The Liturgy in Rome

To listen to this show, you must first LOG IN. If you have already logged in, but you are still seeing this message, please SUBSCRIBE or UPGRADE your subscriber level today.

Program: #07-11   Air Date: Mar 05, 2007

Because of its centrality and continuity, the early liturgy of the Roman Christians is perhaps the earliest we can reconstruct-- we'll hear some examples.

NOTE: As we have done in the past, we spend some weeks looking at a key topic in early music. The programs in this series look at what Gregorian Chant actually is--almost everything we assume we know about it is in fact incorrect (or at least incomplete), and we will spend some weeks getting to the actual truth. This is (amazingly) only possible because of a series of studies and recordings made in the last few years.

Our guide will be long-time Millennium guest and chant expert, Fr. Jerome Weber, early music critic of Fanfare magazine. In each case, the comments are from Fr. Weber.



I. Old Roman Liturgical Chants: First Sunday of Lent
(Schola Hungarica/Janka Szendrei and Laszlo Dobszay, conductors). Hungaroton CD HCD 32356.

This is the third Old Roman program from Schola Hungarica and the most unified, for it includes only Chants and Mass for the First Sunday in Lent. The Mass chants are unusually unified, for the texts of all five Proper chants are from Psalm 90, which effectively sets the theme of repentance for Lent. The office is represented largely by the responsories of Matins, which are among the most elaborate chants of the Office. The lessons that precede each responsory are beautifully sung by the boys of the Schola.

MATINS: Cum jejunatis ("When you fast, do not look somber as do the hypocrites").

1st NOCTURNE: Antiphon--Cum autem ("When you pray, go into your room").
--1st Reading & Responsory--Ecce nunc tempus ("Behold, now is the accepted time").
--2nd Reading & Responsory--Emendemus in melium ("Let us repair the sins we committed").
--3rd Reading & Responsory--In jejunio et fletu ("The priests pray fasting").

2nd NOCTURNE: Nesciat sinistra tua ("Do not let your left hand know what your right is doing").
--4th Reading & Responsory--Nemini dantes ("We should not give offense in anything").
--5th Reading & Responsory--Per arma justitiae ("By the armor of the righteousness").
--6th Reading & Responsory--Quasi tristes ("As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing").

3rd NOCTURNE: Antiphon--Theaurizate vobis thesauros ("Store up for yourself treasure in heaven").
--7th Reading & Responsory--Praedicaturus vobis: The Sermon of Pope St. Leo the Great.
--8th Reading & Responsory--Quamvis enim ("There are no seasons not full of Divine blessings").

LAUDS: Antiphon--Cor mundum crea ("Create in me a pure heart, O Lord").

MASS: Introit--Invocabit me ("He will call upon me").
--Kyrie eleison.
--Gradual: Angelis suis ("For He will command His angels").
--Tractus: Qui habitat in adiutorio ("He Who dwells in the shelter of the Most High").
--Offertory: Scapulis suis ("He will cover you with His wings").
--Agnus Dei.
--Communio: Scapulis suis.


II. Vepres du jour de Paques
(Ensemble Organum/Marcel Peres, dir.). Harmonia Mundi CD HMC 901604.

Apart from a few scattered examples on various records, the only recorded programs of Old Roman chant are the Schola's three CDs and three more by the Ensemble Organum. Thus disc offers the remarkable Vespers of Easter Sunday, duplicating the Schola's first recording, but the contrast between the swift Schola and the slow and solemn Ensemble Organum is striking.

VESPERS: Processional--Hodie Christus resurrexit ("Today Christ has arisen").
--Antiphon (Ps. 109): Dixit Dominus ("The Lord said unto my Lord").
--Antiphon (Ps. 110): Confitor tibi Domine ("I will praise the Lord with my whole heart").
--Alleluia Dominus regnavit ("The Lord reigneth").
--Antiphon (Ps. 111): Beatus vir ("Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord").
--Alleluia Pascha nostrum: ("Christ our passover is sacrificed").
--Responsorium: Cito euntes ("Go quickly and tell the disciples").
--Oratio: Concede quesumus ("We beseech Thee, Almighty God").
--Responsorium: In die resurrectionis ("On the day of resurrection").
--Antiphon (Ps. 112): Laudate pueri ("Praise, O ye servants of the Lord").
--Alleluia O kyrios evasileosen ("The Lord reigneth").
--Responsorium: Venite et videte ("Come and see the place where the Lord lay").
--Oratio: Presta quesumus ("We beseech Thee, Almighty God").
--Antiphon: Vidi aquam ("I beheld the water coming down").
--Antiphon (Ps. 113): In exitu Israel ("When Israel went out of Egypt").
--Alleluia Venite exultemus ("Come let us show our joy in the Lord").
--Antiphon & Maginificat ("My soul doth magnify the Lord").
--Oratio: Presta quesumus ("We beseech Thee, Almighty God").
--Responsorium: Expurgate vetus ("Purge out therefore the old leaven").


