As I mentioned in my last post about *ahem* eighteen months ago, I gave a talk on the Tullimentan programme in October 2017. You can listen to it again by clicking here. The section on music for St Magnus starts at about 13 minutes 35 seconds.
Please tune in to BBC Radio Orkney at 6.10pm on Wednesday 25 October for the arts programme Tullimentan. This month's show includes a talk by me on music inspired by St Magnus, illustrated with an excerpt from the plainsong Office of St Magnus. This has been specially recorded for the programme by the Orkney Schola, and it is the first time that any part of the Magnus Office has ever been broadcast.
Please come to the St Magnus Centre in Kirkwall on Friday (28 July) at 7pm, to hear me talking about music inspired by St Magnus - past, present and future - and to hear some medieval music in the Saint's honour, sung by the Orkney Schola.
Mine will be the first of four talks about St Magnus and his legacy, and the whole evening is part of the Aberdeen Diocesan pilgrimage on the 900th anniversary of Magnus's martyrdom.
we commemorate the 900th anniversary of his martyrdom, this course looks at the
background, life, death and legacy of St Magnus of Orkney. Drawing on history,
art, music, archaeology and literature, we will explore how the 12th century Saint
has continued to intrigue and inspire both here and further afield. This is
another chance to take this course, which was oversubscribed in Autumn 2017.
I've gone for a sort of generic medieval Latin pronunciation; it's hard to know exactly how this would have been pronounced in Orkney, as there were marked local variations as well as changes over time, and of course even the scholars can only make an informed guess, since there are no recordings! But this may well differ from the pronunciation you might have been taught as "Church Latin", because that's really late nineteenth-century Italian pronunciation ...
Favus stillans is the 1st Psalm Antiphon at Lauds (hence LA1) in the office of St Magnus.
Favus stillans frángitur, *
mellis dans dulcórem;
Mala queque fúgiunt
cujus per odórem.
The dripping honeycomb is broken,
releasing the sweetness of
at whose scent
all evils flee.
Click here for a practice recording.N.B. These recordings are rehearsal aids only; no claims are made for the quality either of the singing or of the recording! The model for this antiphon was Granum cadit from the office of St Thomas of Canterbury. Recordings of Granum cadit [N.B. not from the same manuscript that I am using] can be found on the CDs by Schola Hungarica (track 19) and Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge (track 10; starts at 4'58"). See here for details of these recordings; the Schola Hungarica recording is on Spotify (UPDATE 29/03/2017: and on Youtube, see embedded video below, and in blogposts on the other Lauds antiphons).
This is the first of a series of posts illustrating chants from the medieval liturgical office of St Magnus of Orkney. For this and subsequent excerpts from the office of St Magnus, I have established the text by collating all four pre-Reformation sources; however, I am indebted to Alan McQuarrie for his excellent edition of one version of the office in Legends of the Scottish Saints: Readings, hymns and prayers for the commemorations of Scottish saints in the Aberdeen Breviary (Four Courts, 2012), and I largely follow his punctuation of the texts. The translations, the setting of the texts to ancient melodies, the practice recordings, and any errors occuring in these posts, are my own.
Vir sanctus is the 2nd Psalm Antiphon at Lauds (hence LA2) in the office of St Magnus. There are two other antiphons in the office which also begin Vir sanctus, so the 'serial number' is useful for avoiding confusion.