Pange Lingua - Suitable for Communion Hymn?
  • Is the Pange Lingua (either in Latin or an English Translation) suitable as a communion hymn at mass?

    I'm looking to build a bit of a repertoire of chant music which would be useful for either the OF or EF masses.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,897
    Pange lingua (gloriosi Corporis mysterium) is, of course, the hymn for the great Eucharistic processions of Holy Thursday and of Corpus Christi, both of which are examples of worship of the Holy Eucharist after Mass.

    The last two verses, starting with "Tantum ergo", highlight this aspect: "Veneremur cernui" (we venerate, bowed down)̇. The focus of attention here is the Blessed Sacrament before us in procession (or in exposition). It doesn't seem intended for use during the reception of Holy Communion.

    But I hope your list includes
    Adoro te
    Ave verum
    Iesu dulcis memoria

  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,323
    The Pange lingua (gloriosi Corporis mysterium) is also the Vespers Hymn for Corpus Christi. While it is used as THE processional Hymn for the Blessed Sacrament, there is nothing in the text to prevent it being used as a Communion Hymn.

    Other Hymns for Communion,
    Verbum supernum
    Sacris Solemnis
    Lauda Sion
    Christus Noster

    Also the Office Hymns for the Feast of the Precious Blood, and the Hymns for the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    The only thing I find weird about that is that the verse PRIOR TO "Tantum Ergo" narratre the events of the Last Supper. So, to me, it's so wrapped up with Holy Thursday, especially with the traditional chant tone.

    I understand a lot of places, when doing just the Tantum Ergo use a different tune, I think it's called ST. THOMAS. (Which, not incidentally, is why I use that tune with "Lo He Comes in Clouds Descending" as a Communion hymn when Lectionarily appropriate).
  • Some people will probably tell you that music for Eucharistic Adoration is not necessarily appropriate for Mass. I disagree with that assessment, but you'll probably hear it.

    I don't, in theory, dislike this use of the Pange lingua, but I don't think I would use it because it is so inherently tied up with a specific ritual. Just my opinion, though.
  • Is there a set chant melody for "O Esca Viatorum?" I've sung it as a 3 voice motet before and understand that it is an old Latin hymn.
  • I usually use Pange Lingua (when not for Holy Thursday) as Communion Meditation, but only as accompanied chant on the organ. It could be sung, but the kids don't know it yet.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,897
    According to an article in the Dutch Wikipedia (alas, without references), O esca viatorum was first published in 1661 in the Mainz Gesangbuch, and it is conjectured that a Jesuit wrote it. The melody by Heinrich Isaac originally belonged to the song "O Welt, ich muss dich lassen".
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,904
    My understanding is that Heinrich Isaac actually penned the Tyrolean song Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen which was later modified to become the Lutheran chorale O Welt, ich muss dich lassen. Whether the tune, commonly known as INNSBRUCK, is actually due to Isaac or was copied from earlier melodies is uncertain. See this page at CPDL for the "original" Isaac song.
    Thanked by 2chonak Andrew_Malton
  • Some people will probably tell you that music for Eucharistic Adoration is not necessarily appropriate for Mass.
    Perhaps those who assert this have in mind paragraph #62 of the 1972 document of the United States Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, Music in Catholic Worship:
    "The communion song should foster a sense of unity. It should be simple and not demand great effort. It gives expression to the joy of unity in the body of Christ and the fulfillment of the mystery being celebrated. Because they emphasize adoration rather than communion, most benediction hymns are not suitable."
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • Indeed, this may be the case, but it is only the last two verses of the Pange Lingua (ie the Tantum Ergo) which is the benediction hymn.

    I found a music sheet for the hymn "O Esca Viatorum" here:
    http://www.hymnary.org/media/fetch/139421

    Is there a version with a simpler harmony/accompaniment?
  • The 1940 hymnal (episocpal) has a nicely harmonized pange lingua in it..I think..

    I only wish people could use the ancient "fraction antiphon" (Venite populi) which can be unchanging or the always changig "communion antiphon:" from the graduale instead of that hymn...
  • Perhaps those who assert this have in mind paragraph #62 of the 1972 document of the United States Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, Music in Catholic Worship.


    You are likely correct; that is that they probably have in mind. Does Sing to the Lord, which supercedes MCW, contain such a clause? I strongly disagree with the statement anyway. The (for lack of a better term) "liberal/conservative" ecclesiological fight over liturgy has largely been over the vertical vs. horizontal emphasis of texts and style. I don't see why it can't be both.
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  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    I don't see why it can't be both.


    To over-poeticize:
    Just as the Cross reaches both outward and upward.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,565
    I would omit the Pange lingua verse itself if used during the rite of Communion.
  • Fr. Chepponis,

    Indeed, there are those who will quote this document, but the document itself has no authority whatsoever, and has since been replaced by a (slightly) more authoritative document.

    Hartley,

    I would think it ill-advised to use the whole of the hymn at a Sunday Mass because it is so closely tied to the Eucharistic procession of Maundy Thursday. (The congregation might confuse itself for the Transsubstantiated presence of Christ Himself, and begin adoring itself.) I've sung both the Tantum Ergo and the O Salutaris Hostia as motets at Mass.

    Remember that no "meditation" is necessary at Communion. If you're going to sing something, I would support you in the notion of singing something strongly theocentric.

