All Saints Day
|O quam gloriosum||Tomás Luis de Victoria|
|For all the Saints||Ralph Vaughan Williams|
|Beati quorum via||C.V. Stanford|
Mary the Blessed Virgin
|Ave Maria||Tomás Luis de Victoria|
|Ave Maria||Franz Biebl|
Faith, Hope and Charity
|Ubi Caritas||Richard Proulx|
|Ubi Caritas||Maurice Duruflé|
|Rise Up My Love,
My Fair One
|For Thy Sweet Love||Robert H. Young|
|Hymn to St. Cecilia – mvt. 1||
|Consecrate This Place and Day||Lloyd Pfautsch|
|Sanctus and Benedictus from Mass for Four Voices||William Byrd|
from Simple Mass
from Deutsche Messe
|Let All Mortal Flesh||Edward Bairstow|
|Faire is the Heaven||
Octarium began as the Saint Andrew’s Consort, an octet
charged with providing a cappella choral music at a Rite I Episcopal Eucharist.
The group spent two years in this capacity, so it only seems logical that
we should, at the beginning of our second full season as Octarium, pay tribute
to our roots. This concert includes some of our favorite sacred repertoire
from our days as the Consort, as well as some new pieces, all of which laud
and magnify Saints and Angels.
All Saints Day
The feast of All Saints is thought to have originated in 609,
when Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin
Mary. It was at first celebrated on May 13th but Pope Gregory III (Pope
from 731-41) changed the date to November 1st when he dedicated a chapel
in honor of All Saints in the Vatican Basilica. Still celebrated on the
first of November, All Saints’ Day was originally instituted to honor
all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV (pope from
1216-64 ) to supply any deficiencies in the faithful’s celebration of saints’
feasts during the year.
Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) began his musical education as
a chorister at Avila Cathedral, Spain but spent most of his career as a
singer, organist and priest in Rome. Although Victoria is perhaps best known
for his poignant and intense music, he was known to have a rather cheerful
disposition, as “O quam gloriosum” shows. The motet hails from
Victoria’s first book of motets, published in 1572. It displays both his
contrapuntal and harmonic technique and his characteristically impassioned
word-setting. The text is based on the traditional All Saints’ Day
antiphon “O quam gloriosum” taken from Revelation 7—“How
glorious is the kingdom where all the saints rejoice with Christ.”
O quam gloriosum est regnum
O, how glorious is the kingdom
in quo cum Christo gaudent omnes sancti,
where all the saints rejoice with Christ,
amicti stolis albis
clothed in white robes,
Agnum sequuntur quocunque ierit
Following the Lamb wherever He shall go.
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was a pupil of Stanford and Parry at
the Royal College of Music and later studied with Max Bruch in Berlin and
Maurice Ravel in Paris. At the turn of the century, he served as music editor
for the 1906 English Hymnal, for which he wrote the well-known hymn tune
Sine Nomine (Without Name) as a setting of the text “For
all the saints.”
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;
thou Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
thou in the darkness Lord, the one true light.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon to faithful warriors cometh rest
and sweet the calm of Paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
the Saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of Glory passes on His way,
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) was born and raised in Dublin. Active
as a composer and conductor, he may be best remembered as a teacher; he
was a professor of composition at the Royal College of Music and at Cambridge,
where he taught, among others, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, and
Herbert Howells. “Beati quorum via” was written in 1905 for
Alan Gray and the choir of Trinity College, Cambridge. The text, from Psalm
119:1, is not specific to saints but is often used in celebrations of the
feast of All Saints.
Beati quorum via integra est:
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
qui ambulant in lege Domini
who walk in the law of the Lord.
Mary the Blessed Virgin
The Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, is one of the most revered saints
in the lexicon. The Ave Maria, or the Hail Mary, is the most familiar of
all the prayers used by the Universal Church in her honor.
Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “Ave Maria” displays his
harmonic, melodic and metrical talent with a straight-forward setting of
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
benedicta tu in mulieribus
You are blessed among women
et benedictus fructus ventris tui: Jesus.
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.
now and in the hour of our death.
