25 July 2018, St James the Greater, Apostle (EF Missa Cantata, 7pm)

25 July 2018, St James the Greater, Apostle (EF Missa Cantata, 7pm)

IntroitMihi autem

GradualContitues eos

AlleluiaEgo vos elegi

Offertory: In omnem terram

CommunionVos qui secuti

Ordinary from Mass IV, Ambrosian Gloria, Credo II.

The Introit antiphon (Ps. 138:17) is divided into two phrases:

  1. Mihi autem nimis honorati sunt amici tui, Deus:  
  2. nimis confortatus est principatus eorum.  

At the Last Supper our divine Lord said to His Apostles: ‘I will not now call you servants: for the servant does not know what his Lord does. But I have called you friends: because all things I have heard of My Father, I have made known to you’ (John 15:15). He gave them knowledge and power unlike any seen before or since. Never was there a truer friend and never has friend given so generously as Jesus gave to His Apostles. Christ's Bride, the Church, shares the sentiments and emotions of her divine Founder. And hence she exclaims on the feasts of the holy Apostles: ‘To me Your friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable.’ With splendor she honors the Apostles in her divine services, although the feasts of the Apostles are no longer days of obligation. Numberless churches have been dedicated to their memory. Together with the Queen of the Apostles, their name is daily invoked during the sacrifice of the Mass. Solemn and ever-increasing awe pervades the melody until it reaches its proper climax on the accented syllable of honorati. It is a truly festal melody wanting a worthy, joyful rendition. 

The feeling of awe is even more vividly expressed in the preceding nimis with its descending interval of a fourth, which recurs again at the words (tu)-i, De-(us), and introduces the modulation to c. The second phrase is characterized by a strong accentuation of the tenor f, which is here the true dominant. The power which God has given his Apostles and through them to the Church will endure to the end of days, and no other power either on earth or in hell will prevail against it. With an interval of a fourth the second nimis begins immediately on the dominant, while confortatus repeats the motive of hono-(rati). Twice the melody ascends to a, where it is particularly effective over ebrum. The triple repetition of c d f g over the words Mihi autem ni-(mis), (a)-mici tui, and (prin)-cipatus is so skillfully interwoven with the whole that it is scarcely noticeable. 

This Introit is sung also on the feasts of the Apostles SS. Thomas, Matthias, Barnabas, within the Octave of SS. Peter and Paul, James the Elder, Bartholomew, Luke, Simon, and Jude. The melody was made use of extensively in the Introits for the feasts of St. Ignatius the Martyr, of the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi, and of the Holy Innocents. Compare also the Gradual for the feast of St. Matthias.

The Gradual (Ps. 44:17-18) has two phrases in the corpus and two in the verse.

  1. Constitues eos principes super omnem terram:
  2. memores erunt nominis tui, Domine
  3. V. Pro patribus tuis nati sunt tibi filii:
  4. propterea populi confitebuntur tibi

The melody announces a wonderful work of God, a great distinction that God has conferred upon His Apostles: He has created them princes. With awe the melody bows low before such great dignity. The inception of a fifth, the stressing of the dominant c, the ascending fifth g-d, the descending c-f depict for us the Apostolic conquest which is to embrace all lands and all peoples.

            The melody is peaceable and reassuring, for He who chose and commissioned the Apostles, came into this world to preach the Gospel to the poor. In this selfsame spirit the Apostles should subdue and bring peace to the world. They know and recognize the Prince of peace, know His name and understand the real nature of His being. They pledged themselves even to the shedding of their life's blood that His holy name might be made known to the limits of the earth.

            The motif over nominis tu-(i) is repeated over Domine, after which the bistropha of (tu)-i is pleasantly developed. Following tui a breath will evidently be necessary. By observing the mora on which follows the pause in the melody over Domine, quiet two-note groups will be effected. The close of Domine recalls that of principes and terram. The latter two, however, are more closely related: fga gg f rises to gac bb a. In holy wonder the singer now contemplates the Church and pours forth praise of her wonderful fruitfulness in saints, apostles and confessors. Special emphasis might well mark the word filii—designating the Apostle-princes—as also the word confitebuntur; technique of composition calls for florid melismas at the beginning of the verse, resulting in the extended melody over patribus tuis. The bistropha on divides the first member of this melody into two groups which, however, are not in harmony with one another. The energetic c b a c b g a corresponds to the more soft b a g a g f g.

            The melismas after the second pause enhance one another and reach their high point on f, which is twice extended. Sing the nati following broadly and give filii special warmth even though the melody is not very effective. St. Gaul 339 and Einsiedeln 121 seem to have sensed this and give the first eight notes over filii the broad form. To be sure, this typical form is always found in Graduals of the fifth mode. To illustrate we might refer to preces in the Gradual Protector noster of the fifth Sunday after Pentecost (EF; or 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time in OF), although there the melody really belongs to a significant word. The c a b g g a c d c over propterea answers the cabgfgac over (ti)-bi. In the first case is qualified by the following c; in the second b♭ by the following f.

