30 May 2013, SS. Corporis Christi (EF) 8am

30 May 2013, SS. Corporis Christi (EF)

Missa Cantata, 8:00am.

Introit: Cibavit eos, begin on C (as la)

Gradual: Oculi omnium, begin on C (as sol)

Alleluia: Caro mea, begin on D (as fa)

Sequence: Lauda Sion, begin on D (as fa)

Offertory: Sacerdotes Domini, begin on F (as fa)

Communion: Quotiescumque, begin on D (as sol)

Exposition: O salutaris, PBC, p. 103, begin on G

Tantum ergo, PBC, p. 106, begin on D (as mi)

Recessional: Ave verum, PBC, p. 92, begin on E (as fa)

Mass IV; Credo II.

The words Exsultate—jubilate of the Introit psalm-verse announce the theme of today's feast, Mass, and procession. The psalm from which these words have been taken was once sung at the feast of Tabernacles, which was celebrated in the open, in tents constructed of boughs in memory of the tent-life of Israel in the desert. Hence it also refers to the dwelling of God with us in the desert of this world, and to today's festive procession in the open over a path decorated with boughs. Today Mother Church's heart overflows with joy—with joy that extends beyond the confines of the church building. All Nature exults as well, for in a sense this is also her festal day. From her the Saviour has selected the two species, bread and wine, under the appearance of which He gives Himself to us. In 1264, under Pope Urban IV, this feast was extended to the universal Church; its liturgy was composed by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274). As for most late entrants into the Roman calendar, the melodies have been borrowed from earlier Sundays or feasts. The Introit, e.g., has received both text and melody from the Monday after Pentecost in the EF. It has three phrases:

1.      Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti alleluia:

2.      et de petra, melle saturavit eos,

3.      alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The first phrase never extends beyond the tenor, but twice descends to low a. The accented syllable of adipe carries only a single note, while the following unaccented syllable has a tristropha. We meet this construction rather frequently. (E.g., illuminatio in the Introit Dominus illuminatio mea, Dominum in the Offertory Expectans expectavi, Domine in the Offertory Domine in auxilium, and Domino in the Communion Vovete et reddite.

            The second phrase augments the initial motif of the first phrase: acdf becomes cdfg over melle; and, as further development, dgffga. Rightly does saturavit mark the summit of the piece. Before the melody reaches it, however, there is a retarding motif, like dolo on Low Sunday, downward bent, making the development of saturavit all the more brilliant. This second phrase speaks of the sweet consolation which the Holy Eucharist brings to us; of the spiritual fullness which strengthens us against all the allurements of the world.

            The three alleluia are an independent phrase. Here the ascending fourth over saturavit is answered by a descending fourth. The second alleluia closes on c, like eos above; on account of its e it can very effectively modulate to a full tone below the tonic. Joy reigns supreme!

The Gradual has two phrases in the corpus and two in the verse:

1.      Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine

2.      et tu das illis escam in tempore opportuno.

1.      (V.) Aperis tu manum tuam

2.      et imples omne animal benedictione.

In the manuscript the melody with this text is assigned to the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost. The corpus of the Gradual and the verse have the same florid closing cadence: opportunobenedictione. The first phrase of the corpus unfolds until it reaches the tenor and closes with a cadence from the fourth Sunday of Lent: mihi. Over (il)-lis the final groups of neums appear a third lower. It is surprising to see that the unaccented syllable of Aperis carries such a florid melisma. Peter Wagner thinks that the melody was originally composed for a Greek text and only later transferred to a Latin one, but others strongly disagree. A similar line of pressus, but with a finer grouping, is met with in various Tracts, e.g., the second verse of the first Tract on Good Friday over medio, and in several Graduals, e.g., on the second Sunday after Epiphany over (misericordi)-ae in the verse. Manum resembles the first half of (Domi)-ne, while imples reminds us of (tempo)-re. The entire chant should be sung in a very lively way, as befits text and melody. Commentators have noted that the Gradual and the Alleluia-verse have a complementary relationship: the Gradual is taken from the Old Testament, treats of Nature, and tells of God the Provider, who hears His creatures saying their grace before meat. The Alleluia-verse is taken from the New Testament, is a prelude to the Gospel, and treats of grace and of the Food of the soul.

The Alleluia verse has two long phrases that we will subdivide:

1.      (a) Caro mea vere est cibus,
(b) et sanguis meus vere est potus

2.      (a) qui manducat meam carnem,
       (b) et bibit meum sanguinem,
       (c) in me manet et ego in eo

The disciples on the way to Emmaus earnestly begged the Lord to remain with them, for the night was approaching. Here our Saviour not only gives us the assurance that He will remain with us, but that He will remain in us when we are united with Him in Holy Communion. Thus the indefectible Light itself, the Light which can never be dimmed, is within us. We will be filled with the life and strength from which all the saints have drawn. He truly is what our hungering and thirsting soul needs in life and still more in death. This chant expresses thanks for these graces.

