Friday, 19 June, St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin (8am Missa Cantata)

Friday, 19 June, St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin

8am Missa Cantata

Introit: Dilexisti justitiam, begin on F (as sol)

Gradual: Specie tua, begin on E♭ (as fa)

Alleluia: Adducentur, begin on E (as me)

Offertory: Filiae regum, begin E (as sol)

Communion: Quinque prudentes, begin on D (as fa)

Recessional: Salve Regina, simple tone, begin on C (as do)
Ordinary will be from Mass XII, no Credo. 

The text of this Introit, taken from Psalm 44, is sung often in the Roman rite. It is the text of the Introit and the Gradual for the Baptism of the Lord, of the Introit for the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday and for the Common of Virgins, and of the Gradual and the Communion for the Common of Virgins. Probably composed to celebrate the wedding of the king with a foreign princess, Christians saw in the text a reference to the anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit, and later, to the consecration of virgins. The antiphon has three phrases:

  1. Dilexisti justitiam and odisti iniquitatem
  2. propterea unxit te Deus Deus tuus
  3. oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis.

We have the repetition in the phrase, Deus, Deus tuus, as elsewhere, because the original text used the tetragrammaton, YHWH. Later, when this was considered too sacred to utter, the text was changed to a form of Elohim, creating the redundancy. The melody is a very straightforward Mode 8 composition. The manuscripts indicate a slight hold over the ascending high point over justitiam, and conversely have us sing the expanded neume over (ini)-qui-(tatem) quickly. As in true also in our lives; we need to keep our attention on righteousness, and not prolong our attention to wickedness. The melody ascends again over propterea, unxit, and laetitiae, linking the joy that comes from anointing to the joy that comes from loving righteousness and hating wickedness. Annointing with oil in the ancient world was part of—and sometimes a substitute for—the ritual of bathing. So it’s appropriate for the feast of the Baptism, when Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit at the start of His public ministry. Many Medieval and Renaissance artists included a scene of Mary bathing the infant Jesus in their representations of the Nativity and other infancy scenes, making a connection to the Baptism in the Jordan as well as our own need to be cleansed. The anointing reference was later linked to the ceremony of the solemn consecration of virgins, one of whom we celebrate in this Mass.

The Gradual employs a formulaic Mode 5 melody. There are two phrases in the corpus and two in the verse:

  1. Specie tua et pulchritudine tua
  2. intende, prospere procede, et regna


  1. Propter veritatem et mansuetudinem et justitiam
  2. et deducet te mirabiliter dextera tua

The Alleluia verse has two phrases:

  1. Adducentur regi virgines post eam
  2. proximae ejus afferentur tibi in laetitia

We have almost the same melody as that of the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost and the fourth Sunday of Advent, with the latter requiring some expansion. It’s virtually certain that the verse Paratum cor meum for the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost is the original composition on which the others are based.

The jubilus has the form a a b. Its first member is formed from gab c c d b of Alleluia. The relation of Alleluia to the verse melody is not readily apparent. We find the florid closing melisma of the verse in all its length at the close of many a verse in Gradual-responsories of the first mode.  (Cf. All Saints, the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, or Domine praevenisti in the Common of Abbots.) But here in the Alleluia after ffec is inserted g g fg a, which is wanting in the previous melodies. Not only the close but the entire verse bears the impress of a piece of the first mode with its continued b. According to the present notation, the Alleluia belongs to the Mode 3, the verse to Mode 1. Originally the verse closed on e. And since the melody goes a full tone over e (now d e d), it ran e f# e; thus the entire piece was sung with f#, so that the verse began with d e f# gg ga. The melody not only had a frequent f#, but in the passage over et which now runs f a b c it also had c#. In order to write the f# on lines according to the rules of the old notation it was necessary here, as in many other selections, to transpose the entire piece a fourth higher; then the piece began with g ab c d and closed with a b a, as, in fact, many of the early sources actually give it. Then almost the entire piece could be written in the customary way, except for the passage over et, which even in the transposition retained an f# (the original c#).  A second transposition of a fourth made it possible also to write this note; then the piece began with c d e f g and the passage in question became f a b c, the melody remaining intact. But now its relation to the Alleluia had been changed. Formerly closing with the same note as the Alleluia, on e (or a fourth higher on a), the verse now closed on d and the Alleluia on e. If originally, from a purely melodic standpoint (even if not theoretically), e f# e was sung, and afterwards Alleluia with e f e was added, this should not seem strange. Similar combinations can be found elsewhere in plainsong. Thus in the Introit for the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost the first phrase ends with agababba, while the second begins with a g a b a a. With the present notation of Alleluia and verse a distinctive melodic finesse was lost. After the somewhat harsh ending on e f# e, Alleluia in the repetition entered gently and tenderly with e e f d. It is much simpler, of course, to say that Alleluia belongs to the Mode 3 and the verse to Mode 1. 

Using seconds only, the beginning of the verse seems almost timorous; re-(gi) has the first interval of a third. The treatment of the motifs c d e f then f g abb, and finally f a b c is obvious enough. As the motifs develop, the expression must likewise grow and expand. Then the melody rises a fourth and soars above the previous melodic line over virgines.

We have an excessively florid melisma here over afferentur. Whoever wants to resort to note-counting here has a real task. It appropriately conjures up the image of the long train of virgins being brought before the throne of the Lamb that they follow wherever He goes. We hear this melody likewise on the feast of St. John Damascene.

The Offertory has three phrases:

  1. Filiae regum in honore tuo
  2. astitit regina a dextris tuis in vestitu deaurato
  3. circumdata in varietate.

The faithful bear their offering to the altar at least spiritually. Among these there is many a royal soul that joyfully offers and dedicates itself to the heavenly King. But at the altar Christ has a still more stately escort of honor. For, previous to the consecration, the prayers of the Canon mention the names of holy men, to which the names of holy virgins and women ennobled by their martyrdom are added after the consecration. In the first place (In primis) is mentioned the name of ‘the glorious and ever-virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord and God Jesus Christ’ (Canon of the Mass). All other virgins follow her as the model.

In the first phrase both torculus should be discreetly emphasized, and after the second, the clives; bistropha and porrectus are then sung. In this manner the oft-repeated d in the torculus receives its proper value. Similar, but a step higher, is the development over tuo. The climacus with its e here indicates the climax: ‘The daughters of kings in thy glory.’ The vibrant bistropha of the second phrase call attention to the appearance of the queen. Here b, which so far had been avoided, occurs for the first time; it recurs over varietate. Quiet, solemn groups of two notes are sung, followed by a somewhat more rapid rendition of a dextris. The motive over regina is abbreviated over in vestitu, and developed over circumdata. The ornate deaurato might depict for us a heavy gold brocade. The melody here attains its greatest range. Like the first phrase, the second closes on the dominant c that plays an important role throughout the melody. The third phrase repeats the formula b c a g c and continues it immediately. The tonic e of the third mode, to which this melody is ascribed, appears only as a final note. The lowest note of the third phrase then is e, of the second f, and of the first g. This is one of the most sublime Offertories in plain chant, characterized, as it were, by the festive splendor of an Eastern sun.

The Communion antiphon has three phrases in a melody slightly expanded from an Office antiphon:

  1. Quinque prudentes virgines acceperunt oleum in vasis suis cum lampadibus :
  2. media autem nocte clamor factus est : Ecce sponsus venit :
  3. exite obviam Christo Domino.