Latin-Old High German Compline

On 17 February 2022, 9:15pm GMT, the St Edmund Consort sings Compline from the crypt of St-Peter-in-the-East, including a bilingual setting of verses from the ‘Christe qui lux est et dies’ from the Murbach Hymnal, MS. Junius 25, by James Whitbourn. Live-streamed via youtube from the Crypt of St-Peter-in-the-East. Booklet with texts.

Compline is the last service of the canonical hours in the Christian tradition, sung before retiring for the night. This version hints at the experience of those who created and used the ninth-century Murbach hymnal (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Junius 25) with their daily exposure to the Divine Office in Latin, making the hymns and liturgical pieces accessible through translation and commentary. The service tonight is not a historically accurate reconstruction of a specific service, rather an experiment to make the soundscape of Latin and Old High German liturgy and hymns accessible to a 21st century audience. We are grateful to the Principal and Fellows of St Edmund Hall for the permission to use the crypt of St-Peter-in-the-East; to James Whitbourn, Director of Music, for setting verses from the Murbach Hymns to music (to the best of our knowledge the first time this has been done for the Old High German interlinear gloss!) and for conducting; to the St Edmund Consort, a recently formed group of fellows, alumni and singers linked with St Edmund Hall; to Luise Morawetz for organising the workshop which inspired this; to Andrew Dunning for typesetting the music; to Christiane Gante who translated the Gloria Patri into Old High German; to Henrike Lähnemann for compiling the text; to all participants of the workshop who contributed their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Programme of the workshop. In association with the Bodleian Libraries and Oxford Medieval Studies, sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). Image credit: First lines of the Murbach hymns (fol. 122v, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Junius 25). Produced by Tom Revell

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