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Decently habited, CLXXIV

April 12, 2015

Walking the labyrinth in Sewanee.


Congratulamini mihi

April 11, 2015

300x300IN the contemporary church, the sense of wonder at the specific, physical thing that has happened in the Resurrection is frequently lost. Christ was raised personally and bodily, not as a floating spirit but as a new and physical reality. It is why we believe in the resurrection of the body.

Once we get right our thinking about Easter, then we can so well understand the responses of the disciples and of the women who came upon the empty tomb on the first day of the week. What joy, what exaltation! To see once again this man whom they had believed to be the Messiah, whom they had seen dead and buried, and yet to see him before them once again, raised from the dead and to know that it was all true.

Our forebears knew this heartfelt rejoicing, and our forebears in music likely knew it better than most. Thomas Crequillon’s setting of John’s account of Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden is unrestrainedly and palpably joyous.

As Andrew Carwood writes,

“Often the drama of the triduum and the music associated with it, and the fact that few choirs in the twenty-first century sing in the period immediately after Easter, hide the excellence of Paschal music. The exuberance and joy is clear to see in Thomas Crecquillon’s setting of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ Congratulamini mihi. So total is the composer’s sense of joy that even the words ‘et dum flerem’ (‘and while I was weeping’) receive only scant attention…. The secunda pars is more sombre, as the confused Magdalene attempts to make sense of the empty tomb. Crecquillon uses a common device of Renaissance motet composition and repeats the music from the end of the first section in order to complete the second, and thus the sense of joy is recaptured.”1

It is sung here by the incomparable Stile Antico.

Congratulamini mihi omnes qui diligitis Dominum,
quia quem quaerebam apparuit mihi:
et dum flerem ad monumentum,
vidi Dominum meum. Alleluia.

Tulerunt Dominum meum,
et nescio ubi posuerunt eum:
si tu sustulisti eum dicito mihi:
et dum flerem ad monumentum,
vidi Dominum meum. Alleluia.

Rejoice with me, all you who love the Lord,
for he whom I sought has appeared to me;
and while I was weeping at the tomb
I saw my Lord. Alleluia.

They have taken away my Lord,
and I do not know where they have put him;
if you have taken him tell me;
and while I was weeping at the tomb
I saw my Lord. Alleluia.
[Responsory in Paschal time, after John 20:13,15,18]

1. Andrew Carwood, liner notes to “Guerrero: Missa Congratulamini mihi & other works” (London: Hyperion, 2010), 5.

Decently habited, CLXXIII

April 9, 2015

The choir of St. Andrew’s Church, Birmingham, Ala.


Dum transisset Sabbatum, II

April 5, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJOHN TAVERNER’S setting of the third responsory at Matins on Easter Day, Dum transisset Sabbatum, is perhaps one of the best known and most majestic of all works of Tudor polyphony. Less well known is his second setting of this text. Sung here by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, the successor to Cardinal College, of which Taverner was the first organist to be appointed and for which he composed this piece, the second setting employs the range and musical language of the first setting to a different — though no less successful — effect.

Like Taverner’s first setting, the second’s soaring part writing imparts to us the majesty and awe that first Easter, very early in the morning, on the first day of the week.

Dum transisset Sabbatum Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi et Salome emerunt aromata, ut venientes ungerent Jesum, alleluia. Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum orto jam sole. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary [the mother of] James, and Salome brought spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus, alleluia. And very early the first of the Sabbath, they came to the monument, the sun being now risen. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. [Mark 16:1-2]

Deus, Deus meus

April 3, 2015

ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified; Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.



March 30, 2015


My aunt, therefore, had inherited a firm and missionary Anglicanism, with strong prejudices against Roman Catholicism, continental Protestantism, Scotch Presbyterianism, British Dissent, and all American religious bodies except Protestant Episcopalianism.

Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1957/2012), 8.

Good signs, XXIII

March 26, 2015

Christ Church, New Haven, Conn.


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