III. Cantus Gallicanus
(Schola Trunchiniensis/Frans Mariman, dir.). Eufoda CD 1346.

There have been few recordings dedicated to Gallican chant; as a repertoire it does not exist in self-contained sources, but only in surviving remnants in Gregorian sources. All the previous recorded chants were chosen on the basis of extramusical criteria, such as different liturgical uses between Roma & Gaul (the Gallican St. Martin's Feast, for example, was not celebrated in Rome until much later).

Authorities for these conclusions include Amedee Gastoue, Bruno Stablein, and Michel Huglo. The program on this disc was chosen on an entirely different basis according to writings of Jacques Chailley, Finn Egeland Hansen, and Dom Jean Claire, who analyzed the tonal characteristics of the chants. Schola Trunchiniensis has collected chants to illustrate a variety of questions about Gallican and Gregorian tonality.


--Gloria in excelsis Deo.
--Responsorium: Scapulis suis ("He will protect you with His wings")
--Antiphon (Ps. 113): In exitu Israel ("When Israel went out of Egypt").
--Invitatorium: Adoremus regem ("Let us adore the king of the apostles").

--Credimus (Credo).
--Improperia: Popule meus ("My people, what have I done to you?").
--Antiphona Graeca: O quando in cruce ("O, when his enemies nailed the Lord to the cross").

--Pater noster I.
--Antiphon ad Mandatum: Vos vocatis me ("Jesus stood up after supper").
--Antiphon ad Mandatum: Cena facta ("After supper, the Lord Jesus").

--Antiphon ad Fractionem: Emitte Spiritum ("Send us your Holy Spirit").
--Antiphon ad Mandatum: Ante diem festum ("Before the day of the Passover feast").
--Gradual: Domine, prevenisti ("Lord, You have gone before them").


--Gloria II.
--Responsorium breve: Surrexit Dominus ("The Lord is risen from the tomb").
--Invitatorium: Ascendens Christus ("Now as Christ ascends on high").
--Pater noster II.

--Hymnus: Pange lingua ("Sing, my tongue").
--Antiphon ad Mandatum: Si ego, Dominus ("If I, your lord and master, have washed your feet").
--Gradual: Exurge, Domine ("Rise up, O Lord").

--Antiphon: Virgo hodie fidelis ("Today the faithful virgin").

--Antiphon: Inter natos mulierum ("Among all of those born of woman").
--Antiphon: Pulchra es ("Fair you are, and beautiful").
--Antiphon: Cum inducerent ("When his parents brought the boy Jesus into the temple").
--Antiphon: Hodie Christus natus est ("Today Christ is born").

--Responsorium: Solem iusticie/Stella Marie maris ("Mary, star of the sea").

--Gloria III.
--Gradual: Angelus suis ("He has confided in his angels over you").

IV. Quand le chant gregorien s'appelait chant messin
(Scola Metensis/Marie-Reine Demolliere, dir.). Ligia CD Lidi 0202132-03.

Metz was the capital city of the Frankish kingdom. The ancestor of the Carolingian dynasty was St. Arnulf, who became bishop of Metz after the death of his wife. His son married the daughter of Pepin I. It was the first place where Roman cantors came to teach chant to the Frankish cantors. The annotator of this disc asserts that what was called cantilena metensis ("the chant from Metz") was only later called Gregorian chant. One of the oldest neumed Graduals, MS. Laon 239 (circa 930), is notated in Messine neumes.

One of several Frankish contributions toi the emergence of Gregorian chant was the classification of all chants into eight modes, borrowed from the Byzantine theory (the ochtoechos). Dom Jean Claire has written of chant tonality as it existed before chants were classified according to the ochtoechos. Instead of eight modes (that is, four pairs of authentic and plagal modes on re, mi, fa, and sol), each with a tonic and dominant note, he found only three "mother tones" on do, re and mi, each note being both tonic and dominant in a given chant. Moreover, he found that chants in the mode of re were Gallican in origin, while chnats in the modes of do and mi were Roman in origin. This program is organized around the three "mother tones" described by Dom Jean Claire, the Gallican tone of re and the Roman tones of do and mi.