            The melody of the present Gradual is also sung on Trinity Sunday. Where today we have a definite break in the melody after terram—demanded by textual punctuation—the Gradual of Trinity Sunday continues without interruption in its first phrase the melody over memores. A similar continuation over Cherubim in the same Gradual is somewhat unpleasant. A happier result was achieved in the verse. The melody of today's verse has been adapted almost perfectly to the verse on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The Alleluia verse has two phrases: 

  1. Ego vos elegi de mundo, ut eatis et fructum afferatis
  2. et fructus vester maneat

The text of the Alleluia is taken from the words of our Lord at the Last Supper when He reminds His Apostles of that morning when, after having spent the entire preceding night in prayer, He chose them. By His teaching He freed them from the spirit of the world and instilled into them a burning love for souls. He commissioned them to go out into the world and sow there the seed of the word of God that should bring forth fruit in due season. They responded and in their own time showed themselves to be a fruit wellripened by much prayer and many sufferings. The world was not only to hear their words, but also to see realized that which the Gospel had worked and brought to maturity in their own persons; and precisely for this reason have their preaching and labors and sufferings been of lasting worth. There is every reason then to sing this Alleluia with a grateful heart. 

In the oldest available manuscripts today's melody is written with the text Justi epulentur. It is there found among the melodies per circulum anni, from which the chanter might choose at pleasure. In the current Graduale it finds its place in the Common of many Martyrs. The melody was also adapted to the text Ego dilecto for the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary. Alleluia with its jubilus has the form a and b, a1, a2, c, d. The final member, however, with its f f f gag ef eed is rhythmically in close relation to the preceding member c. There is also great similarity between Ego and member a. The present text is well adapted to the original melody. Elegi is duly emphasized; mundo, which modulates to a full step below the tonic, combines the two half-phrases. A similar melody, but devoid of the concluding pressus, recurs over fructum. The double command, expressed by the words eatis and afferatis, has melodies much akin to one another. The melody over fructus is like an admiring look upward to the harvest of gathered fruits. In the original the latter word is replaced by delectentur—"let them rejoice." Its florid melisma, reminiscent of the Gradual verse Vitam on the feast of St. Joseph, has three members, the beginnings of the first two of which are similar. The third member with its three pressus carries the major accent, and extends to a fifth above the preceding and following member 

The Offertory (Ps. 18:5) has two phrases: 

  1. In omnem terram exivit 
  2. et in fines orbis terrae verba eorum.

The text in the original does not refer to vocal sounds but rather to the light waves which, emanating from the heavenly bodies, sweep the whole world. The Gospel, which the Apostles carried to the ends of the earth, is like this brightening, warming, healing, and life-giving light. According to legend St. James brought its doctrines to far-away Spain, at that time considered the edge of the world. During the Middle Ages crowds of pilgrims journeyed to his tomb and considered this visit as sacred and solemn as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places sanctified by the sufferings and death of our Lord. The melody is also used on the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany and can be compared with that of the Offertory of Holy Thursday. In the oldest manuscripts the melody is already set to this text, In omnem terram. It is difficult to ascertain which is the original composition. A few minor melodic variants appear as a result of the different accentuation in the different texts.  

The Communion antiphon (Matt. 19:28) has two phrases: 

  1. Vos, qui secuti estis me, sede bitis super sedes
  2. judicantes duodecim tribus Israel

The melody places special stress on the word vos. You, My faithful Apostles, in company with Me shall one day judge the world. The melody over tri-(bus) is extended over super—possibly a matter of tonepainting, as in the Gradual of the third Sunday of Advent over the same word. The climax of the entire melody is realized over sedes, where there is question of the thrones of the Apostles. The word-accents over judicantes and duodecim are well defined. Preceded by a pressus the melody descends twice to low c, followed both times by an interval of a fourth. This cadence is very effective wherever an independent thought is brought to a close. This is not the case here, however, especially over the word duodecim. With the special prominence given the dominant f we should expect the second mode rather than the first. 

This melody is not found in St. Gall 339, Einsiedeln 121, or Montpellier H. 159. The text, with an additional dicit Dominus:, forms the Communion for the feast of St. Bartholomew. The melody there, in the second mode, is very simple and almost entirely syllabic; nevertheless, it accentuates the words super sedes, and particularly the important word judicantes (by means of recitation on high g). Christ is speaking to His faithful Apostles. He to whom the Father hath given all judgment (John 5: 22), could not bestow a greater distinction than to assign them thrones next to His own seat of judgment, thus making them participants in His judicial power. 

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