Notes, Texts, and Translations

Salve virilis pectoris

Although this Gregorian chant hearkens back to the music of St. Joan’s era, the text was written after her canonization in 1920, and appears in Antiphonale Monasticum Solesmense, Solesmes, 1935. This melody is also used for chants for the feast days of other saints, including St. Juliana Falconieri and St. Scholastica. Like the following hymn, the text includes the highlights of St. Joan’s story: her divine inspiration, martyrdom, and nationalist symbol.

Salve virilis pectoris 

Virgo, Patrona Galliæ! 

Tormenta dira sustinens, 

Christi refers imaginem. 

 

Voces supernas audiens, 

Jesu repleta lumine, 

Dum fata pandis patriæ, 

Silent parentque judices. 

 

Oppressa flammis clamitas 

Jesum, crucemque fortiter 

Amplexa, ad Ipsum simplicis 

Instar columbæ, pervolas. 

 

Choris beatis Virginum 

Adscripta, cives adjuva: 

Te deprecante, singulis 

Detur corona gloriæ. 

Hail O courageous Virgin! 

Patroness of France. 

Thy sorrowful passion 

recalls to our minds the image of Christ.

 

Instructed by heavenly voices 

and filled with the light of Jesus, 

thou dost unveil the destiny of thy Fatherland, 

before thy silent and terrified judges.

 

Surrounded with flames, 

thou dost invoke Jesus: 

and embracing the cross, energetically, 

thou dost fly to him as an innocent dove.

 

Thou, who art now among the blessed choirs of Virgins, 

succor thy compatriots; 

may all through thy prayers, 

receive the crown of glory.

The Maid of France

Like the previous chant, the text of this hymn was written in the early 20th century around the time of St. Joan’s canonization and included in the 1920 St. Gregory Hymnal. American priest and choir director Hugh Henry wrote the text for this tune, a French traditional tune from at least the 17th century. Traditionally associated with Christmas/Epiphany, the tune was used by Georges Bizet in his incidental music for L’Arlésienne and in the orchestral suite of the same name.

1. The Maid of France, with visioned eyes,

Saw messengers from paradise

And voices bore a hidden word

That only by her ear was heard.

 

Chorus:

O blessed Maid, the chant we raise

That tells the meaning of thy praise:

Thou teachest us the lesson grand

Of love for God and Fatherland.

 

2. The visions and the voices spoke

A wondrous message: "Break the yoke

That burdens France, and crown your King,

Sweet herald of his triumphing!"

 

3. The Maid believed the great command,

And fought for God and native land:

A model she shall ever lamp

To guide her feet in court or camp.

 

4. O who shall dare her glory paint?

She lived a hero, dies a saint:

A model she shall ever stand

Of love for God and Fatherland.

Une jeune pucelle

This 16th-century melody was also called “Une jeune fillette,” and in that version is about a woman who is coerced into becoming a nun. This text is about the Annunciation (so, ironically, quite the opposite) and was used in a number of polyphonic pieces and keyboard works throughout the Renaissance. It is, perhaps, to be expected that saints who are women are described in some of the same ways as the Blessed Virgin Mary, and so even though this piece is about the latter, “a young maid with a noble heart” could certainly also describe St. Joan. For this arrangement, I chose to echo moments from different historical arrangements, while the last verse highlights the simple beauty of the unison melody.

1. Une jeune pucelle de noble cœur, 

Priant en sa chambrette son Créateur. 

L'ange du Ciel descendant sur la terre 

Lui conta le mystère de notre Salvateur. 

 

3. Ne te soucie, Marie, aucunement, 

Celui qui Seignerie au firmament, 

Son Saint-Esprit te fera apparaître, 

Dont tu pour ras connaître tost cet enfantement.

 

4b. Quand ce viendra à le poser sur terre, 

Jésus faut qu'on l'appelle, Roy sur tout triomphant. 

 

6. Mon âme magnifie, Dieu mon sauveur, 

Mon esprit glorifie son Créatuer, 

Car il a eu égard à son ancelle; 

Que terre universelle lui soit gloire et honneur.

1. A young maid with a noble heart,

praying to her Creator in her chamber.

The angel, descending from heaven to earth,

told her the mystery of our Saviour.

 

3. “Fear not, Mary, at all:

he who is Lord of the firmament will send you his Holy Spirit,

from whom you will soon learn of the Child to be born.

Without sorrow, without pain, without torment,

 

4b. you must call him Jesus,

the King triumphing over all things.”

 

6. “My soul glorifies God my Saviour,

my spirit praises its Creator,

for he has looked upon his handmaiden;

may the whole earth be glory and honour to him.”

