A touch of Advent at Ascension
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 917
    So today I noticed that the Magnificat antiphon for Ascension is an O antiphon, both words (O Rex gloriæ) and melody.

    Is this touch of Advent at Ascension because of the advent of the Holy Spirit, nine days later? Or somehow a reminder of the Second Coming, as the introit and the first vesper antiphon are?

    It's amazing, anyway.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 739
    Speaking of a touch of advent… we needed another motet for Ascension and I decided on Tollite Portas (lift up ye gates) as that seemed appropriate, all things considered, although the source score is marked for advent.
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 126
    Unless I am missing something (and maybe I am, depending on the form of Office you're using), the Antiphon at the Magnificat of 2nd Vespers of the Ascension in the books I have is not one of the O antiphons used during Advent. The the "O Rex" during Advent is "O Rex gentium," not "O Rex gloriae." The whole text of this Antiphon does not seem to me to indicate any "advent" other than that of the Holy Spirit.

    "Do not leave us as orphans, but send the promised one of the Father, the Spirit of truth (alleluia).
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 917
    Not, it is not one of the O antiphons from Advent. That would be too obvious and it's not what I meant. I meant that the form of the antiphon, the phraseology, are similar, and the melody is essentially the same. And so, just before Pentecost, there's a touch of Advent in the air.

    And yes, instead of the Veni of Advent, it's Mitte: because this is still addressed to Christ the King.

  • GerardH
    Posts: 205
    Is this touch of Advent at Ascension because of the advent of the Holy Spirit, nine days later? Or somehow a reminder of the Second Coming, as the introit and the first vesper antiphon are?

    I would say the latter. Advent is filled with eschatological themes (the Dies irae was first intended as a sequence for Advent 1!). The Ascension also has obvious ties to the second coming.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,499
    The Nativity is the first we saw of Christ physically on earth, and the Ascension is the last. That may be one motivation for the similarity.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • FKulash
    Posts: 30
    The Magnificat antiphon for the Common of Doctors of the Church, "O doctor optime", is also very similar to "O Rex gloriae" and the "O" antiphons from advent. There are lots of other examples of basically the same music being used with different words on different occasions. Many antiphons for tone 2*A (formerly known as 4A) are similar to each other. Many graduals in mode 5 are also similar to each other. Sometimes, I'm sure, a composer meant to make a connection between different texts or different feasts. Other times, I'm sure the composer just thought one text would sound good with some earlier music.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • madorganist
    Posts: 735
    I saw this post last week and thought, "how interesting!" After a weak schola rehearsal Wednesday, I asked a couple of guys who sang with us in previous years to join us for last night's Mass. They both had comments for me right before Mass: 1. "The Communion sounds like the Fourth Sunday of Advent" (cf. "ad Orientem" and "Emmanuel"; but also the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost). 2. "The second Alleluia is the same as Midnight Mass." Now, the latter melody is used several times throughout the year, but these two are particularly similar, even starting with the same word, "Dominus."
    The Nativity is the first we saw of Christ physically on earth, and the Ascension is the last. That may be one motivation for the similarity.
    It seems plausible. He left us the Eucharist, wherein we see the appearance of bread, not human flesh. Between the Annunciation and Nativity, He was similarly concealed in His Mother's womb. The Ascension took place on a Thursday (regardless of whether it's commemorated on Thursday or Sunday now), seven weeks after the institution of the Eucharist. In another three weeks, we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. I looked in the first chapter of Genesis to see what was created the fifth day: the creatures of the sea and the birds of the air. Both the fish and the pelican are used as symbols of Christ, and more specifically of the Blessed Sacrament. So much symbolism for Ascension Thursday - musically and otherwise!
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 192
    Additionally, I noticed singing second vespers last night that one of the antiphons in the psalmody strongly resembles that of "Lumen ad revelationem gentium..." from Candelmas.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 835
    Additionally, I noticed singing second vespers last night that one of the antiphons in the psalmody strongly resembles that of "Lumen ad revelationem gentium..." from Candelmas.

    That is maybe more of a coincidence. The melody of Lumen ad revelationem is a typical melody that occurs quite often.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 192
    This is true, but I doubt it is coincidental. There is some rhyme or reason behind the repetition of certain melodies. This particular one comes to mind and also that of "Pueri hebraeorum" of Palm Sunday. I've never been able to figure it out, but I highly doubt coincidence.