Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gloria sei, wieder! Glory be, again!

Gloria sei dir gesungen
Glory to Thee be sung

Mit Menschen- und mit Engelzungen,
With singing folk and singing angels,

Mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schön.
With harp and beautiful cymbals.

Von zwölf Perlen sind die Tore
Of twelve pearls are the doors

An deiner Stadt, wir stehn im Chore
In Thy city, we stand with the choir

Der Engel hoch um deinen Thron.
of angels high on the throne.

Kein Aug hat je gespürt,
No eye has yet seen,

Kein Ohr hat mehr gehört
No ear has ever heard

Solche Freude!
Such joy!

Des jauchzen wir und singen dir
So we rejoice and sing to Thee

Das Halleluja für und für!
That Alleluja forever and ever!

Gloria sei! Glory Be!

Now let all the heavens adore Thee,
Let saints and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where, joining with the choir immortal,
We gather round Thy radient throne;
No eye has seen the light,
No ear has heard the might
Of Thy glory;
Therefore will we
Sing hymns of praise and joy to Thee!

Zion hört! Zion hears!

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her Star is risen, her Light is come.
Now come, Thou Blessèd One,
Lord Jesus, God's own Son:
Hail! hosanna!
We enter all
The wedding hall
To eat the Supper at Thy call.

Wachet auf! Wake up!

"Wake, awake, for night is flying,"
The watchmen on the heights are crying;
"Awake, Jerusalem, arise!"
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
"Oh, where are ye, ye virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes, awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
With bridal care
Yourselves prepare
To meet the Bridegroom who is near."

Exploring Music: Rachmaninoff Vespers

Last week on Exploring Music the topic was Sergei Rachmaninoff.  There's something about Russian choral music of this time that is lush and thick.  It might be that while my favorite hymns are in 4-part harmony, Russian liturgical music of this time often had 8 or more parts.

For his setting of "Joyous Light of Glory" in Vespers, Rachmaninoff starts off simply enough, with the tenor part alone, then adding in layers and layers and layers.  In the embed below, you can see how he splits the different voices in different places, sometimes the Soprano isn't singing at all, and the 2nd soprano is split into 3.  You can follow the music in the video.  For an English translation, see page 244 in Lutheran Service Book (Phos Hilarion - Hymn of Light).

Another surprise in this Vespers is the use of the Gloria in the Great Doxology (also called "Greater Doxology").  While Christians of the Western Rite probably think of the Gloria for our mass and the Doxology as something sung to Old Hundredth, it appears that Christians of the Eastern Rite sing a longer version of the Gloria during daily prayer services as well.  You can catch the entire text here.  There is a curious placement of the phrase, "And the Holy Spirit" in this version.

O Lord, Heavenly King,
God the Father Almighty,
O Lord the Only-begotten Son,
Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit,
O Lord God,
Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,

The Western Gloria places the phrase later in the text, near the end.

For Thou only art holy;
Thou only art the Lord,
Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost [Spirit],
art most high in glory of God the Father. Amen.

Here is the complete text from the Eastern Rite, set to music by Rachmaninoff.

If this is the Greater Doxology, what is the Lesser Doxology? This one is closer in length to the "Common" Doxology sung to Old Hundredth. It is also known as the Minor Doxology.  Here it is in Latin and English, plus the Common Doxology.

Lesser Doxology
Gloria Patri,
et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio,
et nunc, et semper,
et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit [Old English: Ghost]
as it was in the beginning,
and now and always and in the ages of ages.* Amen.

*world without end
*from age to age
*forever [and ever]

Common Doxology
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Now, I do not come from the Eastern Tradition, so if those of you who do have any corrections OR your Latin is better than mine, feel free to drop any updates into the comment section.

WORD ALERT: The term "doxology" literally means "praise word".  In Christian circles it usually involves a praising the Triune God, The one-God-in-three-persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.