John Taverner (c1490-1545): Dum transisset Sabbatum I

Annibale Carracci (b1560 d1609) Holy Women at Christ's Tomb Date  c1590 Oil on Canvas

Dum transisset Sabbatum (When the Sabbath was past) was one of Taverner’s most greatly admired pieces of music during his lifetime and subsequently. There are several reasons for this, one of them being that it was one of the first pieces of music to adopt what was at the time a startling format of setting to polyphony that which heretofore had been chanted. Another is the close relationship of the text to music and the soaring musical phrases that seem to flow through the piece. It’s one of my favourite Taverner compositions. It’s performed here by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, under Stephen Darlington. You’ll find it, the text, and a translation to English below the fold. Enjoy :-).


[audio:|titles=Dum transisset Sabbatum1 – Taverner]

Text: Dum transisset Sabbatum I

Dum transisset Sabbatum,

Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi

et Salome emerunt aromata,

ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Alleluia.

Et valde mane una Sabbatorum

veniunt ad monumentum orto iam sole.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

Mark 16: 1, 2; Third Respond at Matins on Easter Day

When the Sabbath was past,

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices,

that they might anoint Jesus. Alleluia.

And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

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