19 April 2013, Friday in the first week after the Easter Octave (EF)

19 April 2013, Friday in the first week after the Easter Octave (EF)

[Feria VI infra hebd. I post Oct. Paschae]

Missa Cantata, 8.00 AM

Introit: Misericordia Domini, begin on D (as re)

Alleluia 1: Cognoverunt discipuli, begin on E (as mi)

Alleluia 2: Ego sum pastor bonus, begin on D (as re)

No Credo.

Offertory: Deus, Deus meus, begin on E (as do)

Communion: Ego sum pastor, begin on G (as mi)

Recessional: Regina Caeli, PBC, p. 121, begin on E (as fa)

Dismissal from Mass I, as in Paschaltide apart from the Octave and Pentecost, PBC, p. 48.

Mass I (Lux et origo) PBC, p. 46ff. No Credo.

The Introit antiphon has two phrases:

  1. 1.Misericordia Domini plena est terra, alleluia:
  2. 2.verbo Dei caeli firmati sunt, alleluia, alleluia.

The chant begins with tender and mellow tones—the half-tone interval recurs three times in the opening words—which sing of God's mercy. For today is the Sunday of the Good Shepherd. Everything breathes of His goodness His love, His understanding pity. He knows His own. He acknowledges every indication of good will; He recognizes our weakness and knows how to have compassion on us. All the earth must in very deed praise His merciful love, for He has given His life for everyone. Than this there is no greater love, as He Himself has declared. The melody develops very gradually. The notes d-f at the beginning become e-f-g over Do-(mini) and f-a on the third syllable of alleluia, yet so that the first phrase rests on f .

            A more energetic spirit is evidenced in the fourths of the second phrase and the accent on g. We are speaking here of God's almighty fiat. This one word sufficed to stabilize the heavens. But to unlock for us the heaven of divine mercy, the Word of God went to a most cruel death. At this thought a heartfelt alleluia—the apex of the melody—must ascend from our hearts. We summon all the just to join in our song. The only other time we hear this bright, jubilant melody is at the end of the Introit of the Rogation Mass and in the more recent Introit for the feast of St. Paul of the Cross (April 28). As usual in the fourth mode, the psalm-verse has a as its dominant. Thus we have the gradation: the first phrase f ; the second g; the psalm-verse a.

Alleluia Verse 1 has two phrases:

1.Cognoverunt discipuli Dominum Jesum

2.in fractione panis.

Alleluia Verse 2 has three phrases:

1.Ego sum pastor bonus:

2.et cognosco oves meas

3.et cognoscunt me meae.

These two Alleluia verses pave the way for the Gospel. There the Lord will say: ‘I know Mine and Mine know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father.’ Both verses speak of recognition of the Lord. The former leads us back to Emmaus and permits us to experience in ourselves the happiness of the disciples at table. Their hearts were burning within them when that mysterious traveling Companion spoke to them. But now they recognize the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

Originally this melody was sung to the text Domine Deus, salutis meae, which is sung on the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (EF). Alleluia has the form a b c c1. The frequent pressus are introduced in various ways. Over (Al)-le-(luia) a group of four notes precedes the pressus; the same is true of the close of the jubilus: e f e d eeg a g a gg. In the b-member, groups of three notes precede: c b a ccg a b aa; in c and c1, groups of two notes: g a ccb g aa. The effectiveness of the melodic line will be increased if the pressus is not accented too strongly and the preceding notes are stressed a little more. The address to God composes the first phrase of the verse. Here there is melodic tension, ascending until it closes on the old dominant of the third mode. The pressus in the following plea helps it make more of an impact. The extreme limits of this descending curve give the melodic line c b a g f e, which is, however, enlivened by thirds. Domine Deus must be sung solemnly. The annotated manuscripts here have broad markings almost exclusively. In connection with the Gospel which follows, this song sounds like a cry for the redemption of a world sick unto death. On the feast of the Precious Blood (EF) and of St. Benedict Joseph Labre (April 16; EF) the same melody is sung. The poignant sorrow is transfigured by the Paschal Alleluia.

