Compline in time of coronavirus: 4. The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

Choir 04-05-2020

The Compline Choir, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, April 5, 2020.

While St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle,  is closed to large gatherings, the Office of Compline is sung by a small contingent of choir members to an empty cathedral. Those singing the service are observing strict health precautions including the appropriate social distancing; members over 60 and others vulnerable to contagion are not invited to sing.

The Compline Underground (which originates from Seattle) is now issuing links to the Compline Service together with the texts of the music sung, as well as many of the texts of the unchanging parts of the Office. After the broadcast, the video stream link will change to the archived link, and when the podcast is available, that link will be activated.

To continue to see the words below, and the broadcast or video stream at the same time in another window, just right-click on the link, and select “Open link in new window.”

Live Broadcast            (The service has ended. Follow the links to the Podcast or Video Stream Archive as they become available).

Live Video Stream

Podcast                       (This will link to the Podcast when it is released – 1 or 2 days after the service).

Video Stream Archive  (Now linked to YouTube)

Compline for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

A short passage of scripture is read.

ORISON: Vexilla Regis prodeunt – Plainsong, Mode I; harm. Guillaume Du Fay (c. 1397-1474); ed. Peter R. Hallock & Jason A. Anderson

CHANT
(Latin)
Vexilla Regis prodeunt;
fulget Crucis mysterium,
qua vita mortem pertulit,
et morte vitam protulit.

(Poetic English translation)
The royal banners forward go,
the cross shines forth in mystic glow
where he through whom our flesh was made,
in that same flesh our ransom paid.

HARMONY
(English)
Fulfilled is all that David told
in true prophetic song of old;
how God the nations’ King should be,
for God is reigning from the tree.

(Original Latin)
Impleta sunt quae concinit
David fideli carmine,
dicendo nationibus:
regnavit a ligno Deus.

CHANT
(Latin)
Arbor decora et fulgida,
ornata Regis purpura,
electa digno stipite
tam sancta membra tangere.

(Poetic English translation)
O tree of beauty, O tree most fair,
ordained those holy limbs to bear
gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough
proclaims the King of glory now.

HARMONY
(English)
Blest tree, whose chosen branched bore
the wealth that did the world restore,
the price which none but he could pay
to spoil the spoiler of his prey.

(Original Latin)
Beata, cuius brachiis
pretium pependit saeculi:
statera facta corporis,
tulitque praedam tartari.

CHANT
(Latin)
Te, fons salutis Trinitas,
collaudet omnis spiritus:
quos per Crucis mysterium
salvas, fove per saecula. Amen.

(Poetic English translation)
To thee, eternal Three in One,
let homage meet by all be done;
as by thy cross thou dost restore
so rule and guide us evermore. Amen.

PREPARATION

READER: The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.
CHOIR: Amen.

READER: Beloved in Christ, be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist, steadfast in the faith. [I Peter 5: 8, 9a]

READER: But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
CHOIR: Thanks be to God.

READER: Our help is in the name of the Lord
CHOIR: who hath made heaven and earth.

CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION

READER: Let us humbly confess our sins unto Almighty God.
CHOIR: We confess to God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed, through our own grievous fault. Wherefore we pray God to have mercy upon us.

CHOIR: Almighty God, have mercy upon us, forgive us all our sins and deliver us from all evil, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and bring us to life everlasting. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

READER: May the almighty and merciful Lord grant unto us pardon and remission of all our sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.
CHOIR: Amen.

The following is chanted.

CANTOR: O God, make speed to save us;
CHOIR: O Lord, make haste to help us.

CANTOR: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;
CHOIR: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

CANTOR: Praise ye the Lord;
CHOIR: The Lord’s name be praiséd.

PSALM 22:1-11 – Plainsong, Tone IV.1

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? *
and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *
by night as well, but I find no rest.

Yet you are the Holy One, *
enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

Our forefathers put their trust in you; *
they trusted, and you delivered them.

They cried out to you and were delivered; *
they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

But as for me, I am a worm and no man, *
scorned by all and despised by the people.

All who see me laugh me to scorn; *
they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

“He trusted in the LORD; let him deliver him; *
let him rescue him, if he delights in him.”

Yet you are he who took me out of the womb, *
and kept me safe upon my mother’s breast.

I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; *
you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near, *
and there is none to help.

The READER offers the following lesson:

Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
[Matthew 11:28-30]

CHOIR: Thanks be to God.

The following Respond is chanted (sung in a polyphonic setting on Palm Sunday):

CANTOR: Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
CHOIR: Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

CANTOR: For thou hast redeeméd me, O Lord, thou God of truth;
CHOIR: I commend my spirit.

