Posts Tagged ‘ Advent ’

Veni, Veni Immanuel – The Gesualdo Six

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December 24, 2015

14 Propter hoc dabit Dominus ipse vobis signum : ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen ejus Emmanuel.
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

veni veni emmanuel Of all the Advent and Christmas music that I love Veni, Veni Immanuel is very high up on my list of favourites. No doubt this is party because I have very happy memories of singing it as a child but I also love the sense of anticipation and hope that this 12thcentury lyrical paraphrase of the famous 'O'antiphons expresses so well.  (The antiphons are considerably older than the hymn they date from the 8th century and are each named after a name or attribute of Christ mentioned in the bible). The name Immanuel translates as 'I shall soon be with you' while the hymn's name translates into English "Oh come, oh come, God be with us" and its name and its calls at the start of each of its verses for Christ to come soon and redeem us captures the very essence of Advent. The melody as we know it today is about eight hundred years old and is of French origin it's sung below by the Gesualdo Six. Enjoy :-)

markfromireland

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O Emmanuel: Great antiphon for 23 December 2015

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December 23, 2015

Presumably because of the hymn Veni, veni, Immanuel, many people assume that O' Emmanuel is the first antiphon but it is in fact the seventh and final 'O' antiphon.  'O Emmanuel'  which is sung on December 23rdis based upon Isaiah 7:14.

Isaiah 7:14: Propter hoc dabit Dominus ipse vobis signum : ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen ejus Emmanuel. (Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel).

Emmanuel can be translated as "I shall soon be with you" and the idea in the antiphon is  "you who will soon be with us, our king and saviour, come and save us". Enjoy :-).

mfi

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O Rex gentium: Great Antiphon for 22 December 2015

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December 22, 2015

The sixth 'O' antiphon which is sung on December  22nd is 'O Rex gentium' (O King of the Nations), is based upon two verses in Isaiah Isaiah 9:6 and Isaiah 2:4:

Isaiah 9:6 Parvulus enim natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis, et factus est principatus super humerum ejus : et vocabitur nomen ejus, Admirabilis, Consiliarius, Deus, Fortis, Pater futuri sæculi, Princeps pacis. (6 For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace).

Isaiah 2:4 Et judicabit gentes, et arguet populos multos; et conflabunt gladios suos in vomeres, et lanceas suas in falces. Non levabit gens contra gentem gladium, nec exercebuntur ultra ad prælium. (4 And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war).

The antiphonal text speaks for itself:

O King of the Nations,
and the one desired by them,
the cornerstone,
you who bring all into one:
O come save humankind,
the one you formed from dust.

Enjoy :-).

mfi

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O Oriens: Great Antiphon for 21 December 2015

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December 21, 2015

The text of the fifth of the great antiphons O Oriens is very closely based on Isaiah 9:2:

Isaiah 9:2: The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.
O Oriens: O come and give light, to the one sitting in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Medieval clergy were well aware that the days of Advent  are the shortest and darkest of the year and that from Christmas on the days would start to become longer and brighter. Being well aware of the power of a good metaphor they drew the parallel between the longer and brighter days with the idea of Christ's light coming and abolishing the darkness of sin and of death and preached accordingly. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Music for Fourth Sunday of Advent 2015 – Nicolas Gombert (±1495-c1560): Ad te levavi oculos meos

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December 20, 2015

The Offertory for the fourth Sunday of Advent  Ad te levavi oculos meos (Unto thee lift I up mine eyes) takes its text from Psalm 122 in the Vulgate (123 in modern usage). Gombert's setting is a wonderfully fluid piece of music with rich harmonies and counterpoint as you might expect from Gombert the motet makes heavy use of imitative writing with no less than four vocal entries in canon and in unison.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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