Sacred Music of Holy Week 2024

O Sacred Head Surrounded
Salve caput cruentatum, Ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux, 1091 – 1153, abbot, mystic, co-founder of the Knights Templar. From Bernard’s seven passion hymns.
Tune: Passion Chorale, Hans Leo Hassler (Germany, 1564 – 1612)
Harmony: J. S. Bach (Germany 1685 – 1750)

This three stanza, 12
th century, hymn has its’ roots in scripture, including Mark 15, John 19, Isaiah 63, Luke 24, Philippians 2, Hebrews 2, Hebrews 5, 1 Peter 3, Matthew 27, John 10, Romans 5, 1 Peter 2, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Corinthians 16, 2 Corinthians 5, 1 John 4, Isaiah 52and Isaiah 53.

O Sacred Head, surrounded
By crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding Head, so wounded,
Reviled and put to scorn!
The pow'r of death comes o'er you,
The glow of life decays,
Yet angel hosts adore you,
And tremble as they gaze.

I see your strength and vigor
All fading in the strife,
And death with cruel rigor,
Bereaving you of life;
O agony and dying!
O Love to sinner’s free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn your face on me.

In this, your bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
With your most sweet compassion,
Unworthy though I be:
Beneath your cross abiding
For ever would I rest,
In your dear love confiding,
And with your presence blest.

Ave Verum Corpus
William Byrd (England, 1543 – 1623)

This 13
th century Eucharistic hymn is said to have been written by either Pope Innocent III (1190 – 1216) or Pope Innocent IV (1245 – 1254). England’s William Byrd set this Gregorian chant as a polyphonic composition that was first published in 1605 under the rule of England’s Protestant King James I, son of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The text commemorates Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, and especial focuses on the great symbol of baptism. It takes scripture from Ezekiel, John gospel (19:34), the prophecy of Zacharias, and St. John’s Apocalypse (Revelation 22:1).

Ave verum corpus,
natum de Maria Virgine,
vere passum,
immolatum in cruce pro homine
cujus latus perforatum,
fluxit aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.
O Jesu dulcis, O Jesu pie,
O Jesu, fili Mariæ,
miserere mei.

Hail, true body,
born of the Virgin Mary,
who has truly suffered,
was sacrificed on the cross for mortals,
whose side was pierced,
whence flowed water and blood:
Be for us a foretaste (of heaven) during our final examining.
O Jesus sweet, O Jesus pure,
O Jesus, Son of Mary,
have mercy upon me.
And so it shall be.

A New Commandment
Thomas Tallis (England, 1505 – 1585)

The Holy Thursday Mandatum rite is often referred to as the Mandatum, from Jesus' words at the Last Supper (Jn 13:14) and also the first word of one of the antiphons that can be chanted during this special ceremony: "Mandatum novum do vobis…" (I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you, says the Lord).

A new commandment shows Tallis writing for the reformed rites of Edward VI and Elizabeth (who reinstated Edward’s First Prayer Book of 1549 when she came to the throne). They are examples of anthems which either use the word ‘commandment’ or refer to how one should live a godly life. This was especially important for Edward VI’s time when these anthems can be seen to reinforce the exhortation to godly living which was now explicit as a result of the Bible being read in English, and a greater emphasis on preaching and teaching. Gone are the great soaring lines of the pre-Reformation where, from time to time, it was difficult to hear which word the choir was singing. Gone also is the impressive English treble voice. Instead Tallis produces beautiful four-part miniatures in two sections.

A new commandment give I unto you, saith the Lord,
that ye love together, as I have loved you,
that e'en so ye love one another.
By this shall ev'ry man know
that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34-35

Verily, Verily, I Say Unto You
Thomas Tallis (England, 1505 – 1585)

The text of Verily, Verily is from the King James Bible (John 6:53). St. John tells of the Bread of Life Discourse, a portion of the teaching of Jesus which was delivered in the synagogue at Capernaum.

Verily, verily I say unto you,
except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink His blood, ye have not life in you.
Who so eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life,
and I will raise him up at the last day (bis)
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood
dwelleth in me, and I in him.

If Ye Love Me
Thomas Tallis (England, 1505 – 1585)
John 14: 15-17

Politics and dogma leave their temporary mark on the shifting sands of history, but music remains eternal.

The life of the great English composer Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585) is a testament to this idea. While Tallis remained an “unreformed Roman Catholic” throughout his life; he adapted professionally to serve the monarch of the time, and he wrote for the Latin Catholic Mass until Henry VIII’s break with Rome. After writing Anglican music, he returned to the Catholic Mass to accommodate Queen Mary. Under Elizabeth I, he returned to the Anglican tradition.

This brief four-part motet was published in 1565 during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. It is a setting of a passage from the Gospel of John (4:15-17). Tallis’ writing conforms to the pure style of the time, employing “to each syllable a plain and distinct note” as he explained it. If Ye Love Me is still standard sacred music of the Anglican tradition, with performances at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and during Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 visit to Westminster Abbey. Surviving the winds of change over the course of 400 years, it comes to us as pure music.

