Saturday, January 23, 2010

Liturgical Variations: Understanding Liturgical Worship, Part IV (b)

The historic mass follows the Kyrie with the Gloria. The Lutheran Rite now offers "This Is the Feast" as an alternate.

Regarding the Gloria, Micah at Liturgical Variations says
Assured He will come with mercy, we burst forth in song, proclaiming Who He is and what He has done for us. We sing the very same song that the angels sang when Christ physically came to earth (Immanuel- God-with-Us) to pay for the sin of all people...
The Gloria is drawn from the Latin Mass. Here is a look at the historic Latin text and a literal translation of it.

Historic Latin Text
Gloria in excelsis Deo
et in terra pax hominibus bonevoluntatis
laudamus te
benedicimus te
adoramus te
glorificamus te
gratias agimus tibi
propter magnam gloriam tuam
Dómine Deus Rex cæléstis
Deus Pater omnípotens
Dómine Fili unigénite Jesu Christe
Dómine Deus Agnus Dei Fílius Patris
qui tollis peccáta mundi
miserére nobis
Qui tollis peccáta mundi
súscipe deprecatiónem nostram
Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris
miserére nobis
Quóniam tu solus Sanctus
Tu solus Dóminus
Tu solus Altíssimus
Jesu Christe
Cum Sancto Spíritu
in glória Dei Patris

Iggy's Translation
[Please ask permission before borrowing this translation]
Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to men of goodwill.
We praise You;
We bless You;
We worship You;
We glorify You;
We give thanks to You
for Your great glory.
Lord God, Heavenly King
God the Father Almighty.
Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ;
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
Who takes away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us;
Who takes away the sin of the world,
receive our prayers;
Who sits at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For You alone are holy,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit
in the glory of God the Father.

The Gloria and its counterpart This Is the Feast are often omitted in Advent and Lent. This reflects the penitential nature of these seasons.

We get the term "Gloria" from the Latin Bible. It is the first word in the song the angels sang to the shepherds.

Gloria in excelsis deo
Glory to God in the highest

Below is a straight-forward Latin Gloria set to Gregorian chant.

Here is a wonderful setting of the Latin Gloria sung by a boys choir.  The setting is by Valentin Rathgeber, an early Baroque composer.  It is common even today that a cantor introduces (or intones) the first phrases of the Gloria with a chant, and then the choir or congregation responds with the rest of the text.

Bach and Vivaldi have wonderful settings of the Gloria. They provide a setting for each sentence or phrase of the Gloria, so these will be less practical for congregational worship. Bach's version takes over six minutes just to get through the first line. If you are looking to highlight the Gloria in your annual Christmas concert, though, these would be wonderful options.

JS Bach, Part I
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
et in terra pax hominibus bonevoluntatis

Vivaldi, Part I
Gloria in Excelsis Deo

A contemporary composer who takes a shorter approach is John Rutter. This one is three sections, but still about 20 minutes long. If you use this in the Divine Service, you might have the choir sing one of the three sections, and have a cantor chant the other two.

Rutter, Part I
Gloria in excelsis Deo
et in terra pax hominibus bonevoluntatis
laudamus te
benedicimus te
adoramus te
glorificamus te
gratias agimus tibi
propter magnam gloriam tuam
Gloria excelsis Deo

If you are looking for a straight-forward setting and you want ot show off your choir's Latin skills in a single, brief setting, try this Mozart work.

This is the second post of four in a series about the Kyrie and Gloria in the Divine Service based on a post by Micah at Liturgical Variations.  Next in this series, comparing English translations of the Gloria.

Check out all of Micah's posts over at Liturgical Variations.  Micah is a student at Concordia University Texas.

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