Monday, 7 December 2009

The Chants for "Peace Garden"

Some people have expressed interest in what the chants mean that are being used so here are the texts for them.

"Dominus dixit ad me: “Filius meus es tu , ego hodie genui te.” Quare fremuerunt gentes, et populi meditati sunt inania."

The Lord said unto me: “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee. – Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?

"De libro Isaiae prophetae.

Haec dicit Dominus Deus : Egredietur virga de stripe lesse, et flos de radice eius ascendet; et requiescet super eum spiritus Domini; spiritus sapientiae et intellectus, spiritus consilii et fortitudinis, spiritus scientiae et timoris Domini et deliciae eius in timore Domini."

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.

"Christe redemptor omnium, ex Patre Patris unice, solus ante principium natus ineffabiliter.

Sic praesens testatur dies, currens per anni circulum, quod solus a sede Patris mundi salus adveneris.

Hunc caelum, terra, hunc mare, hunc omne quod in eis est, auctorem adventus tui laudans exsultat cantico.

Gloria tibi Domine, qui natus es de Virgine, cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu in sempiterna saecula. Amen."

Christ, redeemer of the world, Only Begotten Son of the Father, born ineffably of Him before time began.

The present day, brought back by the yearly cycle, attests to this; from the throne of the Father thou alone didst come down to save the world.

The heavens, the earth, the sea and all that is contained therein join together in a joyous canticle of praise for this day which marks thy coming.

Glory to thee, O Lord, who wast born of a Virgin, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

As the theme is the Twelve Days of Christmas and I am recreating aspects of a monastic cloister, I have chosen texts which speak specifically about the day itself, the First Day of Christmas, as well as other facets of the piece. I decided to start with the introit Dominus Dixit as the image of nations plotting in vain feel appropriate for a Peace Garden. Then, to follow that with the well known prophetic section of the text from Isaiah, a single voice reading in the darkness. The final chant, Christe Redemptor Omnium, is a timeless hymn sung by all that has a clear focus on the First Day itself. This is then followed by a church bell, ringing five times (five gold rings) which signifies the end of the cycle before it returns to the start and begins all over again, as it does every year.

All chant recordings for this piece are by the Abbaye de Solesmes, who have given their permission for them to be used for this piece in this context and I am truly grateful to them for their generosity in helping this piece come to life for the people of Gateshead.