Written and compiled by Kyle Osborne, Director of Music at St. Matthew’s
The office of Morning Prayer was created by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, for the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Cranmer combined the offices of Matins (the nighttime vigil), Lauds (which took place at Dawn) and Prime (which took place around 6am) from the Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Divine Office which marked the hours of each day with prayer) to create Morning Prayer.
Invitatory and Psalter
At the Invitatory, the Venite (Psalm 95) or the Jubilate (Psalm 100) are said or sung. The Venite, a carryover from the office of Matins (Vigil), is an invitation to worship. The Jubilate, which was used as an entrance song in The Temple, is a song of thanksgiving and praise. The Jubilate was also the opening Psalm at Lauds (Dawn Prayer). This coming Sunday we will be singing a setting of the Venite (S-35).
Venite Psalm 95:1-7
Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
Jubilate Psalm 100
Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; *
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God; *
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise; *
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting; *
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.
After the first and second lesson at Morning Prayer a Canticle is said or sung. A Canticle is a song of praise with a biblical or biblically inspired text. Perhaps the most famous Canticles are the Gloria (Glory to God in the highest) and the Magnificat (Song of Mary). See BCP pages 85-96 for a list of Canticles 8-21. Canticles 1-7, which use traditional language, can be found on BCP pages 47-52. Many different musical settings of the Canticles can be found, including chant, choral, organ, and metrical paraphrase.
We will be using metrical paraphrases for both Canticle 12 – A Song of Creation (Benedicite, omnia opera Domini), and Canticle 21 – You are God (Te Deum laudamus) this coming Sunday.
A Song of Creation is from the Greek Septuagint version of the book of Daniel. This Canticle is often referred to as the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were the three young men who praised God even after being placed in the fiery furnace during the Babylonia Exile). A Song of Creation was originally used in Christian worship as a canticle at Easter Vigil and Thomas Cranmer suggested its use as an alternative to the Te Deum during Lent.
Our setting for Canticle 12 comes from Wonder, Love, and Praise #885. The metrical paraphrase of the text is by Carl Daw. The music is by Williams Bradley Roberts and was written specifically for the text.
Let all creation bless the Lord,
till heav’n with praise is ringing.
Sun, moon, and stars, peal out a chord,
stir up the angels’ singing.
Sing, wind, and rain! Sing, snow and sleet!
Make music, day, night, cold and heat:
exalt the God who made you.
All living things upon the earth,
green fertile hills and mountains,
sing to the God who gave you birth;
be joyful, springs and fountains.
Lithe waterlife, bright airborne birds,
wild roving beasts, tame flocks and herds:
exalt the God who made you.
O men and women everywhere,
lift up a hymn of glory;
let all who know God’s steadfast care
tell out salvation’s story.
No tongue be silent; sing your part,
you humble souls and meek of heart:
exalt the God who made you.
Carl P. Daw, Jr.
The Te Deum is one of the oldest hymns of praise. Dating from c. 387 the authorship was traditionally ascribed to Saint Ambrose (d. 397) but is now considered to be by an unknown author. Traditionally, the Te Deum was said at the end of Matins on all days that the Gloria was said at Mass.
Our setting for Canticle 21 is #366, verses 1-4, from The Hymnal 1982. The text is attributed to Ignace Franz and translated by Clarence A. Walworth. The music GROSSER GOTT is from Katholisches Gesangbuch, Vienna, c. 1774.
Holy God, we praise your name;
Lord of all, we bow before you;
all on earth your scepter claim,
all in heav’n above adore you.
Infinite your vast domain,
everlasting is your reign.
Hark, the loud celestial hymn
angel choirs above are raising;
cherubim and seraphim
in unceasing chorus praising,
fill the heav’ns with sweet accord:
“Holy, holy, holy Lord.”
Lo! the apostolic train
join your sacred name to hallow;
prophets swell the glad refrain,
and the white robed martyrs follow;
and from morn to set of sun,
through the church the song goes on.
Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name you;
while in essence only One,
undivided God we claim you,
and adoring bend the knee,
while we sing this mystery.
I encourage you to take time to read, explore, and meditate on the Canticles. Listen to different musical settings and be refreshed.
Director of Music and Organist
Links for listening:
Te Deum in alternatim – The Te Deum sung by the Maîtrise de Notre-Dame-de-Paris led by Cantor Jehan Revert, in alternatim with Pierre Cochereau at the Grand Orgue of Notre-Dame. The choir sings the first half of the verse. The organ, representing the Heavenly Choir of Angels, plays the second half of the verse.
Te Deum for Solo, Chorus and Orchestra by Marc Antoine Charpentier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxZQ1ODN1iU
Coronation Te Deum by William Walton
Jubilate Deo by Benjamin Britten
Te Deum by Anton Bruckner
Magnificat from Collegium Regale by Herbert Howells
Nunc Dimittis in C by Charles Villiers Stanford
Let all Creation bless the Lord – A song of creation by Alice Parker
Glory to God in the Highest