Iudicii Signum - The Song of the Sybil (10th-16th c.)
  • I would appreciate if anyone could point me in the direction of the transcription of the "Song of the Sybil" in Latin or Catalunya languages. I would like to sing it in some para-liturgical setting, perhaps as a precursor or after divine office . It is a very meaningful hymn for the Nativity time, but not commonly known by many people outside the spanish/italian/french north-western mediterranean region. It certainly is rich in Christian history but I am uncertain where to find it. Here is are two images of two melodies, one earlier, the other later... image


    Versus de die iudicii

    I. Quique de morte redempti estis,
    Et per crucem liberati,
    Precioso comparati
    Sanguine filii Dei,
    Sursum corda preparat
    Et Ihesum desiderate.

    VI. Cum ab igne rota mundi
    Tota ceperit ardere,
    Saeva flamma concremare,
    Caelum ut liber plicare,
    Sidera tota cadere,
    Finis saeculi venire.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,777
    These have been mushrooming since Franco died, and even Provençal versions are being revived in France. I've transcribed a Castilian version & performed it, albeit without the thunder sheet and sword-bearing acolytes.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen cesarfranck
  • Thanks Richard, I am very appreciative of your efforts for this important tradition, but these castilian spanish verses are a deeply edited limited version of the original latin verses, they barely even mention what the purpose of the song is! The Catalan was much longer and closer to the latin...However, the melody/harmony is great! Any other sources? I am specifically looking for the latin version. but catalunya would be second in importance, so that would be OK, but latin is #1.
  • JL
    Posts: 171
    There is a fine (and extensive!) comparative table of several versions in Higini Angles' La Música a Catalunya fins al segle XIII, which should be available at your local university library. Check Worldcat.
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,777
    There is more than one Catalan version and I suppose multiple Latin traditions (iirc Grove mentions Italy as well) so you might want to get hold of María del Carmen Gómez Muntané's El canto de la Sibila (Madrid : Alpuerto, ©1996 2 vols.) which, besides scores, sports an engraving of an 18c survival. Still a 90 mile trip to the UC Davis library for us on the San Francisco Bay, though.
  • JL
    Posts: 171
    At least one version I know of has been digitized, and surely more are out there. If you've got some spare hours, have a look at digitizedmedievalmanuscripts.org. It'll take some digging, but you'll find many other treasures while you're there.
  • Christopher,

    This book on Google books, p. 531 of their file - is that of any use?
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • This is not a propos of your actual question, but merely tangential - we sing the various parts of the Lassus Prophetiae Sibyllarum as preludes or postludes during Advent since they were considered prophecies of the Nativity and Gospel. If you are looking for short pieces to sing when it might be good to skip the organ pieces, these are interesting and appropriate. (Of course we never sing them during mass.)
  • I am in Barcelona at the moment and just heard this song at the Midnight Mass at the cathedral. What an astonishing chant! It was beautifully done (by an adult alto I suspect?). Spectacular. I had never heard of it, and since googled it and discovered what is written above by other contributors. Spectacular. I've never seen such rapt attention on the part of the people listening, and it gave me chills. Wikipedia has a page on it now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_the_Sibyl and there are many examples, both professional and amateur, on Youtube. My understanding from the church programs I saw around town is that it is sung before Midnight Mass in many churches.