Franz Biebl (1906-2001) composed his “Ave Maria” in 1964 for
a choir made up of German firemen for use in a local competition. The double
male choir version lay stagnant for many years until Chanticleer recorded
it in 1990. The piece became a hit and Biebl went to work arranging it for
other voicings. Octarium performs the SSAATTBB version. The source of the
text is the Angelus liturgy recited three times a day, morning, noon and
evening. The recitation is preceded by the ringing of the “Angelus”
bell and consists of three versicles based on the Gospel, followed each
time by the Ave Maria text.
Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae
The Angel of the Lord announced to Mary
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Ecce ancilla Domini
Behold the handmaiden of the Lord
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Do to me according to your word.
Et verbum caro factum est
And the Word was made flesh
Et habitavit in nobis
And dwelt among us.
Faith, Hope and Charity
Faith, Hope and Charity are names of the members of two groups of Roman
martyrs. In the reign of Hadrian, a Roman matron Sophia (Wisdom), with her
three youthful daughters, Pistis, Elpis, and Agape (Faith, Hope and Charity),
underwent martyrdom for the Faith, and were interred on the Aurelian Way.
Later, another band of martyrs, Sapientia (Wisdom) and her three companions,
Spes, Fides and Caritas (Hope, Faith and Charity), suffered death while
professing their faith and were buried near the tomb of St. Cecilia in the
cemetery of St. Callistus on the Appian Way. Although there is much speculation
concerning the truth of the two legends, the church celebrates a feast in
honor of Faith, Hope and Charity on August 1. Although the text of “Ubi
Caritas” was not specifically written with these saints in mind (the
text is from the antiphons sung during the ceremony of the Washing of the
Feet at the Mass of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday) it can be considered
a tribute to the virtues the women embodied.
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.
Both settings of the text performed tonight use a Gregorian chant melody
as its base. Richard Proulx (b.1937) interlaces the English text with the
Latin, using occasional handbells to highlight the chant roots of the melody
in his little-known setting of the text. Maurice Duruflé’s
(1902-1986) setting, from his Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriens,
is a supreme example of how the beauty of plainsong chant can be increased
when lush harmonies are added.
At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned
in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as
a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and the
third suffered in Africa with a number of companions. The popular customs
associated with Saint Valentine’s Day undoubtedly had their origin in a
conventional belief generally received in England and France during the
Middle Ages, that on 14 February, or half way through the second month of
the year, the birds began to pair. According to Chaucer’s Parliament of
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.
For this reason the day is looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers
and continues to be so in modern times.
“Rise up my love, my fair one” is a biblical text from the Song
of Songs, or Song of Solomon. This particular book of the bible has been
the target of much controversy as its verses are the stuff of human eroticism
and love. Three voices are distinguishable in the Song: a male lover, a
female lover, and an independent group of observers called the daughters
of Jerusalem. Song of Songs has had a speckled history and barely found
a place in the biblical canon because the transparently provocative nature
of the language, as well as the fact that the book never makes reference
to God, scandalized many early readers. The book was accepted into the canon
only after rabbis viewed it as an allegory of the relationship between Yahweh
and the people of Israel.
Christians tend to interpret the book as an allegory describing the love
between Christ and the Christian church. Healey Willan (1880-1968) uses
the following text in the Christian tradition, grouping this piece with
two others and entitling them Motets in honor or Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin
Mary. Most often used liturgically on Easter morning, this motet is seen
as a description of Christ’s resurrection. Regardless of its origin
and meaning, the text is, at its most transparent, a description of love
overcoming adversity, making it a powerful statement on the strength of
love, in whatever form it takes.
Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear upon the earth.
The time of the singing of birds is come.
Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.
“For Thy Sweet Love,” a setting of Shakespeare’s Sonnet
24 by Robert H. Young (b. 1932) highlights the changing mood of the author,
a person so desperately in love that he is capable of going from despair
to ascendant happiness in fourteen lines.
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee; and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Cecilia, whose feastday is November 22 and who is glorified in the fine
arts and in poetry, is one of the most venerated martyrs of Christian antiquity.