CANTOR: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
CHOIR: Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

The READER announces the hymn to be sung.

OFFICE HYMN: To you before the close of day – Plainsong, Mode II

To you before the close of day,
Creator of all things, we pray
that, in your constant clemency,
our guard and keeper you would be.

Save us from troubled, restless sleep;
from all ill dreams your children keep.
So calm our minds that fears may cease
and rested bodies wake in peace.

A healthy life we ask of you:
the fire of love in us renew,
and when the dawn new light will bring,
your praise and glory we shall sing.

Almighty Father, hear our cry
through Jesus Christ, our Lord, most high,
Whom with the Spirit we adore
forever and for evermore. Amen.

SHORT RESPOND

CANTOR: Keep me as the apple of an eye;
CHOIR: Hide me under the shadow of thy wings.

NUNC DIMITTIS: Plainsong setting, Tone V.1

ANTIPHON: Preserve us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping;
that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: * according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation. * which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the gentiles, * and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

THE APOSTLES CREED

CANTOR: I believe in God,
CHOIR: the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

CANTOR: Lord, have mercy upon us.
CHOIR: Christ, have mercy upon us.
CANTOR: Lord, have mercy upon us.

The Lord’s Prayer and the following versicles and responses are intoned:

CANTOR: Our Father,
CHOIR: who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

CANTOR: Blessed art thou, Lord God of our fathers;
CHOIR: To be praised and glorified above all for ever.

CANTOR: Let us bless the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;
CHOIR: Let us praise him and magnify him for ever.

CANTOR: Blessed art thou, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven;
CHOIR: To be praised and glorified above all for ever.

CANTOR: The Almighty and merciful Lord guard us and give us his blessing.
CHOIR: Amen.

CANTOR: Wilt thou not turn again and quicken us;
CHOIR: That thy people may rejoice in thee?

CANTOR: O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us;
CHOIR: And grant us thy salvation.

CANTOR: Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this night without sin;
CHOIR: O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.

CANTOR: O Lord, hear our prayer;
CHOIR: And let our cry come unto thee.

CANTOR: Let us pray.

At least three but not more than five prayers (or collects) are intoned by the CANTOR. The first collect is proper to the day. Other collects offered address the needs and concerns of the choir, or local or global community. The final collect is chosen from the following:

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Or

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this place, and drive from it all the snares of the enemy; let thy holy angels dwell herein to preserve us in peace; and may thy blessing be upon us evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Or, on Palm Sunday,

O Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, who at this evening hour didst rest in the sepulchre, and didst thereby sanctify the grave to be a bed of hope to thy people; Make us so to abound in sorrow for our sins, which were the cause of thy passion, that when our bodies lie in the dust, our souls may live with thee; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God world without end.

CHOIR: Amen.

The READER announces the anthem to be sung. 

ANTHEM: Absalon fili mi – attr. Josquin des Prez (c. 1450-1521) or Pierre de la Rue (c. 1452-1518)

[The well-known motet Absalon fili mi, a lament by King David upon hearing the death of his son Absalom (2 Samuel 18), has long been attributed to Josquin des Prez. Recent scholarship suggests Pierre de la Rue as a possible composer. Ignoring the debate over authorship, we instead focus on the genius of the composition. The work is unusual for its use of exceptionally low clefs and multi-flat key signatures. The plaintive text “Absalon, fili mi” is repeated for more than one-third of the piece. Near the end, the composer paints the descent to hell using a descending third motive that maneuvers the listener (and singer) through harmonies quite distant from the tonic. Though we do eventually reach the “home key” at the end, it is not settling and the listener is left to ponder the immense loss portrayed in both the biblical and musical narratives.]

Absalon fili mi, quis det ut moriar pro te, Absalon?
Non vivam ultra, sed descendam in infernum plorans.


Absalom my son, if only I had died instead of you, Absalom!
I shall live no more, but descend into the depths of hell, weeping.

FINAL RESPONSES and BLESSING

The CHOIR sings the final versicles and responses, using a setting composed by Peter Hallock in 1956, the year of the Compline Choir’s founding:

CANTOR: We will lay us down in peace and take our rest:
CHOIR: For it is thou, Lord, only that makest us to dwell in safety.

CANTOR: The Lord be with you:
CHOIR: And with thy spirit.

CANTOR: Let us bless the Lord:
CHOIR: Thanks be to God.

The closing blessing is spoken:

READER: The Almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, bless and preserve us.
CHOIR: Amen.

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