Our Lady of the Rosary - 7 October

(Local Solemnity) Our Lady of the Rosary, Patronal Feast of SMoV

Introit: Gaudeamus, begin on C (as do)

Alleluia: PBC, p. 85. Mode VIII melismatic, with Lectionary verse.

Offertory: Ave Maria, begin on D (as fa)

Communion: Florete flores, begin on G (as fa)

Recessional: Salve Regina, PBC, p. 116 begin on C.

Ordinary from Mass IX (Cum jubilo) PBC, p. 55.

To refresh your memory, here again are the notes for this Introit with appropriate text changes. The Introit antiphon has two phrases. We'll break the first one into two parts:

  1. (a) Gaudeamus omnes in Domino,
    diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis:

  2. de cuius solemnitate gaudent Angeli et collaudent filium Dei

As we've noted before, this melody was originally composed for a Greek text on the feast of St. Agatha. It soon became a popular chant and was adapted for a number of feasts. Text and melody have two phrases. The first phrase summons the entire Church militant to rejoice in the Lord, for 'it is a festival day in honor of N.' (In this instance, the blessed Virgin Mary.) The second phrase depicts the reason for the triumphant joy of the Church. (In this instance, the victory of Mary over death.)

Each phrase has two members, each of which in turn has two sub-members. Both major members of the first phrase close on a high pitch: Domino, Virginis. The second phrase repeats over solemnitate and collaudent the ascending musical line of the first part. The melody here develops according to the declamatory accents that intelligent rendition would demand. The development and division of the piece might be pictured graphically as follows:

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino,

 Diem f. c. s. honore Mariae Virginis:

 d. c. solemnitate gaudent Angeli,

 et collaudant Filium Dei.

 The two motifs run through the entire Introit. The first occurs over sub honore, solemnitate, and with a variation, over collaudant and in Domino. It begins with the interval f-g and ascends by means of a lively torculus(once by means of a pes subbipunctisto c, thus recalling Gaudeamus. The second motive with its quiet seconds occurs over Dei, again a full tone higher over (An)-geli, and finally a fourth higher over (Do)-mino.

The high points of the melody are not reserved only to the accented syllables. The significant in Domino—'in the Lord'—for instance, is very prominent, and rightly so, since even the most solemn feast of the Blessed Virgin is a feast of our Divine Lord also. This thought is the invitatory antiphon of today's Office : Festivitatem (EF: Solemnitatem Rosarii) Virginis Mariae celebremus; Christum ejus Filium adoremus Dominum. The same thought recurs in the second phrase of the Introit—the angels glorify God because He has honored His Blessed Mother.

The first phrase begins as solemn and festal, the stress of voice increasing gradually up to the word Domino over which a and b are given special emphasis. Soft accents mark the words di-(em) fe-(stum) ce-(le)-bran-(tes), the thrice recurring double f especially being sung very lightly. This entire member should be rendered fluently. The member following is characterized by a progressive ascent and a gradual swell of the melody up to Virginis, which has a refreshing b. The double c over (Mari)-ae, the only mention of the name of Mary in the entire piece, should be rendered with warmth rather than with volume.

In the second phrase, a minor accent is placed over the second syllable of (so)-lem-(nitate). The porrectus over Ange-(li) carry the melody and should be somewhat emphasized. The dynamic high point of the phrase centers over collaudant. A further secondary accent stresses the third note over Fi-(lium).

[Notes repeated from Annunciation Mass] This Offertory is always at or at least near the top of the list of 'most beautiful' or 'most beloved' pieces in the Gregorian Mass repertory. It has four phrases:

  1. Ave Maria,

  2. gratia plena,

  3. Dominus tecum:

  4. benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui.

The melody tries valiantly to capture the awe-some nature of the most momentous event in human history, one completely beyond human understanding or appreciation. So it sinks into the deep with gratia, tecum, fructus; rises slowly with Ave, gratia, ventris; and again soars over Maria. Over Ave the passage f a f g f e is soon followed by the similar f a f g a g. After the upbeat over the first note of Maria, the grouping of the neums here given suggests a division into two-note groups: a cc cc | cagf | gaca | fgg. The two bistrophas, naturally, are to be sung with a very light swing. Plena is made prominent by its pressus, the first in this piece. We do not find the passage Dominus tecum in the early manuscripts; its melody is found in the Offertory-verses Posuisti and Angelus over the words gloria and stetit respectively. With some variations, this tyle of singing the verses was adapted to the text of the Offertory Beata es, which is sung on September 8 and on some other feasts. Here the melody occurs over the word virgo.

The second member is a repetition of the first. The brilliant phrase benedicta is characterized by its high pitch and by repeated and impressive accents: c d e e-c d d c-c d a a g-g c c b; then by the fourths d-a, g-c, a-d. These accents are still active in the last phrase: f g a a g, g a f f e , and g a a gg.

The Communion antiphon has two phrases:

  1. Florete flores quasi lilium, et date odorem, et frondete in gratiam

  2. collaudate canticum, et benedicite Dominum in operibus suis.

The melody is taken from the Communion Confundantur superbi of the Mass formulary for a Virgin Martyr; its phrasing, however, is not as good as it could be. In the original, the first phrase treats of the godless ones who should be confounded and closes with the melody that we here have over odorem. Injuste (here lilium) expresses just anger over the wrong that has been perpetrated on the saint by her persecutors. Out of this dark and somber background rises the beautiful figure of a Virgin and Martyr with the words Ego autem (here et frondete). In the ancient manuscripts the melody is assigned to the feast of St. Cecilia. The saint rises above all that is earthly, takes as it were her flight to heaven, and pledges immutable fidelity to the Lord's commandments. This magnificent line is interrupted on the feast of the Holy Rosary by a large pause after gratiam. The motive in the original stands over in mandatis but here begins a second phrase over collaudate. This, as various scholars have noted, is obviously a mistake. Abstracting from this, the Offertory with its new text can be made extremely effective. The clivis and torculus over the closing syllables of lilium, gratiam, and Dominum are as pleasing as flower-buds, while collaudate is expressive of true joy.

By "flowers" (flores) we are, no doubt, to understand the mysteries of the Lord and His blessed Mother. In quiet meditation they will blossom forth, vivifying and invigorating our hearts. They will encourage us to praise the Lord, to glorify His works, and all that "the only begotten Son by His life, death, and resurrection has purchased for us" (cf. the Collect). They should glorify the deeds which the Lord has wrought upon His Mother, the victories of Lepanto and Temesvar, the victory of grace over sin in the individual soul, and not least, the great victory of redemption which He has renewed today in the Sacrifice of the Mass and in which we share in the Eucharistic banquet—for we are singing a Communion song.

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