This text is taken from William Tyndale's translation of the Bible into Early Modern English c.
1522 –1535. The Tyndale Bible was in common use in the Church of England during the English Reformation.

If ye love me,
keep my commandments,
and I will pray the Father,
and he shall give you another comforter,
that he may bide with you forever,
e'en the spirit of truth.

Setting by William Byrd (England, 1543 – 1623)

This brief invocation and petition is similar to language found in the psalms (Ps. 6 and Ps. 40).
“Kyrie eleison” was a part of the mass in 4th century Jerusalem. “Christe eleison” was added by Pope Gregory I in the 6th century.

This Ordinary of the mass is a part of Byrd’s “Mass for three voices.”

Kyrie eleison
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

Byrd Mass for 3 voices manuscript
Kyrie from Byrd's Mass for Three Voices

Agnus Dei
Setting by William Byrd (England, 1543 – 1623)

The text of Agnus Dei is from scripture (John 1:25-26, 29). It was incorporated into the mass in the 7th century as a chant to accompany the Fraction (breaking of the bread). When leavened bread was used, this activity took a considerable amount of time.

This Ordinary of the mass is a part of Byrd’s “Mass for three voices.”

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace.

Sanctus and Benedictus
G. P. da Palestrina (Italy, 1525 – 1594)

The Sanctus and Benedictus texts are from Old and New Testament scriptures. Isaiah witnesses the seraphim angels crying out Holy, Holy, Holy when he enters the temple. St. Matthew tells of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the crowd chanting Hosanna to the Son of David. The crowd further chanting Psalm 118, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

In medival Europe, the Sanctus was sung following the Preface. The Benedictus immediately followed as the Canon was recited in Latin by the priest.

This setting of the Sanctus and Benedictus is from Palestrina’s 1590 Missa Æterna Christi Munera.

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth:
pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Ave Maria…Virgo Serena
Josquin des Prez (Flemish, Condé-sur-l'Escaut, France, c.1450 – 1521)

des Prez published this wonderful piece that speaks to the five important milestones of St. Mary's life. The text starts with the well known Ave Maria (Hail Mary…), then employs a medieval poem telling of St. Mary's life, and ends with a personal petition of des Prez, praying to St. Mary asking her to remember him.

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum,
Virgo serena.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord be with you,
serene (gentle) Virgin.

1. Conceptio
Ave cujus conceptio,
solemni plena gaudio
cœlestia, terrestria,
Nova replet lætitia.

Conception – December 8 (Mary’s freedom from original sin)
Hail whose conception,
solemnly filled with joy,
Heaven and earth
are filled with happiness of this news.

2. Nativitas
Ave cujus nativitas
nostra fuit solemnitas,
Ut lucifer lux oriens,
verum solem præveniens.

Nativity – September 8 (birth of Mary – 9 months after Conception)
Hail whose birth
was our solemn celebration,
as the light-bringer (Morning Star) from the east,
foretelling the coming of the true sun.

3. Annunciatio
Ave pia humilitas,
sine viro fœcunditas,
cujus annunciatio
nostra fuit salvatio.

Annunciation – March 25 (9 months before Christmas)
Hail pious humility,
created without a man
whose announcement
was our salvation.

4. Purificatio
Ave vera virginitas,
immaculata castitas,
cujus purificatio
nostra fuit purgatio.

Purification – February 2 (40 days after Christmas…)
Hail true virginity,
immaculate chastity
whose purification
was our purification (cleansing).

5. Assumptio
Ave præclara omnibus
Angelicis virtutibus,
cujus fuit assumptio
nostra glorificatio.

Assumption – August 15 (body & soul of Mary assumed to heaven)
Hail to you most glorious
Angelic virtues
whose assumption was
our glorification (unjustifiably admirable).

O Mater Dei,
Memento mei.

O Mother of God,
remember me.
And so it shall be.

Opening line of Ave Maria…Virgo Serena

Miserere miseris
Medieval Irish chant
Arr. Michael McGlynn (Ireland, b. 1964)
This sequencia (chant to follow the Alleluia of the mass in medieval times) was recorded in the 13th/14
th century “Dublin Troper.” It is a prayer to St. Mary, and reflects the deep roots of Ireland’s monastic communities that date back to the 5th century.

Miserere miseris fons misericordie
Si misera fueris parit aula glorie,
Honor nostri generis,
Archa novi federis,
et aurora gracie.

Have mercy on the suffering, fount of mercy.
You bore the glorious prince in your great mercy.
Greatest of our race,
the new ark of the covenant,
and the dawn of grace.

Adoro te devote
Gregorian chant: Thomas Aquinas (Italy, 1225 – 1274)
Polyphonic setting: Mariano Garau (S.Sardina, Italy , b.1952)

One of the five beautiful hymns by France’s 13th century St. Thomas Aquinas, composed at Pope Urban IV's (1261-1264) request when the Pope first established the Feast of Corpus Christi in 1264.

