Friday, 25 August 2017, Solemnity of St Louis, King (Archdiocese of St Louis) EF 7pm
Introit: Os justi
Gradual: Justus ut palma
Alleluia: Beatus vir
Offertory: Veritas mea
Gaude mater Ecclesia (Hymn)
Communion: Beatus servus
Recessional: Salve Regina, PBC, p. 116
Mass IV, Credo I
The Introit has three phrases:
- Os justi meditabitur sapientiam,
- et lingua ejus loquetur judicium
- lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius.
We immediately recognize the identical endings of the first and third phrases. With a closer look we discover that the melody over lex Dei ejus at the beginning of the third phrase is a somewhat abbreviated form of that over meditabitur sapi-(entiam). This creates a parallelism between these two phrases, diverting attention from the textual parallelism existing between the first and second phrases. In fact, the second phrase with its range from high 6 b (the only one found
here) to low c, forms a certain contrast with the first and third phrases. The tonic of the sixth mode (f) plays an important role in all the phrases. Over sapientiam the principal and the secondary accents are short, the following syllable in each instance having more notes. The groups over (cor)-de ipsius might be divided into two divisions of three notes each. The chords g and a would produce a more pronounced harmonic effect. The rhythm 2+2+2, however, is more effective. Quiet, solemnity, clarity proper to "wisdom" characterize this song, filled as it is with the peace that comes from God.
The Gradual has three phrases in the corpus and two in the verse:
- Justus ut palma florebit:
- sicut cedrus Libani
- multiplicabitur in domo Domini.
- V. Ad annunciandum mane misericordiam tuam
- et veritatem tuam per noctem.
As we have noted on other occasions, this Gradual gives its name to a melody type found in many Mode 2 Graduals, i.a., Angelis suis on the 1st Sunday of Lent and Requiem aeternam in the Mass for the Dead. We sing another one, Exaltabit cor meum, for the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Several scholars have done extensive analysis of the melodic structure; Dom Johner offers an overview of it in his commentary. You can find that in my notes for the first Sunday of Lent.
The Offertory has two phrases:
- Veritas mea et misericordia mea cum ipso
- et in nomine meo exaltabitur cornu ejus
This piece marks the only place in the Graduale where the Fa clef is on the fourth line. This would indicate that the melody has a strong tendency to descend. The first half of the first phrase with a range of but five note moves in intervals of seconds and thirds (repercussion); the second half has one interval of a third, with the other intervals seconds. Over the word ipso the melody modulates to a full step below the tonic —a turn much favored by the second mode. The second phrase has a range of an octave and comparatively large intervals; there are, however, fewer neumes on individual syllables than in the first phrase.
The melody over -cordia recurs over mea, and in an abbreviated form over ejus. The melody is solemn and well sustained, which is all the more fitting particularly when the word of God is quoted. The providence of God, portrayed by the triumphant ring of the melody with its major chord over nomine meo, is evident in the life of today’s Blessed.
The old manuscripts assign this number to the feast of Pope St. Marcellus.
The traditional Vespers hymn for the feast of St Louis is Gaude Mater Ecclesia. The Latin text and melody are from the Solesmes propers supplement to the new Antiphonale Monasticum. The English translation is taken from the newest book, Blessed Louis, by a young scholar at Dartmoth, Ceclia Gaposchkin, whom I assist with Office manuscript interpretation queries from time to time. The translation, along with my own changes to more closely reflect the Latin text, are used with her and her co-author’s kind permission. You will note the translation retains the meter of the Latin text, and also for the most part the rhyming scheme.
The Communion antiphon has two phrases:
- Beatus servus quem cum venerit Dominus invenerit vigilantem
- Amen dico vobis, super omnia bona sua constituet eum.
This straightforward melody rises over an octave to a high point on ve-nerit, the coming of the Lord, which is the true destination of our lives and the ultimate purpose of celebrating the liturgy. We face East, from whence the Lord will come again. It descends to a point of quiet calm, but to a cadence without resolution as the watching continues. A happy servant of God is one who is ever vigilant for this coming and dedicates all of life’s endeavours toward this end. As the melody again descends to a quiet point but without resolution, we are reminded that being watchful over the good things of the Lord does not have us reach a point of complacency. The vigilance continues until we reach the final goal of life with the Lord in heaven.