Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cistercian Elevation Chants

UPDATE: I have made a more accurate transcription of all three elevation chants.

The Cistercian Rite retained down to the liturgical changes of the 1960's the mediæval practice of singing an elevation motet after the elevation of the Host; and presumably all EF Masses in the Cistercian Rite still retain this laudable and pious custom. At Mass, after the chanted Sanctus, but before the Benedictus, the O salutaris Hostia is sung after the elevation; however, if it be Mass in honour of the Blessed Virgin, the Sanctus and Benedictus are sung first, and then the Ave verum after the elevation. The Cistercian version of the Ave verum includes a slight change in wording (fudit aquam cum, not fluxit aquam et), an additional last phrase (Tu nobis miserere, set to the same notes as fili Mariæ) and a few minor variants in the assignment of notes to syllables (for in exa- and …li Mari…).

At Requiem Masses, the Sanctus and Benedictus are sung first, then the Pie Jesu after the elevation. This last chant is particularly interesting, as it is clearly based on a variant tune for the last lines of the Sequence Dies iræ, which is not sung in the Cistercian liturgy. The invocation Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem is sung thrice, then sempiternam (from the Agnus Dei melody) is appended, with a final Amen. 

Herewith, the Cistercian O salutaris Hostia (whose melody is a slightly more elaborate variant of the Roman), Ave verum, and Pie Jesu:

At present, I like to silently pray these three in succession after the Elevation, during the silent Canon of the Mass.


Jakub Pavlík said...

Just a curious question: why did you transcribe from an 18xx Cistercian Gradual when newer editions are available online?

Joshua said...

Because only a few days ago I found it online, and am entirely ignorant of any newer editions available. Please enlighten me!

Jakub Pavlík said...

Here are the above mentioned Cistercian chant books

I must admit, however, that I haven't checked if the elevation chants are included.

Joshua said...

That is the same website I found!

Jakub Pavlík said...

Oh, what a fool I am! I always "knew" (and thus, writing the previous comments, didn't bother to check) that there is a gradual of age similar to the antiphonals (which are currently much more interesting for me). Now I see that "knowledge" was profoundly wrong.

Anne B said...

Branching out: I have the book, The Nativity, by St Bernard, which contains his teachings for later Advent till the Octave of the Epiphany. As it is profound, I intend to begin it soon. Today.