Thursday, August 11, 2016

An Antiphon from the Church of the Beatitudes

When in the Holy Land on pilgrimage a few years ago, I visited the Church of the Beatitudes, and in the adjoining gift shop I bought a postcard-sized reproduction of a piece of Gregorian chant whose text was, of course, the Beatitudes - the whole text thereof. I assume it is an antiphon, and from the range of notes and its final, it must be in mode IV; but I have been unable to locate its source. Just today I got around to typesetting it: here it is.

The odd-numbered beatitudes each share the same basic melody, as does part of the last beatitude - but in reverse: quoniam ipsorum est regnum cælorum has the tune of the first half-verse of each of those odd-numbered beatitudes, Beati qui persecutionem the same as their second halves, while patiuntur propter justitiam seems instead to have the same tune as that shared by the even-numbered beatitudes.

Can anyone identify its source? Could it be Franciscan?

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