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Responsories for Holy Week

Responsories for Holy Week (Latin: Responsoria pro hebdomada sancta) are three sets of nine responsories, for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday respectively, the three days of the Holy Week preceding Easter Sunday. They are also known as the Tenebrae responsories, and were set to music for instance by Carlo Gesualdo (Responsoria et alia ad Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae spectantia, 1611) and by Jan Dismas Zelenka (ZWV 55).

The Night Hours (preceding the Little Hours) of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday consist of matins (each with three nocturns) and lauds. The lessons of these matins (three for each nocturn) are referred to as the Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet,[citation needed] although only those of the first nocturn for each of these services are from Jeremiah's Book of Lamentations: those of the second nocturns are derived from Saint Augustine (his commentaries on the Psalms), and those of the third nocturns from the Epistles.

As, until the 1955 reform of the Holy Week ceremonies by Pope Pius XII, these services were generally anticipated on the preceding day, the three groups of nine Tenebrae lessons (French: Leçons de ténèbres) are sometimes indicated by names based on Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively, rather than on a sequence of names referring to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday respectively. The responsories following each lesson of these matins (so also 27) were usually sung, and these are the Tenebrae Responsoria, or the Responsories for Holy Week. The name of a collection of such responsories may also refer to the Holy Triduum, as in Orlande de Lassus' Responsoria pro Triduo Sacro.

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Responsories for Maundy ThursdayEdit

Maundy Thursday is the fifth day of the Holy Week (Latin: Feria V or Feria Quinta). In Latin the feast is also indicated as In Cœna Domini ("At the meal of the Lord", referring to the Last Supper). Thus the first nine responsories for Holy Week can appear under titles such as Feria V – In Coena Domini. When the naming is according to the preceding day, names like Les neuf répons du mercredi saint (The nine responsories of Holy Wednesday) can occur (Charpentier).

Responsories for the first nocturn of Maundy ThursdayEdit

The lessons of the first nocturn of Maundy Thursday are from Lamentations 1:1-14 (1:1–5, 1:6–9 and 1:10–14 respectively).

In monte OlivetiEdit

The first responsory for Maundy Thursday sets the scene at Mount Olivet (in monte Oliveti), the episode referred to as the Agony of Christ at Gethsemane.

Tristis est anima meaEdit

The text of the second responsory for Maundy Thursday refers to Jesus in the garden Gethsemane, addressing his disciples. The first two lines of the responsory are Matthew 26:38. The last two lines of are free anonymous poetry, predicting they will see a crowd, they will flee, and Jesus will go to be sacrificed for them.[1]

Settings of this responsory include a motet by Orlande de Lassus, appearing as No. 1 in the Drexel 4302 manuscript, a SSATB motet attributed to Johann Kuhnau, and a setting as part of Francis Poulenc's Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence.

Ecce, vidimus eumEdit

Responsories for the second nocturn of Maundy ThursdayEdit

The lessons for the second nocturn of Maundy Thursday are from Saint Augustines Enarrationes in Psalmos

Amicus meusEdit

Judas mercator pessimusEdit

Second of Poulenc's Sept répons des ténèbres.

Unus ex discipulis meisEdit

Responsories for the third nocturn of Maundy ThursdayEdit

The lessons for the third nocturn of Maundy Thursday are from 1 Corinthians II: 17-34

Eram quasi agnus innocensEdit

Una horaEdit

First of Poulenc's Sept répons des ténèbres.

Seniores populiEdit

Responsories for Good FridayEdit

Good Friday is the sixth day (Latin: Feria VI or Feria Sexta) of the Holy Week. In Latin the occasion is also indicated as In Parasceve (Parasceve being Latin for Friday). Thus the second set of nine responsories for Holy Week can appear under titles such as Feria VI – In Parasceve.

Responsories for the first nocturn of Good FridayEdit

The lessons of the first nocturn of Good Friday are from Lamentations 2:8-15 and 3:1-9 (2:8–11, 2:12–15 and 3:1–9 respectively).

Omnes amici meiEdit

Velum templi scissum estEdit

Vinea mea electaEdit

Second of Poulenc's Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence.

Responsories for the second nocturn of Good FridayEdit

Tamquam ad latronem existisEdit

Tenebrae factae suntEdit

The responsory is included on p. 269 of the Lutheran Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch (1682). Third of Poulenc's Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence, and fifth of his Sept répons des ténèbres

Animam meam dilectamEdit

Responsories for the third nocturn of Good FridayEdit

The lessons for the third nocturn of Holy Saturday are taken from Hebrews 4:11 – 5:10.

Tradiderunt meEdit

Jesum tradidit impiusEdit

Third of Poulenc's Sept répons des ténèbres

Caligaverunt oculi meiEdit

Fourth of Poulenc's Sept répons des ténèbres

Responsories for Holy SaturdayEdit

Sab(b)ato Sancto is the Latin name of Holy Saturday, thus the Responsories for this day can appear under titles such as Sabbato Sancto.

Responsories for the first nocturn of Holy SaturdayEdit

The lessons of the first nocturn of Holy Saturday are from Lamentations, 3:22–30, 4:1–6 and 5:1–11 respectively.

Sicut ovisEdit

Responsorium:
  Sicut ovis ad occisionem ductus est,
  Et dum male tractaretur, non aperuit os suum :
  Traditus est ad mortem ut vivificaret populum suum.
Versus:
  Tradidit in mortem animam suam,
  Et inter sceleratos reputatus est.

Jerusalem surgeEdit

Plange quasi virgoEdit

This responsory has some parallels with the Book of Joel, e.g. "plange quasi virgo" ("Lament like a virgin", 1:8), "accingite vos et plangite sacerdotes ululate ministri altaris" ("Put on sackcloth and mourn, you priests; Wail, you ministers of the altar", 1:13) and "magnus enim dies Domini et terribilis valde" ("for the day of Yahweh is great and very awesome", 2:11).

Responsorium:
  Plange quasi virgo, plebs mea.
  Ululate pastores, in cinere et cilicio,
  Quia veniet Dies Domini Magna
  Et amara valde.
Versus:
  Accingite vos, sacerdotes, et plangite,
  Ministri altaris, aspergite vos cinere.

Responsories for the second nocturn of Holy SaturdayEdit

Recessit pastor nosterEdit

O vos omnesEdit

The text is adapted from the Latin Vulgate translation of Lamentations 1:12. Some of the most famous settings of the text are by Tomás Luis de Victoria (two settings for four voices: 1572 and 1585), Carlo Gesualdo (five voices: 1603; six voices: 1611), and Pablo Casals (mixed choir: 1932).

Ecce quomodo moritur justusEdit

Based on Isaiah 57:1–2. A german version of the text of this responsory is set as Der Gerechte kömmt um. Poulenc set it as the seventh of his Sept répons des ténèbres.

Responsories for the third nocturn of Holy SaturdayEdit

The three lessons for the third nocturn of Holy Saturday are Hebrews 9:11–14, 9:15–18 and 9:19–22 respectively.

Astiterunt reges terraeEdit

Aestimatus sumEdit

Sepulto DominoEdit

Sixth of Poulenc's Sept répons des ténèbres

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Melamed, Daniel R. (1995). J.S. Bach and the German Motet. Cambridge University Press. pp. 148–149. ISBN 0-52-141864-X. 

External linksEdit