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Madonna by Raphaël


Marian Hymnology: Antiphons, Canticles…

The following is a collection of various posts on the Virgin Mary.  The music Mary has inspired is varied and a delight to music lovers.  So are paintings of Mary who is called Theotokos in the Eastern Church.

In French, Antiphons are called antiennes and the “t” is pronounced as if it were a “c”.  However, books containing antiennes are called AntiphonairesThere are no Marian anthems.  An Anthemn is a different musical form.  In fact, anthems resemble Catholic motets.

The four Marian Antiphons are sung during a certain period of the liturgical year.  The Antiphon used at this particularly moment is the Alma Mater Redemptoris. On February 2, it will be the Ave Regina Cælorum. However, Marian liturgy is further divided into eight periods and 32 feast days.

I am not an expert on Mariology, but I have studied and still study liturgy as a musical form.

The Four Antiphons

During Canonical Hours, the Antiphon is a liturgical chant that precedes and follows a Psalm or a Canticle.  In a Mass, it is also a chant to which a choir or the congregation respond with a refrain.   It is therefore a call and response chant.

The Four Canticles

Canticles are hymns sung during the Canonical Hours.  Seven find their origin in the Old Testament and are sung at Lauds. Three, however, are contained in the Gospel according to Luke.

The Four Marian Feasts

Posts on Marian Hymnology

composer: Wolgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)
piece: Laudate Dominum,” Vesperae solennes de confessore, KV 339
performers: Anja Harteros, soprano
Chor der Sächsischen Staatsoper Dresden
conductor: Christoph Eschenbach

© Micheline Walker
7 January 2013