint Teresa (No. 227) is included as one of the congregational Mass settings in Latin. There is also a very singable four-part setting of HAEC DIES for Easter at No. 43.  Willan's HAEC DIES is an elegant composition that a quartet, a modest chorus or a large choir could sing successfully.  Anyone familiar with Willan's Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena in THE HYMNAL 1940 would find the musical idiom of The Mass of Saint Teresa very familiar.  (I would think that Ordinariate communities would be well served by having in common a congregational setting in Latin by such an august Anglican composer.)  

It is not as easy to find copies of The New Saint Basil Hymnal as once it was, but copies still can be found from time to time on eBay and online booksellers.  

Healey Willan's The Mass of St. Theresa can be purchased separately from the Healey Willan Society (Fr. Scott Haynes of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago)at this LINK.

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Fr. Philips' Easter Hymn

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Please head on over to Fr. Christopher G. Phillips' blog 'Atonement Online' and do read his splendid Paschal hymn 'God our Father, Lord of Glory' (which is to be sung to the vigorous Welsh hymn tune 'CWM RHONDDA').  

Allow me to share with you the first verse so as to whet your appetite for more:

God our Father, Lord of glory,
Thanks and praise we give to Thee;
In Thy mercy to our fathers,
Thou didst bring them through the sea.
So by water hast Thou saved us,
|: Now from Adam's sin set free. :|

I sincerely hope that this hymn will be sung in Eastertide by those of us of the Anglican diaspora wherever we may be. 

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09 April 2015

St. Cyril of Alexandria on the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man


“Here observe, I pray, and mark accurately the Saviour’s words. For while it was easy to have said, “That there was such and such a rich man whoever it might be,” He does not say so, but simply calls him a rich man; while He mentions the poor man by name. 

“What conclusion, therefore, must we draw? That the rich man as being uncompassionate was nameless in God’s presence; for He has somewhere said by the voice of the Psalmist, concerning those who do not fear Him, “I will not make mention of their names with My lips” [Ps. 15:4]; while, as I said, the poor man is mentioned by name by the tongue of God.”



                      

St. Cyril of Alexandria

 Homily 111
  Commentary on St. Luke's Gospel

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Jean Lhéritier: Surrexit pastor bonus

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Jean Lhéritier's Paschal motet Surrexit Pastor Bonus (The Good Shepherd Has Arisen) would have been sung during Holy Mass on Easter Day in the Julian Chapel in the Vatican. It was composed sometime before 1536. The motet is conducted by David Skinner and sung by the choir Magdala.

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Scheidt: Surrexit Christus hodie

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Today is Christ arisen

Surrexit Christus hodie
Samuel Scheidt, composer

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Matthew Curtis sings Whitacre's Alleluia

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Alleluia
Matthew J. Curtis, all vocal parts
Eric Whitacre, composer

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07 April 2015

Easter Tuesday: Gloria from Missa Paschalis

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Kwartet Wokalny Tempus
Gloria from Gorczycki's 'Missa Paschalis'
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06 April 2015

Von Hildebrand: An Excerpt from 'Transformation in Christ'

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Action has both dignity and necessity in our lives

Action, too, possesses a high dignity of its own; it embodies a specific mode of representing God. That man is an effigy of God is also manifest in the fact that of all earthly creatures he alone is able to change and to shape his environment by a free and conscious choice of purposes; that the right has been conferred on him to perfect outward nature and to share in the creative rulership of God. This is implicit in all action as such; in a specifically high and pure form it is expressed in moral conduct on the one hand, in creative art on the other.

The status viae as a whole is characterized by a realization of things not yet real, a production of new things, a tension inherent in tasks awaiting their fulfillment and aims claiming to be accomplished. Moreover, for man in his fallen state, the process of sanctification - of a transformation in Christ - is dependent on a systematic effort towards a moral formation of self and is thus inseparable from a set of ends and means. Consequently, that process is by no means free from that tension towards a purpose to be realized which we have seen to be specifically opposed to contemplation. This aspect of purposefulness attaches both to our effort towards self-perfection and to the works of charity organically issuing from that peerless virtue. We are, in statu viae, not merely being but becoming, subject to the law of change; wherefore, even in our innermost selves we are tied to the world of action and the tension that goes with action.

Yet our primary attitude must be receptive

Nevertheless, in spite of the high metaphysical dignity of action, in spite of man's specific mission of activity in statu viae, in spite of the requisiteness of action, even for the attainment of our eternal goal, the contemplative attitude ranks higher than any transient activity, however noble.

The primary attitude of man, as a creature, is a receptive one. To let ourselves be apprehended by God, to lay our soul open to the influx of God's eternal Word, to expose ourselves to the sword of the love of Christ - therein lies what is most proper to our essence. Our transformation in Christ, again, means primarily our undergoing a process of transformation by Him; He is to engrave the seal of His countenance upon our soul. Our basic attitude remains a receptive one. Thus, too, it is our emptying ourselves before the face of God, our abandoning ourselves to His operation to be filled by His presence, the vacare et videre ("to rest and to see") that effects a regeneration of our souls, enabling us to realize the further elements of contemplation, the amare et laudare ("to love and to praise") in full completeness and depth. Unless we again and again drink of the water "springing up into life everlasting" (John 4:14), the source of true and valid life in us is bound to dry up.


Dietrich von Hildebrand

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