Saturday 9 June 2012

A Liturgy for Saint Columba

A second recording of material from the Inchcolm Antiphoner can be found on this CD. Seven Antiphons are appended to the Gregorian chants from the Roman Liturgy sung by the monks of Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland. The accompanying sleevnotes are useful and for a flavour, here are the notes for Track 20, the Magnificat Antiphon:

The text is a poem, with a strong rhythmic beat and persistent rhyme, in a style that appears often in the Bangor Antiphoner. This still surviving Irish liturgical book of the 7th century gives texts but, of course, no music. Could the music provided here have come down to mediaeval Inchcolm along with the words, through all those centuries? It is a lovely piece, in the first mode, having a wide range, and featuring the repetition of recurring motifs.

Salve splendor et patrone
iubarque iustitiae.
Orthodoxe doctor bone
pastor et vas gratiae.
O Columba columbine
felicis memoriae,
tuae fac nos sine fine
cohederes gloriae.
Magnificat... (Lk.1:46-55)

Hail Columba our glory and our patron;
sun beam of righteousness.
Orthodox doctor, good shepherd, and vessel of grace.
O Columba of happy memory,
truly dove-like:
make us also inherit your glory without end.
My soul magnifies the Lord....

The recording is available to order from the Abbey Shop. There are 22 tracks in all with a total playing time of 55 minutes.

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