Generous Orthodoxy  

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Doctrine in blissful form

Heard at St Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York City on the second Sunday of Christmas, this marvellous distillation of the Chalcedonian Definition in gorgeous musical form, composed by Adrian Willaert (c. 1490-1562):

Mirabile mysterium declaratur hodie,
innovantur naturae;
Deus homo factus est;
id quod fuit, permansit,
et quod non erat, assumpsit,
non commixtionem passus neque divisionem.

A wondrous mystery is declared today,
an innovation is made upon nature;
God is made man;
That which he was, he remains;
And that which he was not, he takes on,
Suffering neither commixture nor division.
Some things do not improve. Has anyone in recent hymn-writing (let alone “praise music”) done anything like this for us lately? But then, it all sounds so much better in Latin…