Laudate Dominum

Less well-known than his rival Lully, Marc-Antoine Charpentier nonetheless held important posts in both the secular (theater) and sacred worlds of the French Baroque. The text of the short, jubilant psalm is sung by a solo trio, while the chorus sings the text of the doxology (“glory to the Father…”), although at key moments the trio comes back with snippets of the opening of the psalm. Although simple in some ways, this short piece contains many characteristic moments of harmonic tension, and exemplifies the airy, shimmering energy of French Baroque music.

Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes; 

laudate eum, omnes populi.

Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus, 

et veritas Domini manet

in aeternum.

 

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper,

et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Praise the Lord, all you nations!

Extol him, all you peoples!

For great is his steadfast love toward us,

And the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now,

and will be for ever. Amen.

Cantique de Jean Racine

This might be the most-performed French piece by English-speaking choirs, and its sublime beauty makes the reason for its fame clear. Often compared to his iconic setting of the Requiem, Fauré composed this piece for a competition when he was only 19 years old. (needless to say, he won!) The ever-present lilting triplets in the accompaniment contrast the occasional duple rhythm of the chorus (especially in the second section) while the effortless melodic lines are augmented by colorful and soaring harmonies.

Verbe, égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,

Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux;

De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence,

Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux!

 

Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,

Que tout l'enfer fuie au son de ta voix;

Dissipe le sommeil d'une âme languissante,

Qui la conduit à l'oubli de tes lois!

 

O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle

Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé.

Reçois les chants qu'il offre à ta gloire immortelle,

Et de tes dons qu'il retourne comblé!

O Word, equal of the Most High,

Our sole hope, eternal day of earth and the heavens,

We break the silence of the peaceful night.

Divine Saviour, cast Thine eyes upon us!

 

Shed the light of Thy mighty grace upon us.

Let all Hell flee at the sound of Thy voice.

Dispel the slumber of a languishing soul

That leads it to the forgetting of Thy laws!

 

O Christ, be favorable unto this faithful people

Now gathered to bless Thee.

Receive the hymns it offers unto Thine immortal glory

And may it return laden with Thy gifts.

Salve Regina

Poulenc was a member of Les Six, a group of composers setting themselves in reaction against both Wagner and Impressionists like Debussy and Ravel. One of his friends described him as 'half monk, half guttersnipe' – although this piece surely exudes the essence of the former, there is something unexpected (and, dare I say, impish?) about it. First, the setting of the Latin text is sometimes at odds with the way the words are pronounced (“in HAC laCRImaRUM vaLLE” rather than “in HAC lacriMArum VAlle”) and the harmonic language is at time seemingly intentionally disturbing (“Et Jesum” in particular is downright spooky). There is very little text repetition until the final section, which consists of a surprising number of repetitions of “(O) dulcis Virgo Maria,” giving it a personal, devotional quality.

Salve Regina, Mater Misericordiae,

Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, Salve!

Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae,

Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes,

In hac lacrimarum valle.

Eja ergo, Advocata nostra,

Illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte

Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,

Nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende,

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy,

our life, our sweetness and our hope!

To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve,

to thee do we send up our sighs,

mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn, then, most gracious advocate,

thine eyes of mercy toward us,

and after this, our exile,

show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Touched in Love

I was first drawn to Haitian-American composer Sydney Guillaume by his energetic choral works in French and Haitian Creole, and was interested in programming one of them as a contrast to the continental French pieces earlier in the program. However, when I saw this setting of one of my favorite texts, I was immediately drawn to it. “Effortlessly” was written by 13th-century mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg, who herself offers an interesting parallel to Joan. In contrast to Joan’s military might, Mechthild sought reform from within the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and her criticism of church dignitaries caused some to call for her writings to be burned. Her writings were largely forgotten until they were rediscovered in the 19th century, and now she is celebrated alongside mystics like Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich.

Originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sydney Guillaume lives in Portland and is a full-time composer, conductor, and clinician. His choral compositions have been performed around the world, and his work as a film composer was, for me, an interesting parallel to the cinematic nature of Burrows’ Mass. Additionally, the lilting triple compound meter and its occasional conflict with duple meter in the chorus hearkens back to the Fauré. More information about Guillaume can be found at his website: https://www.sydneyguillaume.com.
 

(English version by Jane Hirshfield, alt.)

 

Effortlessly,

Love flows from God into man,

Like a bird

Who rivers the air

Without moving her wings.

Thus we move into God’s world

One in body and soul,

Though outwardly separate in form.

As the Source strikes the note,

Humanity sings —

The Holy Spirit is our harpist,

And all strings

Which are touched in Love

Must sound.

Prelude to “Te Deum”

This instrumental prelude to one of Charpentier’s monumental sacred works, a setting of the Te Deum, has found a life of its own outside the context of the larger work. It is often performed in arrangements such as this for organ or for organ and solo instrument, and you may have heard the original orchestral version in other settings: perhaps as the opening credits of the Eurovision Song Contest!

