About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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“In all this mediaeval religious poetry there is much that we could not use now. Many of the hymns are quite bad, many are frigid compositions containing futile tricks, puns, misinterpreted quotations of Scripture, and twisted concepts, whose only point is their twist. But there is an amazing amount of beautiful poetry that we could still use. If we are to have vernacular hymns at all, why do we not have translations of the old ones?”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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“Lauda Sion” • Rehearsal Video With Translation By Saint Robert Southwell, Jesuit Martyr
published 2 June 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

HETHER YOU CELEBRATE Corpus Christi on Thursday (EF), Sunday (Novus Ordo), or Sunday (External Solemnity), you might enjoy this recording of the “Lauda Sion,” which I created this morning 1 to help choirs rehearse:


Here’s a special PDF with translation by Fr. Robert Southwell, who suffered bravely in prison for three years before gaining the crown of martyrdom:

    * *  PDF Download • SPECIAL MUSICAL SCORE — “Lauda Sion”

Many of the big publishing companies skip the Corpus Christi Sequence—they literally just leave it blank. 2 When they don’t skip it, they print it like this:

    * *  COMPARISON CHART Pew Missal Layout

Such formatting strikes me as rather utilitarian.

In the JOGUES PEW MISSAL, our team did something no other publisher has done. In addition to providing St. Robert Southwell’s translation—set to a simple Psalm Tone—we also formatted a literal translation like this:

    * *  PDF Download • JOGUES PEW LECTIONARY

The text of the beautiful “Lauda Sion” was written by St. Thomas Aquinas (†1274). But what about the melody? First, we must understand whence sequences come. Fr. Joseph Connelly explains:

Sequentia was the name given to the jubilus or musical prolongation of the last vowel of the word alleluia. The jubilus is divided into small sections, and to these parts separately as well as to the whole melody the name sequentia could be applied. The custom gradually came into being of adding words or a Prosa to the music of the jubilus. At first, perhaps in the eighth century, a text was added to some of the sections—the last vowel of such texts being, in some places, always the vowel a—to which the next wordless section could be sung. Later on a text was added to the whole melody and so began what is now generally called a Sequence or, less generally, a Prose. Its full name would properly be Sequentia cum prosa.

The “Lauda Sion” melody is identical to Laudes Crucis Attollamus, whose text & melody are attributed to Adam of St Victor (†1146). That Sequence was originally used for 14 September, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Therefore, the melody of the “Lauda Sion” comes from the ALLELUIA JUBILUS of 14 September. Can you see the similarity?

689 Laudes crucis attollamus JUBILUS


This melody was often used. For instance, the Sunday before Corpus Christi is Trinity Sunday, which had a Sequence called Profitentes Unitatem Veneremur Trinitatem. Do you see that it uses the “Lauda Sion” melody?

687 Profitentes unitatem veneremur trinitatem


Here’s part of the “Lauda Syon” as found in a manuscript circa 1395AD:

685 “Lauda Sion”



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   You can also hear it on YouTube or download the Mp3 file.

2   My high school students never left anything blank. Sometime they would write “IDK” but they’d never leave anything blank.