Friday, September 16, 2011

Tu Mandasti and the Minor Propers for the 25th Sunday

The communion chant for the 25th Sunday of the Year is Tu Mandasti, one of my absolute favorites. It is a beautiful illustration of how the music provides information that goes beyond the presentation of the text alone. 

The chant is about how we've been commanded to keep God's commandments, which you might think would yield a chant that is solemn and stern, since we are being told about law. Instead, the  chant is in mode 5, a major mode, a joyful mode, a mode that evokes a sort of carefree celebration of life. Why? Why did the monks choose a happy mode in which to set this text? Well, if you know monks, you know that they are the happiest of people, quick to laugh and light in their demeanor. It must have always been that way. What liberates them from the cares of the world? The law of God, the order of their day, the rule. The rule and the guidelines is what grants the sense of freedom: one of the greatest paradoxes of the Christian life. It is something we can all enjoy provided we cling to the rule. The law is what gives us freedom.

Here is the Gregorian version.

Here is the set of minor propers for the day (in the ordinary form calendar) as rendered for the book The Simple English Propers

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