Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pentecost 2020

Loquebantur variis linguis Apostoli, alleluia, magnalia Dei, alleluia. V. Repleti sunt omnes Spiritu Sancto, et coeperunt loqui. Magnalia Dei. Gloria Patri. Alleluia. ~ R. The Apostles spoke in various tongues, alleluia, the wondrous works of God, alleluia. V. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and begant to speak of the wondrous works of God. Glory be. Alleluja. (The responsory at First Vespers of Pentecost in the Use of Sarum.)

The Descent of the Holy Spirit, 1618-20, by St Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641); public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.
As in almost every medieval Use of the Roman Rite, that of Sarum regularly sang one of the responsories of Matins between the chapter and hymn at First Vespers. Because of its prominence in the English liturgy, it was set by Thomas Tallis in polyphony; here is a really magnificent recording of his version by The Sixteen, conducted by Harry Christophers.

Palestrina also put his hand to it, with equally marvelous results; this version follows the Roman Breviary, where it is sung at Matins of Pentecost Tuesday; after “the wonderful works of God” are added the words “prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis, alleluja. – just as the Holy Spirit gave them to speak forth.” (This recording is also by The Sixteen.)

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