Tenebrae

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blackthorn fairy
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Tenebrae

Post by blackthorn fairy »

During Holy Week I attended Tenebrae for the first time. I've always known about Tenebrae, but never had the opportunity before to experience it. We could do that next year, I thought afterwards, and mentioned it to PP and a few others, who were of a similar opinion.

So - I need to know: Are the psalms prescribed? If so, which ones are they? Is there a format/template we could use to plan our liturgy and, if so, where would I find it?
Any help would be much appreciated.

quaeritor
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by quaeritor »

Not exactly overwhelmed with help so far then, Blackthorn Fairy - ! I'm not an expert, but if I throw in my two penn'orth from what I can remember from my schooldays (so before even the Holy Week reforms of 1955) you can be sure to be inundated with postings correcting my errors.

A description of Tenebrae can be found in Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenebrae It describes a more extensive service than I remember but I've no reason to question its accuracy (apart from the fact that it's Wikipedia!); the main highlight I recall is the Lamentations which even in Latin and set to plainsong were moving even to schoolboys. We used to follow the service from the Liber Usualis (Ah! happy memories!) and the psalms of Matins and Lauds were indeed prescribed for the day in question. The Liber can be found and downloaded here: http://www.sanctamissa.org/en/music/gre ... s-1961.pdf - but put the kettle on! there are about 2300 pages!

Good luck!

Q

JW
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by JW »

Extract from an article headed "Curious Old Ecclesiastical Customs" in the Shields Daily Gazette 28 Aug 1895:
"There is one custom, however, mentioned by the red-hot Puritan Barnaby Googe, which it is difficult to believe. On Good Friday, during the Tenebrae, when all lights were extinguished, and the church was in darkness profound, the young men, who had come provided with clubs for the purpose, set upon each other, and there was a free fight in the church until the lights were lit again, when they carried out the wounded."

Bring back any memories? I don't recall this as mandated in the Liber Usualis!
JW

helen rees
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by helen rees »

Hallo blackthorn fairy,

I really love the readings and psalms we use in our Tenebrae service. PM me with your contact details and I will see if I can send you copies of our order of Service.

londonchurchman
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by londonchurchman »

I went to a beautiful Tenebrae service at St Barts the Great last year. Here is the link to the notes about this year's service: http://www.greatstbarts.com/Documents/M ... Friday.pdf

John Ainslie
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by John Ainslie »

I remember Tenebrae at Buckfast Abbey in the early 1950s - and very beautiful it was. The account in Wikipedia is accurate: the monks had great fun making the strepitus with their books on the wood of the choir stalls.

As a variant to the chant tones given in the Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae, there was (still is!) a set of beautiful Spanish chant tones, of which I attach a couple of pages.
SpanishLamentation.PDF

Note how this tone has two reciting notes, the second a fifth above the first. In a church with a fine acoustic, this had an extraordinary effect. Note especially the last phrase: 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn back to the Lord your God' and its use of the melodic theme.
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quaeritor
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by quaeritor »

John Ainslie wrote:Note how this tone has two reciting notes, the second a fifth above the first.

Do I misunderstand? - do you mean singing in parallel 5ths, John? - how is that shown in the notation?

Q

John Ainslie
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by John Ainslie »

quaeritor wrote:
John Ainslie wrote:Note how this tone has two reciting notes, the second a fifth above the first.

Do I misunderstand? - do you mean singing in parallel 5ths, John? - how is that shown in the notation?

Q

No I don't! But if the reverberation of the building has 'taken on' the lower pitch, the sudden leap to the higher has a marked effect.

You can see the whole chant repertoire, both 'standard' and Spanish, at http://www.musicasacra.com/pdf/lamentations.pdf

blackthorn fairy
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by blackthorn fairy »

Thanks to all who have offered help!
Thank you Q - I have a Liber at home and now I know what I am looking for, I will explore it. I would expect to sing the psalms in English, but I can find translations.
Thank you also londonchurchman for your link - that is useful extra info. BTW, I was at St Bart's for the Advent Carol Service last year.
Thank you Helen Rees for your offer - I don't know how to use the PM facility - could someone advise please?
And thank you John Ainslie - That looks absolutely marvellous! I would do that at the drop of a hat, but I have others to consider. I want to keep them all on board!
And as for JW's story of the fisticuffs - that sounds to me like one of those anti-Catholic myths...

Finally, I will also go back to the DoM of the (C of E) church where I experienced Tenebrae - but I wanted to explore this on a Catholic forum first.

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musicus
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by musicus »

Here's a link to the PM documentation: https://www.phpbb.com/support/documenta ... ser_pm.php

As you can see, there are various ways of starting a PM; I usually find a post by the person I want to PM then click on the little PM icon to the right of their post. This has the advantage of "addressing" the PM for me. Other than that, it's very like composing and posting to a topic.
musicus - moderator, Liturgy Matters
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JW
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by JW »

blackthorn fairy wrote:And as for JW's story of the fisticuffs - that sounds to me like one of those anti-Catholic myths...