About the middle of the fifth century a pious romance regarding Cecilia
emerged; Cecilia, a virgin of a senatorial family and a Christian from her
infancy, was given in marriage by her parents to a noble pagan youth Valerianus.
When, after the celebration of the marriage, the couple had retired to the
wedding-chamber, Cecilia told Valerianus that she was betrothed to an angel
who jealously guarded her body; therefore Valerianus must take care not
to violate her virginity. Valerianus wished to see the angel, whereupon
Cecilia sent him to the third milestone on the Via Appia where he should
meet Bishop (Pope) Urbanus. Valerianus obeyed, was baptized by the pope,
and returned a Christian to Cecilia. After a glorious profession of faith,
she was condemned to be suffocated in the bath of her own house. She did
not suffocate and was condemned to beheading instead. The executioner let
his sword fall three times without separating her head from her body, so
he fled, leaving the virgin bathed in her own blood. She lived for three
more days, during which time she made dispositions in favor of the poor,
and provided that after her death her house should be dedicated as a church.
Benjamin Britten (1913- 1976) was born on St. Cecilia’s Day so it
seems natural that he composed a work in honor of the Saint with whom he
shared his birthday. In 1940 Britten found a text, three odes in honor of
St. Cecilia penned by W.H. Auden, which inspired him to compose the work.
Composed during a sea voyage from the United States to England in 1942,
Hymn to St. Cecilia falls into three sections each ending with a refrain
in the form of a musicians’ prayer to their patron for inspiration.
The first section tells the legend of Saint Cecilia with some reference
to non-Christian mythology.
In a garden shady this holy lady
With reverent cadence and subtle psalm,
Like a black swan as death came on
Poured forth her song in perfect calm:
And by ocean’s margin this innocent virgin
Constructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,
And notes tremendous from her great engine
Thundered out on the Roman air.
Blonde Aphrodite rose up excited,
Moved to delight by the melody,
White as an orchid she rode quite naked
In an oyster shell on top of the sea;
At sounds so entrancing the angels dancing
Came out of their trance into time again,
And around the wicked in Hell’s abysses
The huge flame flickered and eased their pain.
Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle
Composing mortals with immortal fire.
Lloyd Pfautsch (1921-2003) was a professor of sacred music and director
of choral activities from the faculty of the Meadows School of the Arts
at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he had taught since
1958. “Consecrate the Place and Day” is one of the three pieces
that make up Triptych, composed in 1969 for the dedication of the
State College of Arkansas’ Fine Arts Center.
Consecrate the place and day
To music and Cecelia
Let no rough winds approach nor dare
Invade the hallowed bounds,
Nor rudely shake the tuneful air,
Nor spoil the fleeting, fleeting sounds.
Nor mournful sigh nor groan be heard,
But gladness dwell on every tongue:
Whilst all, with voice and strings prepared,
Keep up the loud harmonious song.
And imitate the blest above in joy and harmony.
An angel is a heavenly being; a pure spirit created by God. The name applies
to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed
by God as the ministers of His will. The English word “angel”
comes from the Greek angelos, which means ‘messenger.’ Therefore angels
are often regarded as messengers who work for God and for the ultimate benefit
of mankind. There are nine choirs of angels:
Seraphim are the highest order or choir of angels. They are the angels who
are attendants or guardians before God’s throne and praise God, calling,
“Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts”.
Seraphim have six wings, two cover their faces, two cover their feet, and
two are for flying.
Cherubim rank after the seraphim and are the second highest in the nine
hierarchies or choirs of angels. They are manlike in appearance and double-winged,
symbolizing God’s power and mobility.
Thrones are the Angels of pure Humility, Peace and Submission. They reside
in the area of the cosmos where material form begins to take shape. The
lower Choir of Angels need the Thrones to access God.
Dominions are Angels of Leadership. They regulate the duties of the angels,
making known the commands of God.
Virtues are known as the Spirits of Motion and control the elements. They
are sometimes referred to as “the shining ones.” They govern all
nature and have control over seasons, stars, moon and even the sun. They
are also in charge of miracles and provide courage, grace, and valor.
Powers are Warrior Angels against evil, defending the cosmos and humans.
