Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas: This is He whom Seers in Old Time

A few years back I attended Music of the Baroque's "Holiday" concert. It featured music from the Renaissance and earlier. These early Christian texts were far more focused on the incarnation, "the Word Became flesh," than they were on the story of a baby in a manger.

Corde natus ex parentis, or "Of the Father's Love Begotten" was written in the 5th century by Au­rel­i­us Pru­den­ti­us. Rather than focusing on the historical account, Prudentius gives us details on the means and purpose and background of the Messiah's coming.

Since there are more verses than are found in most hymnals, the English and Latin texts are taken from the original Cyber Hymnal, now found at www.hymntime.com. The English text has the addition of "evermore and evermore" at the end of each stanza, so the Latin phrase, "saeculorum saeculis" has been added below.

If you listen to just one of these settings, take the last one, which combines the ancient chant with a modern South African freedom song.


Fred Gramann: Change Ring Prelude on Divinum Mysterium
Back Bay Ringers


Corde natus ex parentis
Ante mundi exordium
A et O cognominatus,
Ipse fons et clausula
Omnium quae sunt, fuerunt,
Quaeque post futura sunt,
Saeculorum saeculis.

Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

Paul Wohlgemuth: Of the Father's Love Begotten
Baylor University Combined Choirs


Ipse iussit et creata,
Dixit ipse et facta sunt,
Terra, caelum, fossa ponti,
Trina rerum machina,
Quaeque in his vigent sub alto
Solis et lunae globo,
Saeculorum saeculis.

At His Word the worlds were framèd;
He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean
in their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun,
Evermore and evermore!

Unknown: Of the Father's Love Begotten


Corporis formam caduci,
Membra morti obnoxia
Induit, ne gens periret
Primoplasti ex germine,
Merserat quem lex profundo
Noxialis tartaro,
Saeculorum saeculis.

He is found in human fashion,
Death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below
Evermore and evermore!

"BrotherAlphonsusMary" sings without accompaniment


O beatus ortus ille,
Virgo cum puerpera
Edidit nostram salutem,
Feta Sancto Spiritu,
Et puer redemptor orbis
Os sacratum protulit,
Saeculorum saeculis.

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
Evermore and evermore!

Wilbur Held: Divinum Mysterium


Psallat altitudo caeli,
Psallite omnes angeli,
Quidquid est virtutis usquam
Psallat in laudem Dei,
Nulla linguarum silescat,
Vox et omnis consonet,
Saeculorum saeculis.

This is He whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

Justin Merritt: Corde Natus ex Parentis
Arizona State Symphonic Choir


Ecce, quem vates vetustis
Concinebant saeculis,
Quem prophetarum fideles
Paginae spoponderant,
Emicat promissus olim;
Cuncta conlaudent eum,
Saeculorum saeculis.

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
And extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

Unknown: Of the Father's Love Begotten
The Sons of Orpheus


Macte iudex mortuorum,
Macte rex viventium,
Dexter in Parentis arce
Qui cluis virtutibus,
Omnium venturus inde
Iustus ultor criminum,
Saeculorum saeculis.

Righteous judge of souls departed,
Righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted
None in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive,
Evermore and evermore!

Unknown: Of the Father's Love Begotten
Santa Barbara High School Madrigals


Te senes et te iuventus,
Parvulorum te chorus,
Turba matrum, virginumque,
Simplices puellulae,
Voce concordes pudicis
Perstrepant concentibus,
Saeculorum saeculis.

Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

Unknown: Of the Father's Love Begotten
Cool Springs Symphony


Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre
Hagioque Pneumate
Hymnus, decus, laus perennis,
Gratiarum actio,
Honor, virtus, victoria,
Regnum aeternaliter,
Saeculorum saeculis.

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!

Sean Ivory and Paul Caldwell: Hope for Resolution
[Of the Father's Love Begotten
with Thula sizwe,
a South African Freedom Song]
Lutheran Youth Choir of North America


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