Saturday, December 8, 2012

Another Baroque Canticle

To my own satisfaction at least, I have traced the Advent Prose Rorate cæli to a French Oratorian in the early 16th century; here is another Baroque composition, the Lætentur cæli, part of a Christmas Novena first composed and celebrated in Turin in 1720.  This is a pleasant collection of Advent antiphons, versicles and responsories, some drawn directly from Scripture no doubt, but nearly all dependent upon their use in the Roman Breviary during Advent.  

Apparently it was chanted, as if a psalm, before a "little chapter" – itself taken from the text of a responsory, being an amalgam of Scriptural passages – and then a hymn, leading up to the singing of the Magnificat: it was preceded by another such cento canticle, which I will post about later.  The whole Novena is reminiscent of the usual format of Vespers, but if anything paralleling the Greek tradition of composing troparia, kontakia and the like, based upon Scriptural themes.

I subjoin an English version below.

[Fr Antonio Vacchetta, 1720]

1. “Lætentur cæli et exultet terra, * jubilate, montes, laudem.”[1]
2. “Erumpant montes jucunditatem * et colles justitiam.”[2]
3. “Quia Dominus noster veniet, * et pauperum suorum miserebitur.”[3]
4. “Rorate, cæli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum: * aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.”[4] (Is 45:8a)
5. “Memento nostri, Domine, * et visita nos in salutari tuo.”[5] (Ps 105:4a,c)
6. “Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam: * et salutare tuum da nobis.”[6] (Ps 84:8)
7. “Emitte Agnum, Domine, dominatorem terræ, * de petra deserti, ad montem filiæ Sion.”[7] (Is 16:1)
8. “Veni ad liberandum nos, Domine, Deus virtutum: * ostende faciem tuam, et salvi erimus.”[8]
9. “Veni, Domine, visitare nos in pace, * ut lætemur coram te corde perfecto.”[9]
10. “Ut cognoscamus, Domine, in terra viam tuam, * in omnibus gentibus salutare tuum.”[10] (Ps 66:3)
11. “Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni, * ut salvos facias nos.”[11] (Ps 79:3b)
12. “Veni, Domine, et noli tardare: * relaxa facinora plebis tuæ.”[12]
13. “Utinam dirumperes cælos, et descenderes: * a facie tua montes defluerent.” (Is 64:1)
14. “Veni, et ostende nobis faciem tuam, Domine, * qui sedes super Cherubim.”[13]
Gloria Patri et Filio* et Spiritui sancto.
Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper* et in sæcula sæculorum amen.


“Præcursor pro nobis ingreditur Agnus sine Macula, secundum ordinem Melchisedech, Pontifex factus in æternum, et in sæculum sæculi.  Ipse est Rex justitiæ cujus generatio non habet finem.”[14] R/. Deo gratias.



1. Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad, * cry out praise, ye mountains.
2. Let the mountains break forth in cheerfulness, * and the hills, justice.
3. Because our Lord shall come, * and will have mercy on his poor ones.
4. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One: * let the earth be opened, and bud forth the Saviour.
5. Remember us, O Lord, * and visit us with thy salvation.
6. Shew us, O Lord, thy mercy: * and grant us thy salvation.
7. Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the Ruler of the earth, * from Petra of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion.
8. Come to deliver us, Lord, God of hosts: * shew us thy face, and we shall be saved.
9. Come, Lord, visit us in peace, * that we may rejoice before thee with a perfect heart.
10. That we may know, Lord, thy way on earth, * among all nations, thy salvation.
11. Stir up thy might, O Lord, and come: * that thou mayest save us.
12. Come, Lord, do not delay: * forgive the sins of thy people.
13. O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down: * the mountains would melt away at thy presence.
14. Come, and shew thy face to us, O Lord, * who sittest upon the Cherubim.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: * and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: * world without end. Amen.

Little Chapter:

The forerunner doth enter for us, a Lamb without blemish, according to the order of Melchisedech made a high priest for ever, and for ages of ages. He himself is the king of justice, whose generation hath no end. R/. Thanks be to God.

[1] ex Resp. ii, F. II infra hebd. I et II Adventus.
[2] ex Resp. ii, F. III infra hebd. I et II Adventus.
[3] ex Resp. ii, F. II infra hebd. I et II Adventus.
[4] Introitus, F. IV Quatuor Temp. Adv. & Dom. IV Adv.; Aña 1, Feria III ante vigiliam Nativitatis; V/. ad Vesp., Temp. Adv.; V/. ex Resp. i, F. III infra hebd. I et II Adv.; ex Resp. ii, F. VI Quatuor Temp. Adv.
[5] abbrev. V/. ad Sextam, Temp. Adventus; abbrev. V/. ex Resp. ii, F. IV infra hebd. IV Adv.
[6] All. V/. Dom. I Adv.; ex Grad., F. VI Quatuor Temp. Adv.; R/. br. ad Sextam, Temp. Adventus; V/. ex Resp. i, F. VI Quatuor Temp. Adv.; ex Resp. ii, ibid.
[7] Aña 2, Feria III ante vigiliam Nativitatis; V/. ad Mat., Dominica, F. II et V, Temp. Adv.
[8] R/. br. ad Tertiam, Temp. Adventus.
[9] Aña ad Magn. ad I Vesp. Dom. II Adventus.
[10] Aña 3, Feria III ante vigiliam Nativitatis.
[11] All. V/. Dom. III Adv.; V/. ex Resp. iii, Sabbato Quatuor Temp. Adv.; V/. ex Grad. iii, Sabbato Quatuor Temp. Adv.; ex Grad. iv., Sabbato Quatuor Temp. Adv.; V/. ex Tractus, Sabbato Quatuor Temp. Adv.
[12] V/. ad Nonam, Temp. Adventus; abbrev. Aña 3, F. VI ante vigiliam Nativitatis; ex Resp. iii, Sabbato Quatuor Temp. Adv.; abbrev. All. V/., Dom. IV Adv. (NB “plebis”, not “plebi”.)
[13] Introitus, Sabb. Quatuor Temp. Adv.
[14] Resp. ii, Feria V infra hebd. III Adventus.

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