They are known as potentates and fight against evil spirits who attempt
to wreak chaos through human beings.
Archangels are the chief or leading angels. They are the most frequently
mentioned throughout the Bible. The Archangels have a unique role as God’s
messenger to the people at critical times in history and salvation as in
The Annunciation and Apocalypse.
Principalities are spiritual (metaphysical) beings that are hostile to God
and human beings. Because they are hostile, Christ’s ultimate rule over
them expresses the reign of the Lord over all in the cosmos.
Angels are closest to the material world and to human begins. They deliver
the prayers to God and God’s answers and other messages to humans.
The “Sanctus” is a section of the Mass; the fourth musical
movement of the Ordinary, the parts of the Roman Catholic Mass that remain
the same from day to day throughout the church year, as distinct from the
Proper, which changes daily according to the liturgical occasion. In the
original Latin, the text is as follows:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.
Osanna in excelsis.
Hosanna in the highest.
Often, a Sanctus is followed directly by a Benedictus, frequently without
a break in the music.
Benedictus qui venit
Blessed is He that cometh
in nomine Domini.
in the name of the Lord.
Osanna in excelsis.
Hosanna in the highest.
A Sanctus, then, with its main text of “Holy, Holy, Holy” is
music of the seraphim. In the Anglican Book of Common Prayer the Sanctus
and Benedictus is preceded by the text “Therefore with Angels and
Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy
glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying. . .,” thus allowing
congregants to join their voices in the unending hymn of the seraphim.
William Byrd (c. 1539-1623) was an organist and member of protestant Elizabeth
I’s private religious establishment, the Chapel Royal. Despite his
service to the queen, he remained throughout his life a dedicated Roman
Catholic. The queen, apparently out of love for him and his music, tended
to turn a blind eye and Byrd was never seriously threatened for his faith
and beliefs. He wrote several setting of the Ordinary of the Mass, one of
the most famous of which is the Mass for Four Voices.
The early history of Antonio Lotti (1667-1740) is a tad fuzzy and there
are differing opinions on whether he was of Italian or German birth. He
spent most of his career in Italy, however, holding the position of Maestro
di Cappella (Master of the Chapel) at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice,
a post that helped Andrea Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi cement their places
in musical history. Although Lotti wrote numerous operas, he is best remembered
for his sacred music.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) wrote his Deutsche Messe (D. 872) in
1827 just one year before disease ended his life. It is his most famous
mass and is excerpted in the Episcopalian 1982 Hymnal.
Angels are mentioned in many songs. But not so many mention the ranks and
orders of angels. The text of Edward Bairstow’s (1874-1946) anthem
“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” is taken from the orthodox
Liturgy of St. James, and is rife with theological poetry. Composed in 1925,
Bairstow’s setting captures the mysticism and the celebration intent
in the text.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and stand with fear and trembling,
and lift itself above all earthly thought.
For the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Christ our God,
cometh forth to be our oblation,
and to be given for food to the faithful.
Before him come the choirs of angels,
with every principality and power;
the Cherubim with many eyes, and winged Seraphim,
who veil their faces as they shout exultantly the hymn,
William Harris’ (1883 – 1973) “Faire is the Heaven” is
a setting of a poem by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) describing the ranks of
angels in heaven. Writing for antiphonal double choir, Harris’ setting
has been likened to “the view of light coming through stained glass
– each colour separate, yet mixing together to give a glorious whole.”
Faire is the heaven where happy soules have place
In full enjoyment of felicitie;
Whence they do still behold the glorious face
Of the Divine, Eternall Majestie;
Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins
Which all with golden wings are overdight.
And those eternall burning Seraphins
Which from their faces dart out fiery light;
Yet fairer than they both and much more bright
Be the Angels and Archangels
Which attend on God’s owne person without rest or end.
These then in faire each other farre excelling
As to the Highest they approach more neare,
Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling
Fairer than all the rest which there appeare
Though all their beauties joynd together were;
How then can mortal tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse?
Randall Thompson (1899-1984) composed his one-word anthem over four days
in 1940 for the opening of the new Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.
It is remarkable for its simplicity of intent and lushness of harmony and