Similarly, the melody of the second Alleluia is not original. In older manuscripts as well as in the present Gradual it is assigned to the feast of the Martyrs Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum (January 19; EF). The jubilus of Alleluia exhibits the form ab, cb, d. The verse repeats the melody of Alleluia and its jubilus over cognosco oves meas and over et cognoscunt me meae. Since the original is not drawn out, the similarity of sound between the words prompted this repetition. The result is not an entirely satisfactory, because we hear the same melody four times. Two small variations, however, should be mentioned. The beginning of the second and third phrases is lighter than that of Alleluia. In the same manner, meas avoids the pressus at the close of the jubilus, for as yet there is here no question of a complete ending. The inception with the dominant over Ego sum is remarkably effective, even though this text that is a substitute for the original.

The Offertory has two phrases:

1.Deus, Deus meus, ad te de luce vigilo

2.et in nomine tuo levabo manus meas, alleluia.

Christ is the shepherd and bishop of our souls, as the Epistle of this Mass calls Him. He keeps a faithful watch over His sheep, never resting, never slumbering. Hence it is fitting that my first waking thought be directed to Him, that my heart turn to Him at the first streak of dawn (de luce). And even more, since on this morning He again desires to be mine entirely, and wishes me to partake of His divine life in the Eucharistic Banquet. Just as at the Offertory the priest lifts up his hands together with the sacrificial gifts of bread and wine, so shall I also lift up my hands and offer myself as an oblation, singing my Alleluia in the joy of the Holy Spirit and confiding in the omnipotence of His grace (in nomine tuo). In early times these sentiments were expressed by these verses: ‘I come before You, to see Your power and Your glory. You have been my Helper. And I will rejoice under the cover of Your wings.’ In the Offertory the divine Redeemer prays to His heavenly Father and protests His continual readiness to be sacrificed. Here and now He becomes the Lamb which is offered for us on the altar.

In the quiet first phrase, luce is the only word which rises to somewhat greater prominence. Is this perhaps to remind us of the sudden flashing of the light? The tone-sequences over the second syllable are heard at various times: in the Vidi aquam, where there is mention of flowing water with aqua ista; in the Offertory Inveni David, when it speaks of flowing oil with the words oleo sancto. Almost all Mode 2 pieces close the first phrase on c. But here the seconds, without any pressus, do not have that strong modulatory power we find in, for example, the Introit Mihi autem for Apostles. In its first half, the second phrase is somewhat more lively, setting in immediately on the dominant and taking on a more ornate melody with in nomine tuo, upon which is placed a fourth as an antithesis to that occurring in the first phrase. The second part returns to the simple pastoral style of the first phrase, which feeling is strengthened by the minor third d-f, the usual combination of dominant and tonic in Mode 2 pieces.

The Communion antiphon has two phrases:

1.Ego sum pastor bonus, alleluia

2.et cognosco oves meas, et cognoscunt me meae, alleluia, alleluia

Each Holy Communion is a pledge that the Good Shepherd continuously leads us to the springs of eternal life, for He alone is the Good Shepherd. Hence Ego occupies a very emphatic position at the beginning of the piece. If other voices entice us and seek to influence our judgment, then we must turn to Him alone and listen only to His voice.

            The Communion has the same text as the second Alleluia-verse, but a different development. The two phrases et cognosco and et cognoscunt begin with the same motif. But in place of the parallelism in the Alleluia, the melody in the Communion over et cognosco oves meas shows a lively upward swing with the range of a sixth. It portrays the great love of the Good Shepherd for His sheep. But et cognoscunt has only seconds and its range is but a third. The melody tells us that compared to His knowledge of us, our knowledge of Him will always be limited. Usually, the alleluia in Eastertide is sung with a strong cry (cf. the alleluia in today's Introit). But the one inserted between the words of our Lord here and the two at the end are much more the simple melody of a shepherd in the fields.

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