Rorate Caeli

Easter sequence: sing it all week long

Every day this week is a first class feast day, when not even Saint Francis of Paola, Saint Isidore or Saint Vincent Ferrer are commemorated at Mass.  The dismissal, only for these seven days, is "Ite Missa Est, Alleluia, Alleluia."

The glorious Easter sequence is said by the celebrant, and ideally sung by a schola at High Mass, every day between Easter Sunday and Easter Saturday before the Gospel.  The composer of the sequence is not known for sure, but credit is often given to Wipo of Burgundy, chaplain of the German Emperor Conrad II in the 11th century; Notker Balbulus in the 10th century; and/or Adam of Saint Victor in the 13th century.

Interestingly, the Tridentine missal (1570) omitted the sixth verse of the sequence, which was deemed offensive to Jews.  This is why it sort of jumps into the "Scimus Christum" verse toward the end. The same Council of Trent era reform added the "Amen" and "Alleluia" at the end of the sequence.



Take a moment this Easter week to listen to the Benedictine monks of Fontgombault sing this beautiful sequence in Gregorian chant.  Hopefully you already heard it at your parish on Sunday.  If you are in a choir, or thinking about joining or forming a schola, but have not sung the sequence before, the video of the chant is the notation from the Liber Usualis so you may follow along.

15 comments:

Texana said...

Thank you for this beautiful addition to the music of Easter still swirling in my head! Please listen to Giovanni Vianini, Milano, alongside the youtube selection--pure tone from heaven.

Jason C. said...

Interestingly, the Tridentine missal (1570) omitted the sixth verse of the sequence, which was deemed offensive to Jews. This is why it sort of jumps into the "Scimus Christum" verse toward the end. The same Council of Trent era reform added the "Amen" and "Alleluia" at the end of the sequence.

B-b-b-but trying not to be patently offensive to Jews is only a post-Nostra Aetate thing, right? /crazy

While there have been some mellifluent excesses of that spirit in our postconciliar fairytale, it just goes to show that prudence sometimes dictates not insisting upon the use of vinegar to catch flies, even if one doesn't use honey.

Wormwood said...

a thing of beauty...

Kenneth J. Wolfe said...

Jason C. -- there is a big difference between striving "not to be patently offensive", and religious indifferentism.

Don M said...

For the 1st time in a while my parish had a sung High Mass according to the Traditional Latin Rite of 1962.
The Mass was Glorious. Deo Gratias.
A member of the parish made new surplices for the Altar servers. They were pleated with lace . Very Nice..
I think all in attendance know what A GREAT PEARL God has given us.
Jesus Mercy
Pray for the Pope.

Mike said...

Alas, my parish has in the seven years I have been a member, ever sung such a chant...or any chant.

They will tell you: Vatican II did away with it.

People don't know how badly they have been robbed.

Donnacha said...

Having a Sequence for meditation throughout the Octave is a wonderful thing! Just one point: for those of us using pre-Pius XII Ordo, a second Collect begins on Easter Wednesday. So, St. Isidore and St. Vincent Ferrer are commemorated at the Office and Mass by some of us!

John said...

A beautiful Easter hymn! Christ is risen!

RE the change: I don't see what was so offensive about the original text.

This political correctness, even centuries old, has never found its way into the Byzantine rite. Thank God.

"Answer, O Jews, how did the guardian soldiers lose the King whom they were guarding? Why could the stone not retain the Book of life? Either deliver to us Him who was buried, or worship with us Him who is risen, shouting: Glory to your bountiful mercies, our Savior, glory to you."

From Lauds at Matins, Sunday of Tone 2

Cesare Baronio said...

Magis est credendum
Mariae veraci
Quam Judaeorum
turbae fallaci.

Amen. Alleluja

Barbara said...

I love it - wonderful! Makes my heart burn with happiness - my eyes with tears...

I can sing it too...

Latinist said...

The sixth verse to the Easter sequence, which had preceded the "Scimus Christum" verse, reads in Latin: Credendum est magis soli Mariae veraci, quam Judaeorum turbae fallaci. In English (my translation): Truthful Mary alone is more to be believed than the lying mob of Jews.

I can see why that might be seen as unnecessarily provocative. Fascinating that it was removed after Trent. I had erroneously thought it was from the 1950s Holy Week reform.

Pulex said...

The versicle above is found also in Novus Ordo, namely, in Liber hymnarius (1983). It is the verse Dicant nunc iudaei from the responsory Christus resurgens. It was not part of the traditional rite of the Roman Curia, but existed in some local uses (e.g., Cologne).

Em said...

Latinist:

The sentence is strange in and of itself, without considering the rudeness. Of course Mary is to be trusted above "the lying mob of Jews." She is trusted above any Jew, lying or not, like she is trusted above anyone at all, saintly or groveling. It is as if saying: "A saint is to more to be believed than a gossiping woman." Why, you don't say...

Kenneth J. Wolfe said...

Donnacha -- such an interesting point on the Pius XII reforms this week.

For the benefit of all readers, before the Pius XII reforms, indeed only Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday were double feasts of the first class, with Easter Wednesday through Easter Saturday classified as semi-double rank days within the octave. The Pius XII reforms (observed with the 1962 calendar) made each of the days first class.

bob said...

The English Hymnal 1905 is slightly different (and probably less accurate)

Happy they who bear the witness. Mary's word believing
Above the tales of Jewry deceiving