Chants

Sophie loved music, particularly sacred music.  Two of the chants mentioned in the novel are a Te Deum, sung by the young novices at Poitiers when Sophie has returned from her trip to Bordeaux (in “Honeymoon in Manresa”); and Ave Maris Stella, which she sings with some of her sisters as they are walking along the Adriatic (in “Moderato Cantabile”).

Te Deum

The Te Deum is an early hymn of praise whose opening words, “Te Deum laudamus,” mean “We give praise to you, oh God.”  The words (in Latin and in English) are below:

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli, tibi Caeli et universae Potestates:
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus: Sanctus: Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus:
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus:
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia:
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium:
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni,
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum Sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum Domine,
et benedic haereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies, benedicamus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum,
et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare Domine die isto,
sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua Domine super nos,
quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te Domine speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.

We praise Thee, O God: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship Thee and the Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels:
to Thee the heavens and all the Powers therein.
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry with unceasing voice:
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts.
The heavens and the earth are full of the majesty of Thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the admirable company of the Prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of Martyrs praise.
Thee the Holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge.
The Father of infinite Majesty.
Thine adorable, true and only Son
Also the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou having taken upon Thee to deliver man
didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
Thou having overcome the sting of death
didst open to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God
in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants:
whom Thou has redeemed with Thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting.
Lord, save Thy people:
and bless Thine inheritance.
Govern them and lift them up forever.
Day by day we bless Thee.
And we praise Thy name forever:
and world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord: have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us:
as we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I hoped:
let me never be confounded.

Therese Maillucheaux’s eagerness to have the nuns sing this particular chant in response to Sophie’s safe return is obvious in that the chant is frequently sung in order to express thanks for a particularly desired event.

One story of its genesis claims that the Te Deum was created for the occasion of St. Augustine’s baptism by St. Ambrose in 387, though musicologists generally agree that it is the work of a 4th-century Romanian bishop, Nicetas.

Further listening:

Chant version, sung by Benedictine monks at the Abbaye Saint-Maurice et Saint-Maur in Clervaux Luxemburg (This is the verson undoubtedly sung by the women in Poitiers!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXOs7BoIX-E

Symphonic version by Charpentier, performed by Les Musiciens du Louvre http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GztZJwDCaS8

Ave Maris Stella

Though its authorship is unknown, Ave Maris Stella is an enormously popular chant that has been reinvented by many famous composers—one of them our friend Franz Liszt (see link below).  Again, there is no doubt that Sophie, as she and her sisters walked along the Adriatic and skipped stones to Greece, sang the ancient [probably] 8th-century version found in the first link below. It is a hymn in honor of Mary and connects her beautifully to the sea and the evening sky—some of the reasons for which Sophie must have sung it in this context.

It is still used in vespers (evening) services and often used as a benediction.
It is found in ancient codices of the Divine Office for Vespers on Marian feasts. Today it is still in use in the Divine Office, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, and as a Benediction hymn.

Ave maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper Virgo,
Felix caeli porta.

Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Hevae nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
Profer lumen caecis:
Mala nostra pelle,
Bona cuncta posce.

Monstra t(e) esse matrem:
Sumat per te preces,
Qui pro nobis natus,
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos,
Mites fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum:
Ut videntes Iesum,
Semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto,
Tribus honor unus. Amen.

Hail, bright star of ocean,
God’s own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva’s name.

Break the captives’ fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus,
Joy forevermore.

Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

Further listening:

Chant Version.  Only the first two verses, but a beautiful rendering by Pomerium, directed by Alexander Blachly.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-25R_SaDao

Another version is conducted by Elizabeth C. Patterson and is performed by Gloriæ Dei Cantores.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHFxvFiOvM8

And finally, Liszt’s own rendering of the chant, performed by the Coro Parrocchiale of Santi Ambrogio e Carlo (Milan)   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKsasbC-wE4

 

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