Francisco de Peñalosa (±1470-1528): Sacris Solemnis

This setting of Sacris solemnis is largely a reconstruction by Bruno Turner as only one verse of Peñalosa’s setting of  the Corpus Christi hymn is known to have survived. It’s an alternatim setting in which Peñalosa’s polyphony alternates with the catchy and popular Spanish melody for the hymn. Enjoy :-)


Francisco de Peñalosa (±1470-1528): Sacris Solemnis

Performers: Westminster Cathedral Choir conducted by James O’Donnell

Text & Translation: Sacris Solemnis

Sacris solemniis iuncta sint gaudia,
Et ex praecordiis sonent praeconia:
Recedant vetera, nova sint omnia,
Corda, voces et opera.

Noctis recolitur coena novissima,
Qua Christus creditur agnum et azyma
Dedisse fratribus, iuxta legitima
Priscis indulta patribus.

Post agnum typicum, expletis epulis,
Corpus Dominicum datum discipulis,
Sic totum omnibus, quod totum singulis,
Eius fatemur manibus.

Dedit ex frugibus corporis ferculum,
Dedit ex vitibus sanguinis poculum,
Dicens: Accipite quod trado vasculum
Omnes ex eo bibite.

Sic sacrificium istud instituit,
Cuius officium committi voluit
Solis presbyteris, quibus sic congruit:
Ut sumant, et dent ceteris.

Panis angelicus fit panis hominum,
Dat panis caelicus figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis: manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus et humilis.

Te trina Deitas unaque poscimus,
Sic nos tu visita, sicut te colimus:
Per tuas semitas duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas. Amen.

Hymn at First Vespers at Corpus Christ

At these sacred festivities, let rejoicing abound,
and from our breasts let praises resound:
let old ways pass, let all be new,
in our hearts, words and all we do.

The last supper is brought to mind,
at which Christ, as we believe, gave the lamb and unleavened bread to his brethren according to the law entrusted to their ancient fathers.

After the typic lamb, the feast consumed,
the body of the Lord was given to the disciples.
with his own hands, as we confess, he gave
the whole for all, no less the whole for each.

He gave from the fruits of the earth his body as food;
he gave from the fruits of the vine his blood as a drink; saying:Take this vessel which I proffer,
drink ye all from it.

Thus this very sacrifice did he institute,
the office of which he entrusted
alone to the elders, whom it befitted thus:
to take, and to the rest to give.

The angelic bread becomes the bread of man,
the heavenly bread gives a reality beyond symbols:
O marvellous thing: the poor, lowly and humble man
now eats his Lord.

O Godhead, three and one, thee we implore,
so visit us, just as now we thee adore:
by thy paths lead us to where we aspire,
to the Light wherein thou dwellest. Amen.

English translation: Martyn Imrie © 1993

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