Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thirteenth-Century Dominican Stabat Mater Found

It has been called to my attention that an important article has been published, announcing the discovery of the famous Stabat Mater used as a sequence in the Gradual produced by a convent of Dominican nuns in Bologna in the later thirteenth century. This is by far the earliest known example of this hymn used as a sequence rather than as a devotional hymn. It has been commonly believed that the hymn only became used as a sequence in the late middle ages. It is also interesting that the melody provided matches neither the received Roman one nor that found in the printed Dominican books. This text is found in Bologna: Museo Civico Medievale MS 518, fo. 200v-04r.

The news was published in Cesarino Ruini, "Un antico versione dello Stabat Mater in un graduale delle Domenicane bolognesi," Deo è lo scrivano ch’el canto à ensegnato: Segni e simboli nella musica al tempo di Iacopone, Atti del Convegno internazionale, Collazzone, 7-8 luglio 2006, ed. Ernesto Sergio Mainoldi and Stefania Vitale, Philomusica On-line, 9, no. 3 (2010). Those who would like the full text of the chant may find it at the end of this article.

For those who do not wish to read the article in Italian, here is the English summary:

The discovery of a Stabat Mater version set to music as a sequence in a late 13th-century Gradual from a Bolognese Dominican nunnery, makes it possible to advance new hypotheses about the origins and history of this renowned text. Untilnow there was no evidence that it was used as a sequence before the mid 15th century. The analysis of the piece highlights previously unidentified peculiarities regarding the historical and the liturgico-musical context in which it was used, whilst the comparison with the wealth of textual variants offered by its complex tradition points to concordances with later sources, mainly originating in Veneto and Emilia. As one of the earliest witnesses of this popular composition (there is only one other contemporary version, also from Bologna, but it is unnotated) there can be no doubt about its importance for textual criticism, and, inter alia, it does not favour the disputable paternity of Iacopone da Todi.

Here is the image of the manuscript with the beginning of the chant.

Careful readers will not that there are textual variants in this version as well. The Dominican Rite used by the friars added the Stabat Mater as a sequence on the feast of our Lady of Sorrows only in the 15th Century, conforming the rite to the Roman, which had already added it. But the melody is not that of the thirteenth-century version. Here it is for comparison:

And here for additional comparison is the first verse with the melody as found in the 1961 Roman Gradual:

I would hope that some attempt will be made to use this chant.

I thank Bro. Innocent Smith, O.P., for calling this article to my attention.

Monday, July 12, 2010

100,000 Visits to Dominican Liturgy

Today, at about 6:30 this evening (PDT), the 100,000th visit to Dominican Liturgy was recorded by the site's visit counter. This means we have averaged over 130 visits a day since Dominican Liturgy was founded in 2008.

I am pleased that our selection of downloadable Dominican Rite texts and posts on the Rite have generated this kind of response. Although most of my "blog energy" recently has been dedicated to the compilation and editing of the new Antiphonal for the Liturgy of the Hours in Dominican Chant (see left side bar), I hope to do more historical and photo posts in the near future.

Again, thanks to our readers for your support!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chant Chant at Thomistic Conference

I t may interest our readers to know that music extracted Vol. 3: Tempus per Annum I of the Antiphonarium pro Liturgia Horarum iuxta Usum Ordinis Praedicatorum available on the left side bar of Dominican Liturgy, is being used for the singing of the entire office during the Thomistic Institute Meeting Dominicans and the Challenge of Thomism in Warsaw Poland, July 1-5, 2010.

Six members of my Western Dominican Province are attending this conference; and Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., our blog editor, was asked to provide the music program. A copy of this music program may be downloaded here. Links to download recordings of the papers are available at the confrernce website.