And it was damp yesterday evening although the rain had stopped fairly early in the day. Phoebus is a white circle behind the clouds. It is the 4th Sunday post Pascha (Introibo) and and the feast of Saint Athanasius, the great Alexandrian Doctor of the Church (Introibo). In the last versions save one of the Traditional Rite, following Divino afflatu (1911 onward), one says the Office of the Sunday and commemorates Saint Athanasius; before Divino afflatu one says the Office of the Saint with commemoration of the Sunday. I believe that in the 1960 Calendar, Saint Athanasius's feast is ignored because of the Sunday.
This Offertory, with its exuberant melody, is one of the most exquisite masterpieces of the Gregorian repertoire. The whole earth is invited to admire the wonder of the love shown by God to the world, for the Lord has associated redeemed humanity with grace, with the Resurrection, with the final glorification of Jesus.Three ideas dominate this piece: to acclaim God, to sing a hymn to His name, to come and hear what He has done for me. ‘Jubilate, psalmum dicite, venite’ and ‘audite’.‘Jubilate…’ The intonation, typical of mode 1 in its bold movement towards the dominant A and its support on the salicus, has the direct and catchy character of a joyful invitation. The word ‘Deo’ is hardly emphasised; the whole movement movees towards the ‘universa terra’, which receives from the tristropha and the fourth and fifth intervals that frame it a magnificent amplitude, through which passes, ardent and broad, the call to joy.
In the second phrase, which again takes up the first with a varied theme, this idea of joy becomes a splendid acclamation, orderly, with a certain restraint and, at the same time, imbued with an ardour that rises, amplifies, bursts forth, enthusiastic like the cry of a crowd extolling its hero. It is the whole Church, the whole earth, that rushes forth to proclaim its admiration, its gratitude, its love for the infinitely good God who gave us His Son and who incorporates us into Himself. ‘Deo’ reproduces itself unchanged. ‘Universa terra’ is also unchanged; but, at the end of the first formula, the B natural produces a very beautiful development which amplifies the word and considerably strengthens its expression.
‘Psalmum dicite…’ Again an invitation; no longer to acclaim, this time, but to sing a psalm: it is an invitation to liturgical praise. There is a nuance to this that is very much present in the melody. It retains its ardour, of course: note the tristropha ‘de dicite’ between the episematic clivis that accompanies it so delicately, the admirable melodic ascent of ‘nomini’ where it flourishes, again revived by the pulsation of the clivis, and in the pulsation of the intermediate cadence in ‘ejus’; splendid progression that makes note after note more compelling and warmer, but this ardour is moderate, restrained, as if wrapped in respect and veneration.‘Venite et audite…’ For the third time the invitation is repeated. It has never been more ardent and joyful. It is an invitation to share a secret of happiness. The melody that had settled at the end of the previous phrase in the dominant passes it without transition to C, and from there moves to the upper third in a motif of a few very simple notes but which admirably makes the enthusiastic call that we spontaneously address to friends on the way to common joy.But at ‘Narrabo’ something adds to the call. It seems that the soul, thinking of what it has to say, holds back its impulse and pauses in the tristrophe, as if it wanted to capture in a single glance all the graces it has received; the voice begins to take on the tone for intimate communications. The outward joy has subsided, only deep joy remains... The melody that has gradually descended rises slightly at ‘omnes qui timétis’, borrowing the reverence-filled motif of ‘nomini éjus’.After a final emphasis on ‘quanta fécit’, to emphasise the grandeur of the divine wonders and the ardour of the love that awakens his memory, the melody underlines ‘Dominus’ in passing and ends at ‘animae meae’ with a graceful melodic movement of unisonic developments around the F. The Alleluia repeats the word of praise for the last time, but in a totally relaxed formula that only prolongs the stillness of contemplation.
Have Johann Christoph Vogel's La Toison d'Or on 'in the background'. The incongruities-- have opened up the book again, after most of the day's ecclesiastical chores are done with-- are amusing.
And the things one learns by skimming the list at YouTube. There is an episode of Tintin, Tintin et La Toison d'Or. And Aleksander Tansman (Polish Wikipedia)! I had never heard of him, alas; his opera buffa Złote runo, the Golden Fleece, appears to be amongst the least of his works. 53 minutes and I've only listened to the first ten; from what I can tell if it has anything directly to do with Apollonius's story it does so via a re-imagining by a drunken Rabelais ('a work reminiscent of Eugene Ionesco or Alfred Jarry', according to Maria Sartova, the director at the Tansman Festival in Łodz in 2016); there is a princess and her beau, an aviator, but... I must see the text or a synopsis. I suspect that this 'Fleece' has as much to do with Jason, Medea, and company as Tintin does. There does seem to be some relationship between sovereign power and possession of the Fleece: but how that notion exists in the Polish context, who knows.
His Symphony no 2.
And his Hommage à Chopin for guitar; he wrote quite a lot for the guitar.
It is also the feast of Saint Wiborada (9th century), of Saint Vindemialis (5th century), and of Saint Joseph (19th century).
V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.