Video

O nata lux – Thomas Tallis

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Since tomorrow’s Gospel is that of the Transfiguration.  This hymn comes from the Office of Lauds for the Feast of the Transfiguration, which is celebrated on August 6th.

O nata lux de lumine,
Jesu redemptor saeculi,
Dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes precesque sumere.

Qui carne quondam contegi
Dignatus es pro perditis,
Nos membra confer effici
Tui beati corporis.

Translation: O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with loving-kindness deign to receive
suppliant praise and prayer.

Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be members
of thy blessed body.

Video

Charles-Marie Widor (1844–1937) and Gerre Hancock (1934–2012)

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February 21 marks the birthdays of two gentlemen who made significant contributions to organ music, both as performers and composers.

Charles-Marie Widor, born on this day in 1844, presided over the Cavaillé-Coll organ at Saint-Sulpice in Paris for nearly 64 years.

Gerre Hancock, born on this day in 1934, was the Organist and Master of Choristers at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City from 1971 until 2004.

Listen to the Sanctus and Benedictus from Widor’s Messe, Op. 36.

Liturgical Resources for the Papal Transition

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The Secretariat for Divine Worship at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has provided Liturgical Resources for the Papal Transition, a document which includes suggested texts for votive Masses for the current pope, during the time of the election of his successor, and upon the election of the new pope.  It’s a useful resource.  I have already begun to use material from it for use in my parish.

At the end of the document, it provides musical suggestions.  While it is complicated to have a musical inventory that will suit the needs of all congregations, this list is deficient in a number of areas.  There’s not a single suggestion of Gregorian chant provided.  (For example, providing the Latin propers of each Votive Mass would be an ideal point of departure!)

Nonetheless, this is a valuable resource for all involved in planning and executing liturgies in the weeks ahead.

Presidents Day

Today is Presidents Day, a federal holiday in the USA.  While the holiday was originally established to honor the first president of the United States, George Washington, it has, in recent years, been expanded to honor all of the men who have served as commander-in-chief.

Today, let us pause to remember the men who have led this nation through peace and war.  Let us also pray today for President Barack Obama, whom the people of this nation have freely elected as its president.  May he continue to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and uphold all our liberties, especially religious liberty.

Attende, Domine

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With all the excitement caused by the news that Pope Benedict would renounce the papal throne, it’s been easy to forget that we have begun the penitential season of Lent.  (I hope that everybody abstained from meat today!)

One of the great Lenten hymns is Attende, Domine, et miserere quia peccavimus tibi (Hear us, Lord, and have mercy for we have sinned against thee).  As a meditation, close your eyes for a few minutes and listen to this lovely prelude on the Gregorian hymn composed by the twentieth century French organist and composer, Jeanne Demessieux (1921–1968).  This work comes from a set of twelve chorale preludes on Gregorian themes (Op. 8).  A student of Marcel Dupré, Demessieux was an extraordinary organist, having memorized the complete organ works of Bach, Franck, Liszt and Dupré, among others.  She was the organist for two churches in Paris, Saint-Esprit and La Madeleine.  In her own right, Demessieux was also a gifted composer.  If you enjoy what you listen to, my colleague and dear friend, Stephen Tharp, recently recorded the complete organ works of Jeanne Demessieux; he is one of only a small handful of organists to do so.  Unfortunately, the CD is out print, however, you can purchase the recording on iTunes.

Here is the entire hymn text.