Sunday, 23 December 2018

The Great Antiphons: O Emmanuel

Today is the seventh and final Great O AntiphonO Emmanuel.  As always, this is the antiphon sung just before the Magnificat at Vespers. It is the last, because tomorrow's Vespers, on Christmas Eve, is the First Vespers of Christmas.


O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Here is the final part of Pärt's Sieben Magnificat Antiphonen.




O Immanuel, unser König und Lehrer, 
du Hoffnung und Heiland der Völker: 
o komm, eile und schaffe uns Hilfe, 
du unser Herr und unser Gott.

O Emmanuel, our king and counselor, 
Thou hope and saviour of the nations: 
O come, make haste to help us, 
Thou our Lord and our God, our God.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

The Great Antiphons: O Rex Gentium

Today's Great Antiphon is O Rex Gentium.



O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

And here is Arvo Pärt's setting:




O König aller Völker, ihre Erwartung und Sehnsucht,
Schlußstein, der den Bau zusammenhält,
o komm und errette den Menschen,
den du aus Erde gebildet!


O king of all nations, their expectation and desire,
Keystone, which holds all things together:
O come and save mankind,
whom thou hast formed from clay! 

Friday, 21 December 2018

The Great Antiphons: O Oriens

Today's Great Antiphon is O Oriens.


O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Here is Arvo Pärt's setting:


O Morgenstern, Glanz des unversehrten Lichtes:
Der Gerechtigkeit strahlende Sonne:
o komm und erleuchte, die da sitzen in Finsternis,
und im Schatten des Todes.
O morning star, incandescence of pure light, 
radiant sun of righteousness; 
O come and enlighten those who sit there in darkness 
and in the shadow of death.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

The Great Antiphons: O Clavis David

Today's Great Antiphon is O Clavis David - O Key of David.

As ever, this is sung at Vespers, just before the Magnificat.





O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

And here, once again, is Arvo Pärt's setting.



O Schlüssel Davids, Zepter des Hauses Israel,
du öffnest, und niemand kann schließen,
du schließt, und keine Macht vermag zu öffnen:
o komm und öffne den Kerker der Finsternis und die Fessel des Todes.

O David's key, sceptre of the house of Israel,
That which thou openest, none can secure,
That which thou securest, no power may open;
O come and unlock the prison of darkness and the fetters of death.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

The Great Antiphons: O Radix Jesse

Today's in the series of Great Antiphons is O Radix Jesse.

As usual, here is the chant, as sung at Vespers before the Magnificat:



O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

And here is Arvo Pärt's setting:


O Sproß aus Isais Wurzel, gesetzt zum Zeichen für die Völker,
vor dir verstummen die Herrscher der Erde,
dich flehen an die Völker:
o komm und errette uns, erhebe dich, säume nicht länger.

O Scion of Isaiah's Line, predestined to be a sign for the nations,
the rulers of the earth fall silent before thee,
the nations cry unto thee:
O come and save us, bestir thyself, delay no longer.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

The Great Antiphons: O Adonai

Today's antiphon is O Adonai. Here is the traditional Gregorian Chant version, as sung at Vespers. (For an introduction to the Great Antiphons, see my previous post, here)



O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

And here is Arvo Pärt's version (in German):



O Adonai, der Herr und Führer des Hauses Israel,
im flammenden Dornbusch bist du dem Mose erschienen
und hast ihm auf dem Berg das Gesetz gegeben:
O komm und befreie uns mit deinem starken Arm.


Adonai, the Lord and leader of the house of Israel,
In the burning bush hast thou appeared unto Moses
And given him the law upon the mountain:
O come and deliver us with thy powerful arm.


Monday, 17 December 2018

The Great O Antiphons: O Sapientia

As part of our Advent ritual, we always sing and pray around our Advent wreath. As well as the increasing number of candles lit on the Advent wreath, we have the gradual arrival of all the family to add to the build up. The prayers include the collect from the Sunday Mass, as well as the invocation of all our patron saints etc, singing consists of the Alma redemptoris mater, and O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

This hymn is of course a metrical adaptation of (five of) the Great Antiphons; the antiphons for Vespers for the week preceding Christmas, sung just before the Magnificat.

The Great Antiphons start today.


I was going to blog about both the Great Antiphons and the hymn, but find that the Wikipedia entries on both cover all that I was going to say, and indeed more than I knew.

The entry on the Great O Antiphons is here; there is only one thing I would argue with, and that is the suggestion that the reverse acrostic, Ero Cras, is a coincidence. There is no place for coincidence in my theology...

The entry on O Come, O Come Emmanuel is here. I was fascinated to read Neale's original version; I had only known the Ancient and Modern version.

Here is the chant version of O Sapientia, the first of the Great Antiphons, sung at Vespers today.


O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Here is Arvo Pärt's setting (in German)


O Weisheit
O Weisheit, hervorgegangen aus dem Munde des Höchsten, die Welt umspannst du von einem Ende zu andern, in Kraft und Milde ordnest du alles: O komm und offenbare uns den Weg der Weisheit und der Einsicht, O Weisheit.

O Wisdom
O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, Thou encirclest the world from one end to the other, Thou orderest all things with might and mercy: O come to us and reveal the way of wisdom and of understanding O Wisdom.