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Below you find from the office-repertory (the services of the Daily Round) the beginning of the responsory "Angelis suis" in several alternative musical notations. (For other examples see In logitudinem dierum)


Mont-Renaud, 10th century, Codex in private collection, PM 16 (1955)


Hartker, around 1000, Saint Gall 390-391, PM II-1 (1900)


Lucca, 12th century, Cap. 601, PM 9 (1906)


Utrecht, 12e eeuw, UB 406, The Institute of Mediaeval Music, Ottawa 1997


Worcester, 13th century, Bibl. de la Cath. F 160, PM 12 (1922)


Processionale Monasticum, Solesmes 1893


ambrosian chant, Antiphonale Missarum Mediolanensis, Rome 1935


modern music notation


fluxus, since 1996




sproken music in mp3 Angelis suis


The responsory "Angelis suis" comes from the Matins (the Night Office) of the first Sunday in Lent (6th Sunday before Easter). The text comes from psalm 91(90). All proper chants of the Mass of that Sunday are taken from this psalm. The psalm stresses the faith with which one can enter the Lenten period, a fast of fourty days. The same psalm is traditionally sung every evening in Compline (the service that closes the day) and stresses there the confidence to enter the darkness of the night.


The complete text of the responsorium reads:


Angelis suis mandavit de te, ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis; in manibus portabunt te, ne unquam offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum. Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis, et conculcabis leonem et draconem.


In translation:


He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in [their] hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.


A few thousands of this type of responsoria have been preserved in medieval manuscripts. In his Corpus Antiphonalium Officii IV (Rome, 1970) René-Jean Hesbert collected and compared from 12 selected manuscripts almost 2000 of these responsoria. In the famous Hartker manuscript (Saint Gall, around 1000, probably the oldest complete manuscript with office-chants in music notation) there are almost 800 responsories. Although the monks of Solesmes in 1895 published in their Liber Responsorialis 334 responsoria, the majority of the responsoria have not been sung for ages. In the liturgy (re)introduced by these monks at the end of the 19th century the responsoria have a negligible function. In 2002 the Nocturnale Romanum was published, in which were 748 responsoria. But probably these chants will seldom be sung.


For a better understanding of gregorian text treatment and centonisation technique (composition/improvisation by means of melodic formulas) the responsoria are of major importance. From the Hartker manuscript (Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek 390-391) you can find here ten of such responsories in fluxus-notation.