Arbor Day chants?
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,582
    My friend is about to celebrate the completion of extensive backyard work with a tree blessing (not according to a fixed liturgical order) and, having been asked to sing, I wonder if there's anything that might be apt from the Gregorian repertory. Rogation Sunday doesn't seem to fit the bill. In the last resort I suppose I might put Kilmer to a LM hymn …
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  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,949
    Psalm 128 is a stretch. Less so if your friend is a family man/woman with children.

    Otherwise Psalm 104 is pretty good for anything re: nature.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,337
    I guess if we easterners can bless fiery chariots, you Latins can bless trees. LOL.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,441
    It may seem counterintuitive (because of verse 5 about breaking the cedars of Lebanon), but I'd say Psalm 29, because it's a psalm of thanksgiving acknowledging the mastery of the God of Creation. So it might be considered something of an echo of a Jewish berakah prayer of blessing. Theodore Marier's vernacular chant litany setting of Psalm 29 in Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Canticles (where each verse is punctuated by an exclamation of Alleluia) is wonderful, particularly when sung as it was meant to be sung - with lyrical energy.
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  • What about the antiphon Exsultabunt omnia ligna with Psalm 95, or the antiphon Super omnia ligna cedrorum with the Benedictus?
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  • Ecce lignum crucis?
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,441
    No, that would be an orthogonal reference, unless one is blessing an arbor of crucifixes....
  • PLTT
    Posts: 62
    Maybe Ps 148, if not 104 (suggested above)? Or something generic like the hymn Telluris?
  • Vexilla Regis ? In one translation of one of the verses we see "For God is reigning from the Tree".

    Imagine: a tree as a throne, on Arbor day?
  • O Tannenbaum
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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,314
    Psalm 1:
    "Blessed is the man who does not follow the counsel of the wicked,
    nor linger in the way of sinners....
    He is like a tree that is planted by rolling waters,
    that yields its fruit in due season...."
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,291
    Find an accompanist and sing "Ombra mai fu" from Handel's Serse.

    Or chant Joyce Kilmer's "Trees" to one of the Gregorian modes. He's Catholic.
    (oops - just saw Kilmer was an option!)
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  • THE CHERRY TREE CAROL -

    Replete with the BVM and Joseph, who 'was an old man'.
    Hear it on youtube, sung by King's.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,582
    Thanks Clemens & Liam; I'll be inspired to search the loft tonight for a copy of Marier. The jarring part of Ps. 29, for this Eastern corner of the SF Bay, is v9 "The voice of the Lord makes the oaks to whirl and strips the forrest bare", a bit like Goethe's Zeus: "dem Knabe gleich, der Disteln köpft". I think I'll have to pass on the "flames of fire" part too.

    Stimson (who else!) is right on the nose with Ombra mai fu, but we are outdoors and the only classical accordionist I know passed away this winter. It's occurred to me in the meantime that a number of guests already know Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (not to mention Adam lay ibounden) and that it is of course more in the intended spirit of the event to praise living above dead plants.

    According to Wikipedia Arbor Days can be documented back to the late 16c, also about the time Tu BiShvat originated.
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  • The Linden Tree

    I can't remember the title of the other piece, but it returns frequently to the line "Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree".

  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,291
    classical accordionist


    The fact that such a position exists warms the cockles of my heart.
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  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,851
    So many suggestions!! I wonder if non-binding Arbortration would be too Arbortrary a way to get to the root of this dilimba.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,314
    CGZ wrote:
    I can't remember the title of the other piece, but it returns frequently to the line "Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree".

    Perhaps you are thinking of the piece by Elizabeth Poston with precisely that name: it's in the Oxford book "100 Carols for Choirs", though this performance goes beyond the written arrangement.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SixnHKwyrjI
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,441
    Here's a copy for your study. To imagine performance practice by an adult SATB choir, imagine women alternating verses with men (all singing the Alleluias with a congregation), and men and women singing the final verse together. This. should. move. not. drag. (He also used this same musical setting for variant settings of Pss 96 & 98. It's a nifty setting.)
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  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,582
    Poston's is merely the most anthologized setting of Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree and there are several other beautiful tunes, as well as Rutter for them what like that sort of thing (once I got it through my head that the first line is "The Tree of Life my eyes have soul has hath seen" Google worked more as one would expect).
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,582
    The event was concelebrated: Tom Bickley (who besides playing recorders directs the Cornelius Cardew Choir and is a skilled chant enthusiast) chanted the canticle Benedicite opera omnia over a drone, while I took advantage of a neighbor's harpsichord and an open window and sang Ombra mai fù.