It's more likely to be a convoluted reference to the medieval practice of flagellation, often done during the 'Miserere', which is said as part of Tenebrae. I say medieval, though it still occurs today on Good Friday in some parts of the world.
JW

blackthorn fairy
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by blackthorn fairy »

Thank you MUsicus - I hasn't noticed the little PM icon!

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FrGareth
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by FrGareth »

In the mid 1990s, I spent a few Holy Weeks in Edinburgh. There the Dominican Student Chaplaincy teamed up with a local convent (I think St Catherine's in Lauriston Gardens) to conduct Holy Week services including Tenebrae. Maybe resources could be had from here?
><>
Revd Gareth Leyshon - Priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff (views are my own)
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contrabordun
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by contrabordun »

The now-defunct Newman Singers sang Tenebrae every year from 1968 to 1999, most often in St Chad's Cathedral, otherwise in Catholic and Anglican churches in the Birmingham area - I hope the following may be useful.
Michael Hodgetts wrote:Tenebrae was originally a vigil service consisting of the Night Office and Lauds (Morning Prayer) of the next morning. (The version which the Newmans did was devised by myself and Fr (later Bishop) Leo McCartie, who was dean at St Chad’s in 1968, and it did not reproduce either the current Liturgy of the Hours or the older form for which Vittoria &c wrote their settings).

The old form was as follows:
Matins. Three Nocturns, each consisting of three psalms, three readings and three responsories; the three readings of the first Nocturn were the Lamentations.
Lauds. Five psalms, the Benedictus, Christus factus est, the Miserere (the original context of Allegri’s setting), and the collect of the day.
This was sung on the nights of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Holy Week, though, because of its origins, in plainsong books and printed settings of the responsories the days were often referred to as Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Really, the first one was night office of Wednesday followed by Morning Prayer of Thursday, and so on.

The constitution on the liturgy of Vatican II laid down as a general principle for the Office of Readings (formerly the night office or, confusingly, Matins) that there were to be fewer psalms and longer readings, and the revised order added bidding prayers to Lauds and Vespers (Morning and Evening Prayer) and the option of a sermon. The order for these three days also added hymns, which had been a normal part of the office, except at Tenebrae. So, in devising our version, Bishop McCartie and I settled on an opening hymn, followed by a reading from the Matthew Passion to set the scene, one or two psalms, the three Lamentations and their responsories, sermon, bidding prayers, Benedictus, Christus factus, collect and blessing: about an hour and a quarter, depending on the settings. We sometimes also added a closing hymn. The heart of the service is the Lamentations and their responsories, which brings us to the music.

Nine readings and responsories on each of three nights gives a total of twenty-seven responsories. I think Vittoria set the lot and there are also settings by Viadana, the Anerios and others, including Rubbra (lovely but difficult, with divisi required) and Pam Davies, one of the directors of the Newmans, set some of them herself. In working out the programme, we chose any three of the twenty-seven, regardless of which night they were originally assigned to. The complete list is:

Wednesday - Thursday - Friday
1. In monte Oliveti - Omnes amici mei - Sicut ovis ad occisum
2. Tristis est anima mea - Velum temple - Jerusalem surge
3. Ecce vidimus eum - Vinea mea electa - Plange quasi virgo
4. Amicus meus - Tamquam ad latronem - Recessit pastor noster
5. Judas mercator pessimus - Tenebrae factae sunt - O vos omnes
6. Unus ex discipulis - Animam meam dilectam - Ecce quomodo moritur
7. Eram quasi agnus - Tradiderunt me - Astiterunt reges terrae
8. Una hora non potuistis - Jesum tradidit impius - Aestimatus sum
9. Seniores populi - Caligaverunt oculi mei - Sepulto Domino

The plainsong for the Lamentations is said to be Jewish cantillation, and so to be older than the Church. The Newmans sang the Lamentations in Latin, even in Anglican churches, and provided a translation in the order of service. There are also polyphonic settings of the Lamentations by Byrd, designed for illicit celebrations in recusant manor-houses: I have come across a fair number of references to the singing of Tenebrae even during the Elizabethan persecution of Catholics; as the Quakers would say, ‘it spoke to their condition’.
Paul Hodgetts

Southern Comfort
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Re: Tenebrae

Post by Southern Comfort »

Thanks to contrabordun for the most comprehensive answer so far.

An additional piece of liturgical Catholic trivia:

Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) only set 18 of the 27 responsories.

For a full set, you need to go to the works of Marc'Antonio Ingegneri (1535/6-1592), most of whose work is unknown, but some of which survives in the libraries of the choirs of Wimbledon and Farm Street Jesuit churches. (It was collected by John Driscoll SJ, who had access to and transcribed manuscripts in the Vatican long before contemporary musicologists got there.)

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