15 August 2014, The Assumption of the BVM (Novus Ordo)
Introit: Signum magnum, begin on E (as fa)
Offertory: Hail O Star that pointest, p. 366.
Communion: Beatam me dicent, begin on D (as re)
Recessional: Ave Regina Caelorum, PBC p. 120, begin on F (Congregation will sing simple tone, then schola will sing solemn tone.)
Ordinary from Mass IX, Credo III
Of the current formulary, only the Gradual and the optional Introit are part of the 'authentic' Gregorian repertory. The other elements are later compositions, though based on much older melodic models. Originally the Introit Vultum tuum was sung today, but that changed in late middle ages and/or early rennaissance to the well known Gaudeamus. In 1950, when Pope Pius XII solemnly proclaimed the Assumption to be a dogma of the Church, a monk of Solesmes († 2011) composed a new Introit, Signum magnum. We sang Gaudeamus last year, so this year we'll sing Signum magnum. This antiphon has three phrases:
- Signum magnum apparuit in caelo
- Mulier amicta sole et luna sub pedibus eius
- Et in capite eius corona stellarum duodecim
This well-known text from the 12th chapter of the Apocalypse (Revelation) has long been applied to our Blessed Mother in her role as Queen of Heaven. Hence it’s well suited to the celebration of her Assumption. She is among the most amazing of the mirabilia that God has wrought, as in the verse from Psalm 97. The melody relies heavily on the Introits In virtute tua and Probasti, from the Common of Martyrs outside of Paschaltide. It reaches high points at apparuit, pedibus, and capite, giving a clear focus on the glory that God has bestowed on the person of Mary, the pinnacle of His creation.
The Communion antiphon has two phrases:
- Beatam me dicent omnes generationes
- quia fecit mihi magna quia potens est
These two familiar phrases of the Magnificat that we pray every day at Vespers are set in a Mode 6 melody based on the the Communion Ecce Dominus veniet, sung on the Monday before Christmas Eve (EF: Ember Friday in Advent). The first phrase is a very steady Mode 6 formulaic statement. The melody reaches a high point—appropriately--over mihi, emphasizing the lifting up of Our Blessed Mother into heaven (which is the particular magnum done for her that we celebrate today). The melody ends with a typical Mode 6 cadence as we recognize with Mary that this is possible only because He who is the powerful one has done this for her.