EADY FOR THE HYMN CHALLENGE? FIRST, spend some time familiarizing yourself with this beautiful melody (unless you already know it). If you prefer, you can use a version by Pustet that is probably closer to what Guerrero sang. SECOND, scroll down and sing through the individual parts—especially the Bass, Alto, and Soprano. THIRD, locate the Canon in the final section. FOURTH, see if you agree that this one is the most incredible hymn you’ve never heard!
I recorded all the voices myself, to give you an idea how it sounds. Needless to say, a real choir would sound much nicer:
This melody was set polyphonically by numerous masters: Marenzio, Palestrina, Anerio, Victoria, and so forth. Indeed, these two settings (see above) are not the only ones by Guerrero. In our current liturgical books, this tune is a “Christmas” melody. Traditionally, however, the same tune was used for numerous feasts: Epiphany, Holy Innocents, Saint Catherine, and especially NOVEMBER 1st (the Feast of All Saints). Here’s an All Saints hymn called “Jesu salvator saeculi” as found in an ancient manuscript:
Do you see how it uses that same hymn melody? In Guerrero’s time, this melody was used for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity—a “Spanish” tradition as far as I can tell. Fr. Andrew Green used that tune thusly in 1950. The Desclée/Westminster 1949 hymnal does something similar. And it can be seen in a 1524AD Sarum manuscript.
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