Tone of re
--Hymn: Galli cantu ("At the first cockcrow").
--Gloriosus Deus ("God is glorious in His Saints").
--Responsorium breve: Ego dixi ("I have said: Lord, have mercy on me").
--Canticum: Domine audivi ("Lord, I have heard Your voice and have been afraid").
--Introit: Vultum tuum ("All the rich among the people shall entreat Thy countenance").
--Antiphon: O Sapientia ("O Wisdom, O holy Word of God").
--Antiphon: O Oriens (O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light").
--Alleluia: Exsultate Deo ("Exult before God our helper").

Tone of do
--Hymn: Deus qui claro lumine (Lord, Who by Your light makes the day").
--Responsorium breve: Quam magnificata sunt (O Lord, how great are Thy works!").
--Introit: Omnes gentes ("All ye nations rejoice").
--Antiphon: Quae mulier ("What woman having ten groats, if she lose one?")
--Antiphon: Ascendente Jesu ("And when he entered into the boat, His disciples followed Him").
--Offertory: Deus, in simplicitate. ("Lord God, in simplicity of heart").
--Alleluia Deus iudex ("God is a just judge, strong and patient").
--Introit: Deus in loco ("God, who maketh men of one manner to dwell in a house").
--Gradual: Misit Dominus ("He sent His word, and He healed them").

Tone of mi
--Hymn: Aurora lucis ("Dawn purples all the east with light").
--Antiphon: Responsum ("Thus Simeon spake in the Holy Spirit").
--Responsorium breve: Veni ad liberandum nos ("Come and deliver us, and tarry not").
--Introit: Misericordia Domini ("The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord").
--Responsory: Vidi speciosam ("I saw the fair one like a dove").
--Introit: Caritas Dei ("The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts").
--Alleluia Iubilate Deo ("Sing joyfully to God").
--Gradual: Ecce quam bonum ("How pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together").
--Hymn: Iam Christus astra ascenderat ("Now Christ had ascended to the stars").


V. Chant Wars
(Sequentia Ensemble/Benjamin Bagby, dir. and Dialogos Ensemble/Katarina Livljanic, dir.).
Sony/BMG Deutsche Harmonia Mundi CD 82876-66649-2.

The very title of this program, “Chant Wars,” is meant to be provocative. Ninth-century writings are quoted to describe the conflicting opinions of such authors as John the Deacon (Roman) and Notker of St. Gall (Frankish) on the contrasting qualities of Roman and Frankish singing. Quotations from Walafrid Strabo and Charlemagne himself are also adduced to support the argument. Roman and Gallican chants as well as later Frankish chants are included to illustrate these points.

The myth of Gregorian Chant
--Trope: Gregorius praesul ("Bishop Gregory, illustrious of merits and name").

Traces of oral chant traditions from Rome and Gaul
--Gradual (Roman): Ad dominum dum tribularer ("I called upon the Lord whenI was troubled").
--Psalmody (Roman): In convertendo dominus ("When the Lord brought back Sion's captives").
--Antiphon (Gallican): Venite, populi ("Come, people, to the holy and immortal mystery").

Germanic voices
--Tractus (St. Gall): Domine, exaudi orationem meam ("Lord, hear my prayer").
--NOTKER of St. Gall (840-912): Natus ante saecula ("Born before the ages, the Son of God").

A new Roman chant tradition?
--Alleluia: Prosechete laos ("My people, heed my law").
--Tractus: Saepe expugnaverunt me ("Often since my youth men have oppressed me").
--Offertory: Deus enim firmavit ("God has made the world-round firm").

Chant in Frankish Books and memories
--Psalmody: Laudate dominum ("Praise the Lord from the heavens").
--Lament on the Death of Charlemagne (814): A solis ortu usque ad occidua ("From the rising of the sun to the shores of the sea where the sun sets, lament strikes hearts").
--Antiphon: Collegerunt pontifices ("The chief priests and Pharisees assembled").
--Laudes regiae (Acclamations for the Emperor): Christus vincit ("Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules").

Composer Info

St. Gall (840-912)

CD Info

Hungaroton CD HCD 32356, Harmonia Mundi CD HMC 901604, Eufoda CD 1346, Ligia CD Lidi 0202132-03, Harmonia Mundi CD 82876-66649-2,

Note: The contact information in this episode may be out-of-date. You can contact us at this current link.