Alleluia with its jubilus has the form abc; no inner relationship exists between it and the melody of the verse. Several times during the year we meet this verse melody: on Corpus Christi, on the feast of the Transfiguration, on the feast of St. Lawrence, on the feast of St. Michael (second Alleluia), and on the feast of the Holy Rosary. In the most ancient manuscripts it is found with the text Laetabitur justus: ‘The just shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in Him: and all the upright in heart shall be praised.’ The melody is truly born of the text, an energetic song of exultation, which leaves this earth far below it and soars upward—describing the joy and the delight of the singer. The original, sadly, is no longer sung. In it, the beauty and clarity of the structure, which is psalmodic in character, is better revealed. Two phrases begin with an intonation and then have a florid middle cadence. In the first phrase there follows not a mere recitation on the tenor, but a very ornate melisma with a repetition; finally comes the closing cadence. The melody of alleluia with its jubilus is joined to the last words of the verse to form the third phrase. The first part of the original expresses an independent thought, ‘The just shall rejoice in the Lord,’ whence the pause on the dominant after the middle cadence. But b towers above the two a parts. A brief survey will show the relation between the original composition and the adaptations mentioned above.


Intonation                                                                                              Middle Cadence

    Laetabitur                             justus                                                   in Domino

1. Cam mea                              vere est cibus                                       et sanguis meus

2. Candor est                            lucis                                                     aeternae

3. Levita                                   Laurentius                                            bonum opus

4. Concussum                           est mare                                               et contremuit

5. Solemnitas                            gloriosae                                              Virginis

Florid Melisma                                                                                      Closing Cadence

Et spera-                                                           -bit in eo

1. vere est potus, qui manducat                                                             meam carnem

2. et speculum sine ma-                                                                        -cu-la

3. opera-                                                                                               -tus est

4. terra                                                                                     [without closing cadence]

5. Mariae ex semine                                                                              Abrahae

SECOND PART           

Intonation                                              Middle Cadence                        Closing Cadence

    et lauda-                                           buntur                                       omnes

1. et bibit                                              meum                                       sanguinem

2. et                                                      imago                                       bonitatis

3. qui per signum                                  crucis                                       caecos

4. [irregular]                                          ubi Archangelus                        Michael descende-

5. ortae                                                 de tribu                                     Juda


THIRD PART               

    recti corde

1. in me manet et ego in eo

2. illius.

3. illuminavit.

4. -bat de caelo.

5. clara ex stirpe David.

The structure is clearest in the verse Laetabitur. Of the others, verse 2, that is, that of the feast of the Transfiguration, bears the closest resemblance. The third also is good. In 1, a new thought begins with the melisma that is repeated, thus handicapping the effectiveness of the melody; for its upward surge, about which there can be no doubt in this type of Alleluia, is thereby weakened. The third part, whose melody is formed somewhat differently, does not give the feeling of a finished organic whole in which all parts are attuned to one another.

The Sequence is the work of St. Thomas Aquinas. Its superb language eloquently expounds the dogma of the Holy Eucharist. Its accompanying melody was composed by Adam of St. Victor (+ ca. 1192). In its original form it was a hymn to the cross, for which the Alleluia Dulce lignum (14 September) supplies the initial motif (egagcbag). In the double strophe Dogma datur and quod non capis this motif returns a fourth higher (egagcbag = dcdcfedc). All the strophes close on the tonic and most of them with the formula ag fg g. Occasionally this is preceded by a b or c b. Less often we have c ag fg g or ga fg g. The individual verses close on the dominant or on c. Toward the end the closings on the dominant increase; the final double strophe has it thrice. Despite its length, this entire Sequence should be sung in about six minutes if sung at a proper tempo.

            Text with translation is in the V2H, p. 521.

The Communion antiphon has two phrases:

1.      Qui manducat carnem meam et bibit sanguinem meum in me manet

2.      et ego in eo, dicit Dominus.

The melody begins with an almost supernal simplicity. In the second half-phrase the first half-phrase is given a more elaborate form. The endings of the parts of the phrase (meam and meum) are characterized by corresponding formulas. No doubt this is the technical reason why the more important words carnem and sanguinem do not stand out so prominently. Now follows the expressive in me manet with a descending fourth, which must be given special warmth. It is answered by a rising fourth in ego in eo. Thus both thoughts are placed in strong relief: Thou in me and I in Thee. The prolonged b at the beginning of dicit, which has been avoided thus far, is to impress upon us that the word God speaks is of unfailing efficacy and harbors in itself the fullness of consolation.

            This chant is sung also on the Saturday of the third week of Easter and in Year B on 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (OF), and on Thursday of the 2nd week of Lent (EF).