1. Adóro te devóte, látens Déitas,
Quæ sub his figúris, vere látitas:
Tibi se cor meum totum súbjicit,
Quia, te contémplans, totum déficit.

2. Visus, tactus, gustus, in te fállitur,
Sed audítu solo tuto créditur:
Credo quidquid díxit Dei Fílius;
Nil hoc verbo veritátis vérius.

3. In cruce latébat sola Déitas,
At hic látet simul et humánitas:
Ambo támen crédens átque cónfitens,
Peto quod petívit latro pænitens.

4. Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intúeor,
Deum támen meum te confíteor.
Fac me tibi sémper mágis crédere,
In te spem habére, te dilígere.

5. O memoriále mortis Dómini,
Panis vivus, vitam præstans hómini,
Præsta meæ menti de te vívere,
Et te illi semper dulce sápere.

6. Pie pellicáne, Jesu Dómine,
Me immúndum munda tuo sánguine,
Cujus una stilla salvum fácere,
Totum mundum quit ab ómni scélere.

7. Jesu, quem velátum nunc aspício,
Oro fíat illud, quod tam sítio:
Ut, te reveláta cernens fácie,
Visu sim beátus tuæ glóriæ.

1. I worship you devoutly, hidden Deity,
Which, under these figures, really lies:
My whole heart submits itself to you,
Because, contemplating you, all will be lost.

2. Sight, touch, taste, deceives you,
But it is safe to believe only by hearing:
I believe whatever the Son of God said;
Nothing is truer than this word of truth.

3. On the cross hid the Deities alone,
But here lies humanity at the same time:
Both still believing and trusting
I ask what the repentant thief asked.

4. I do not look at the plagues, like Thomas,
But my God, I trust you.
Make me always believe in you more
To have hope in you, to love you.

5. O memorial of the Lord's death,
The living bread, giving life to man,
I am ready to live with you
And you will always be sweet to him.

6. Pious pelican, Lord Jesus,
clean me from the unclean with your blood
Whose one drop will save
The whole world ceases to be a crime from everyone.

7. Jesus, whom I behold now veiled
Let it be done, I pray,
That, seeing thy face revealed,
I was happy at the sight of your glory.

And so it shall be.

Set Me As a Seal
René Clausen (USA, b. 1953)
Text: Scripture – Song of Songs 8:6a; 8:7a

The composer of this wonderful piece is René Clausen, retired Professor of Music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and conductor of the acclaimed Concordia Choir.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death.
Many waters cannot quench love;
neither can the floods drown it.

Ubi Caritas
Ola Gjeilo (Norway, b. 1978)

Since the 10
th century, "Ubi Caritas" has been chanted (as a Gregorian chant that likely originated in France) during Holy Week's Holy Thursday Mass. Schola sings this contemporary setting by Norway's Ola Gjeilo.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).

There Is a Green Hill Far Away
Text: Cecil Frances Alexander (Dublin, Ireland COI, 1818-1895)
Music: William Horsley (England, 1774-1858)

This song was originally written as a children's hymn that is now usually sung for Passiontide.

Alexander’s husband considered it among the best of those written by his wife, with one early 20th century contemporary noting the fine poetic skill and proclaiming that "she surpassed all other writers of sacred song in meeting a growing demand for children’s hymns". French composer Charles Gounod, who composed a musical setting on the hymn's text in 1871, considered it "the most perfect hymn in the English language", due in part to its striking simplicity.

There is a green hill far away,
without a city wall,
where the dear Lord was crucified,
who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
what pains he had to bear,
but we believe it was for us he hung and suffered there.

He died that we might be forgiv’n,
he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heav’n,
saved by his precious blood,

There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin;
he only could unlock the gate of heav’n,
and let us in.

O dearly, dearly has he loved,
and we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.

Earth Song
Frank Ticheli (USA, b. 1958)

A cry for peace in a world torn by war, this poignant a cappella setting of an original text is filled with striking dynamic contrasts. "Sing, Be, Live, See... This dark stormy hour, the wind, it stirs. The scorched earth cries out in vain... But music and singing have been my refuge, and music and singing shall be my light…"

Sing. Be. Live. See.
This dark stormy hour the wind, it stirs,
the scorched Earth cries out in vain.

Oh war and power, you blind and blur.
The torn heart cries out in pain
But music and singing have been my refuge.
And music and singing shall be my light.
A light of song, shining strong.
Through darkness and pain and strife,
I'll sing, I'll be, I'll live, I'll see.

Were You There

This African-American spiritual was likely composed by enslaved African Americans in the 19
th century.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Holy Week 2024 Schola singers

Anna George - alto/tenor
Jackie Mattos - alto/soprano
Georgina McKee - alto/soprano
Susan Roller-Whittington - alto/soprano
Lucinda Sydow - alto/soprano/flugelhorn

Maestro Billy Turney - baritone