Mass for St. Joan of Arc

The following program notes for the movements of the mass are by the composer, Joseph Burrows. Before I turn it over to Joe, allow me to, once again, thank him for inviting us into this collaboration, and for the immense amount of work, thought, and care that went into each movement and into the piece as a whole. It is our joy to share this work with you today.

    - Robert Bolyard

Joseph Burrows was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a Piano Performance Major, he attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and studied under the direction of Kyung-Mi Kim and Reiko Shigeoka-Neriki.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theory and Composition from the Jordan College of Fine Arts on the campus of Butler University.  His composition teachers include Don Freund, Lincoln N. Hanks, and world renowned composer Michael Schelle.

Over the years, Joseph has composed numerous works of music for piano, choir, chamber ensemble, and orchestra. In 2010 he composed the music for Silver, a new musical adaptation of Treasure Island that premiered at Cathedral High School.  In 2020 he released “The Gift of Life”, an original album for piano and orchestra. He recently completed "Mass for Saint Joan of Arc", a new work for choir, trumpet, timpani, piano, and pipe organ.

He is currently the Director of Music Ministries at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church and also the Music Teacher for Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School.

Mass for Saint Joan of Arc is a five movement concert work for choir, trumpet, timpani, piano, and pipe organ. While the piece contains traditional elements of the Latin mass, it also includes a setting of “O Bone Jesu” as the third movement. The work as a whole strives to tell the story of the life of Saint Joan of Arc and her willingness to hear and answer God’s call.

Kyrie

The first movement, Kyrie, begins with a sustaining chord played on the pipe organ representing the passage of time over the course of Joan’s life. The choir entrance then overlaps this chord by singing “Kyrie eleison” which translates to “Lord, have mercy”. The dissonant chords in the choir serve to paint the picture that we are at the end of Joan’s life as she cries out to the Lord, not as a plea for mercy but rather in prayer as she accepts her fate. The music marking this moment of great suffering and pain is contrasted by a flashback to an earlier time in Joan’s life as a youth. The music reflects a more hopeful tone with a new theme on piano followed by a solo soprano which then builds to incorporate the choir and ensemble as a whole. There is a hint of sadness to the music but also triumph as the movement concludes.

Kyrie eleison. [Κύριε ελέησον.]

Christe eleison. [Χριστε ελέησον.]

Kyrie eleison. [Κύριε ελέησον.]

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Gloria

The second movement, Gloria, is a musical celebration of Saint Joan of Arc’s life. Heaven and earth are united in this moment as she has achieved her salvation through martyrdom. While on earth, Joan had many challenges and struggles, but she also had many victories. This movement celebrates those victories throughout her life, and also as she is welcomed home by joining all of the angels and saints in heaven.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Laudamus te. Benedicimus te.

Adoramus te. Glorificamus te.

Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.

Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

 

Domine Fili unigenite, Iesu Christe.

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,

miserere nobis.

 

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus.

Tu solus Dominus.

Tu solus Altissimus, Iesu Christe.

Cum Sancto Spiritu,

in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to God’s people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,

almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.

 

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

O bone Jesu

The third movement, O Bone Jesu, serves as a moment of reflection and prayer in the life of Saint Joan of Arc. The text translates to: “O good Jesus, have mercy upon us, for thou hast created us, thou hast redeemed us by thy most precious blood.” Joan had such a strong love of the Lord and a true devotion to the blessed sacrament.

O bone Jesu, miserere nobis,

quia tu creasti nos,

tu redemisti nos sanguine

tuo pretiosissimo.

O good Jesus, have mercy upon us,

for thou hast created us,

thou hast redeemed us

by thy most precious blood.

Sanctus

The fourth movement, Sanctus, is a representation of Joan taking up the mantle as a soldier and warrior for Christ. The trumpet solo over the sustaining chords of the choir serve as a “call to arms” as Joan will soon lead the French army into battle. This movement takes a more serious tone and is a reminder of the passion Joan had for embracing God’s will. She always led with a banner instead of a sword into the battles, and to the many who looked upon her in battle, Joan was seen as a “heavenly gift” and a reminder that God was on their side.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,

Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.

Hosanna in excelsis.

 

Benedictus qui venit

in nomine Domini.

Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy, holy, holy

Lord God of Hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

 

Blessed is the one that comes

in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Agnus Dei

The fifth and final movement, Agnus Dei, is the conclusion to the journey of Joan’s life and death. Once again we return to the same chord and musical elements from the first movement, however the tone is a bit more subdued. This is Joan at the moment of her death and her complete acceptance to God’s will. As she was put to death, she kept her eyes fixed upon a crucifix. The Latin text of this movement translates to: “Lamb of God, you take aways the sins of the world. Have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Grant us peace”. This reflects the final moments of Joan’s life and her constant devotion to the Lord. It is said that her final words before she died were, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

notes by Robert Bolyard and Joseph Burrows