Adoration of the Magi - Giotto

My dearest, happy new year! May 2024 bring us plenty of good things and the strength and patience to deal with the things that aren't.

Like other years, we end the Christmas cycle with a song dedicated to the Three Wise Men. This year, however, with a small licence because we will hear a Gregorian chant. Or, rather, an adaptation of a Gregorian chat that Anna Lucia Richter and Ammiel Bushakevitz included in their album Licht, a recording that covers 800 years of German song, the entire period of modern musical notation. At the end, after reaching the 21st century, the artists go back to a work from before the period that covers the album: Tria sunt munera. And because I liked the chant, and it talked about Epiphany, I jotted it down in my notebook for this week.

This Gregorian responsory is collected in various sources; the adaptation of Richter and Bushakevitz is based on the 11th-century Introitus of the Cathedral of Cologne, a work that continues to be regularly performed. (his temple has an impressive reliquary that supposedly preserves the relics of the three holy kings). The text of the response has a clear didactic purpose. It is a commentary on the mystery of Epiphany that explains the symbolism of the three gifts that the wise men bring to the Child. So if you don't really remember why gold, frankincense and myrrh, pay attention to the lyrics of Tria sunt munera.

Before concluding, a brief mention regarding a Lied: Ammiel Bushakevitz accompanied the mezzo-soprano by a hurdy-gurdy, which is the instrument used by Der Leiermann in Winterreise's final lied. Pay attention to the sound of the instrument, which is not often heard, and remember how the piano sounds in Der Leiermann.

Have a good Three Kings Day, wishing the hope they bring lasts all year long!


Tria sunt munera

Tria sunt munera pretiosa,
Quae obtulerunt magi domino in die ista,
Et habent in se divina mysteria:
In auro ut ostendatur Regis potentia,
In thure sacerdotem magnum considera,
Et in myrrha Dominicam sepulturam.

There are three precious gifts
which the wise men offered unto the Lord on this day,
and they speak a mystery of the things of God:
Gold, to show His kingly power;
frankincense, for our Great High Priest;
and myrrh, against the Lord's burying.

Related articles

Comments powered by CComment

Liederabend website uses technical cookies, essential for the operation of the site, and analytics cookies that you can disable.