Victoria Tenebrae motets
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,138
    My Pastor has requested us to do the Victoria tenebrae responsories for Tenebrae on Wednesday evening of Holy Week,2018. Does anyone have any experience with this and I would love to see your ritual with these motets.
    I have a double quartet of pros to do this.

    Thanked by 1Jes
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,353
    We have done this, a Professional choir sang the Responsories, while we had to sing the psalms and the lessons. It is normal for the Benedictus and Christus factus est to be sung to a polyphonic setting.
  • We've been doing tenebrae for a number of years, and have incorporated a number of different polyphonic responsories including some from Victoria.

    Just as a note, technically, I believe in the EF you are required to do all three mornings / nights (depending on "new" Holy Week / "old" Holy Week) of tenebrae as opposed to a single morning / night.

    I've always accounted for the versicles by adding a psalm-tone for the text where the responsory does not necessarily contain it. The Victoria responsories I've done typically have the Versicle(s) in the polyphony. Again, technically, whatever is done in the EF should include the full responsory.

    We've done a few different approaches. In one parish we have a group of men (all volunteers) that sing the antiphons / psalms / responsories (either chant or polyphony). In the other parish we provide the antiphons / psalms and certain responsories from the sanctuary while a professional quartet does the polyphonic responsories / Christus Factus Est from the loft. The Benedictus could be chant or faux bourdon or polyphonic.

    Tenebrae (sorry if I'm giving too much detail) has three nocturns of Matins plus the office of Lauds following. If the responsories are done from the sanctuary (chant or polyphony), the singers involved typically form a semi-circle. If done from the loft, the sanctuary simply remains seated during the responsory.

    There is a collection of all of the chant (and a few polyphonic responsories) collected together which you may wish to view as a resource while planning the ceremony. You can find a copy at this link:

    If you look for the same book I suspect you can get a cheaper copy than what is quoted on Amazon.
  • Sorry, should also have clarified - nine responsories in all across the three nocturns of Matins.

    In Monte Oliveti
    Tristis Est Anima Mea
    Ecce Vidimus Eum

    Amicus Meus
    Iudas Mercator Pessimus (one of my favorites from HT)
    Unus Ex Discipulis Meis

    Eram Quasi Agnus Innocens
    Una Hora
    Seniores Populi
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 171
    If you are a Novus Ordo parish, instead of doing formal Tenebrae, why not do the Office of the Readings with the Tenebrae responses taking the form of a meditation after each of the psalms?
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,353
    They do the full ceremonies in the London Oratory, and we have also performed them at St. Mary Moorfields and St. Bedes.

    We would first light the big six and the tenebrae herse candles. We would them process out, clerics, cantors and lectors as a liturgical choir. We would slip up at the sanctuary with the cantors sitting on stools left and right and the liturgical choir on benches facing each other.
    The Antiphons and psalms would be done antiphonally using just the liturgical choir, the polyphonic choir would be in the loft. The lectors would come to the centre to chant the lessons... A candle on the horse would be put out at the end of each psalm.

    I am sure there is a section in Fortescue, on the ceremonies, Hugh Henry may have them explained in his booklets.
  • During my Detroit Diaspora, I had the pleasure of organizing and leading a quartet in singing the Victoria responsories of Holy Saturday.* All nine responsories were polyphonic - for the first three which Victoria didn't set, we used Viadana's settings. We also sang the Anerio Christus Factus. Since I was also chanting with the men's schola for the psalms and antiphons, I sat on the end of liturgical choir and knelt out when it was time to go to the side with my quartet to sing the responsories. We stood in semi-circle in front of the Blessed Virgin altar. I must admit, the other three members of the group did a bang-up job pulling together that music in the space of a few weeks. It helps that the acoustics of the church we sang in were fantastic. I had one woman approach me after Tenebrae who asked me, "where did Father get permission to use a recording for the polyphonic responsories? I thought that wasn't allowed." :D Canon asked us to sing the Bruckner Christus Factus next year, as well as the Allegri Miserere at the beginning of Lauds - which is a custom in Institute parishes, I'm told. Fond memories of Tenebrae that year, truth be told.

    *Incardination, I'm not quite sure it's universally understood that ALL of Tenebrae must be sung. The various places I've been have usually done only one night or morning - Wednesday night at home, and Saturday morning in Detroit. Both had similar reasoning for their choice - both days, especially Saturday, were bereft of any liturgical actions, (they didn't celebrate Spy Wednesday) and they wanted to fill the void. Granted, both were following 1955 Holy Week, and my old community, which prided itself on being pre-1955, insisted that we sing ALL of Tenebrae. (They also prided themselves on not having that most modernist of inventions, a microwave.)
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,062
    Fortescue did indeed have a section, and his remarks about what can be done in small churches are very permissive, p288 in the 1918 edition. Whether the rubrics were complexified later, I do not know.
  • Cantus67Cantus67
    Posts: 203
    I also use an amended version of Victoria's 1st "Lamentatio" to make sure that all the texts are faithfully rendered.

    You can get that here if you wish.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 570
    Hugh has made booklets which he posted here a while back so go back and search for them if you’d like they are awesome.

    I’ve done them with several parishes, in one setting we didn’t have all four parts rock up so we just picked the most important three parts and I swapped between as the "vocal floater" which worked really surprisingly well. I still reckon be sure you have all four parts though, it is much nicer with all four.
  • CGM
    Posts: 560
    Kevin, are you doing an EF or OF Tenebrae service?
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,138
    That is part of the question. My pastor says either is acceptable. Its up to me.
    Thanked by 1PaxTecum
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,353
    The links to Hugh Henry's booklets can be found here,

    more on Tenebrae can be found here,

    To build the Tenebrae Hearse,
  • My pastor says either is acceptable.

    Turns out Kevin's pastor is Fr. Unicorn.
    Thanked by 1PaxTecum