    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,897
    Well, yes, Music for Catholic Worship was a lame U.S.-only document. But the idea of distinguishing adoration hymns from communion hymns doesn't depend on MCW, so the document's desuetude doesn't matter.

    Who knows -- maybe it is possible for a lame document to make a few valid arguments. We can consider them on their merits.
    Thanked by 2Liam Andrew Motyka
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    If we take the Communions of the Graduale Romanum as the measure of suitability against which "other suitable songs" are evaluated, the hymn "Pange lingua" seems not so suitable. It does not really resemble the kind of thing that the liturgy prescribes for singing at communion.
  • I don't see why the Tantum ergo or Pange lingua wouldn't be suitable for either an Offertory or Communion motet for just about any liturgical day. Mustn't approach these questions like a nice lady matching her shoes to her dress for Sunday.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    If we take the Communions of the Graduale Romanum as the measure of suitability against which "other suitable songs" are evaluated, the hymn "Pange lingua" seems not so suitable. It does not really resemble the kind of thing that the liturgy prescribes for singing at communion.


    For what reason?

    (I can imagine some arguments here, but I'm curious what in particular you are thinking about.)
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,323
    While we do not use the Pange / Tantum as a Communion Hymn (after the Communion Antiphon, NOTE, we sing at the EF). We would usually sing the Sacris Solemnis or the Lauda Sion instead.
    I would be interested in a reason why we should not sing such Hymns / Sequences after the Communion Antiphon, in the EF.

    I am also sure that the many contributors to this excellent forum who sing at the OF would also be interested in any reason applicable to the OF.
  • Tom,

    Theologically, there isn't an objection.

    Liturgically, however, there might be an intelligent one, at least for the whole of the Lauda Sion.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,897
    The GR Communion antiphons, unlike adoration hymns, are usually quotations from the Psalms or the Gospels, and they seldom mention the Most Holy Eucharist.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood Spriggo
  • Yes, but that is forgetting the 7 ad libitum antiphons qhich are eucharistic in nature.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,897
    Forgetting? Not really. The eucharistic references in seven antiphons (and, who knows, perhaps a few more?) are relatively few. There are approximately 160 communion antiphons in the GR 1974.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood Ben Yanke
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    It does not really resemble the kind of thing that the liturgy prescribes for singing at communion.

    For what reason?

    The GR Communion antiphons, unlike adoration hymns, are usually quotations from the Psalms or the Gospels, and they seldom mention the Most Holy Eucharist.


    I assumed that is what Robert was thinking of.

    I wonder, also, if the style and format (short, unrhymed antiphons in a slightly melismatic free rhythm, as opposed to rhymed, syllabic, strophic hymnody).

    --

    (The following is extremely speculative...)

    Additionally, I wonder about the theological content.

    Even the Eucharist-themed Communion Antiphons do not delve deeply into the theology of the Eucharist, whereas the hymns for adoration (et al) present extended theological instruction.

    Could it be (?) that the Mass is more properly understood as a place/time to have an experience or encounter with the True Presence, while the Office/Adoration is a place/time to think and learn about that encounter?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,904
    Adam, please help me:
    I wonder, also, if the style and format (short, unrhymed antiphons in a slightly melismatic free rhythm, as opposed to rhymed, syllabic, strophic hymnody).
    ... "if the style and format" ... what? I don't see a sentence or clause here.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    ah - typing too fast...

    something something about wondering whether an important difference between communion antiphons for Mass and hymns for Adoration has to do not just with their content but with the form/genre/style.

    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • The Graduale Simplex specifies Ubi Caritas as an ad libitum communion chant.
  • jpal
    Posts: 365
    I would love to see JMO's input on this, considering the Vatican II Hymnal (explicitly a Mass hymnal) contains a combined FIVE settings of Pange Lingua Gloriosi in Latin or English.

    When I choose communion hymns, I try as much as possible to draw on themes from the Gospel. If it includes specific Eucharistic references, all the better. I do think, however, that the reduction of the Gospel to "themes" is impossible to do well. My hymn choices are always going to range from "somewhat appropriate" to "very inadequate," because I'm really not qualified to decide what words the congregation ought to be praying at the highest moment of the liturgy (of course it applies to entrance and offertory as well, to different degrees). Hence my affinity for the propers...but perhaps it is selfish to want to abdicate this responsibility. At any rate, my pastor seems pleased, and he is a good priest. At the very least I ought to pray more when choosing music, rather than making it a purely academic process.

    Sorry for the ramble!
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  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,115
    Fyi... JMO is no longer on the forum, so you'd have to email him. PM me if you don't have his email
  • tiwa
    Posts: 2
    Does anyone have a descant to the tune 'St Thomas', commonly used for Pange lingua? I guess the melody is by j.f wade
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,904
    I have a descant to the usual harmonization of St. Thomas which I'll post here shortly. I also have just finished a rather elaborate harmonization of St. Thomas, with two descants, suitable for use as a processional hymn for Corpus Christi. It also works well with "Urbs beata Jerusalem" (or a translation thereof).
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    I have a descant to the usual harmonization of St. Thomas which I'll post here shortly
    ...
    I also have just finished a rather elaborate harmonization of St. Thomas, with two descants


    Looking forward to both of these.

    (BTW - We used your Come Down O Love Divine again recently, and the choir really liked the Byzantinish Doxology).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen