John Sheppard (±1515-1558): Æterne Rex altissime

The hymn Aeterne Rex altissime (Eternal king most high) is rather more than a thousand years old. It was first cited by the Saxon monk, theologian and poet  Gottschalk of Orbais (808 AD -867 AD) and included the 9th-century New Hymnal.  Sheppard’s setting would have been intended to be sung at Vespers on Ascension Day, it’s for five voices and based on its style I think he must have composed it during Queen Mary’s reign rather than during the reign of Henry VII. Enjoy :-).


John Sheppard (±1515-1558): Æterne Rex altissime

Aeterne rex altissime
Redemptor et fidelium,
Quo mors soluta deperit,
Datur triumphus gratiae.

Eternal king most high
and redeemer of your faithful
through whom death in ruin perishes
and the triumph of grace is bestowed.

Scandens tribunal dexterae
Patris potestas omnium
Collata est Jesu caelitus
Quae non erat humanitus.

As you ascend the throne at your Father’s
right hand, all power is conferred
on you, Jesus, in heaven
which you had not among men.

Tu esto nostrum gaudium
Qui es futurus praemium;
Sit nostra in te gloria
Per cuncta semper saecula.

Be now our joy,
who are our future reward;
and be our glory ever in you
throughout all ages.

Gloria tibi Domine
Qui scandis supra sidera,
Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula. Amen.

Hymn at First Vespers on Ascension Day

Glory to you, Lord,
who ascend today above the stars,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit
for endless ages. Amen.

Performers: The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers

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