1389 an office for the Visitation

During his life Adam was asked to compose not one but two new "offices" for the Catholic liturgy, a rare honour indeed. The first was never to be completed but the second, a service in honour of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin certainly was. The order of service was completed in 1389 and adopted by Boniface IX immediately. Throughout the next hundred years several new versions of the office of the Visitation were composed but Adam's remained in popular use across Europe right up until the time of the Reformation. It even survives as an early printed text, a copy of which is preserved in the collection of Hereford Cathedral.

The authors of such sacred texts were supposed to be anonymous, the work of God was too important for mere mortals to be looking for their own personal credit. It was considered just as unseemly to take credit for musical composition, as it was for the early artists who preceded Giotto to claim authorship of their finest works. Adam however, with his love of codes and word games found a way around that! In the first antiphon, shown below, he used the first letter of each verse to spell out his name: ADAM C (the C being for Cardinalis).

Following the first Antiphon we have included the text of the Office down to the first lesson, showing the structure and range and use of language Adam deployed in hymns, antiphons and readings.

 

Antiphona

Accedunt laudes virginis

Admirande indaginis

Noviter promulgate

En, visitat Elizabeth

Maria mater ipsamet

Celica probitate

Divo repletur munere

Maria, sine murmure

Cum filium concepit,

Surrexit ab oraculo

Statim in montis calculo

Abiit et profecit

Accendit ardor spiritus

Mariam tangens celitus

De Nazareth migrando,

Mox ad montana transtulit,

Ubi tumulti caruit

Superna degustando.

Monstrans culmen dulcedinis

Maria sui sanguinis

Elizabeth salutat

Stantem in domo proximi

Propinqua templo Domini

Devote subministrat.

Carisima sancti spritus

Diffudit se divinitus

In puerum, cum sensit

Conceptum salutiferum

Marie sibi ovium

Elizabeth consensit.

 

Capitulum

Ego mater pulcre dilectonis et timoris et magnitudinis et sancte spiritu. In me omnis gratia vie et veritatis.In me omnis spes vite et virtutis. (Ecclesiasticus XXIV?)

Hymnus

In Mariam

Vite viam

Matrem veram viventium (folio 355v)

Pie venit

Qui redemit

Peccata delinquentium.

 

Gressum cepit

Cum concepit

Maria multum properans

Visitavit

Comfortavit

Elizabeth compatiens.

 

Salutatur

Inflammatur

Elizabeth et filius

Inaudita

Fiunt ita

De dono sancti spiritus.

 

Impregnata

Gravidata

Fit mater olim sterilis;

Infans datus

Nondum natus
Exultat Christo iubilis.

 

Servit maior

Gaudet minor

Maria fert solatium

Visitatis

Preparatis

Ad spiritum propheticum.

 

Precursorem

Et doctorem

Maria plebi indicat

Qui rectorem

Purgatorem

Digito mundo nuntiat.

 

Leva gregem

Duc ad regem

Maria cunctos visitans,

Ut salvetur

Et letetur

Cum tu sis mater medians

Amen.

Responsario: V Speciosa tua et pulchra tua: R Intentionem prospere

Ad Magnificat

Antiphona

Acceleratur ratio

In puero non dum nato

Instinctu sacri neumatis

Divintus sibi dato

Novit presentem Dominum

In virgine clam latentem

Adoravit servulum venientem.

Oratio

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus qui ex habundantia caritatis beatam Mariam tuo filio ad salutationem Elizabeth inspirasti, presta quesmus, ut per eius visitationem donis celestibus repleamur, et ab omnibus adversitatibus eruamur id eundem.

Ad Matutinum

Invitatorium

Reginam celi Mariam concorditer adoremus

Que visitans Elizabeth spem contulit ut laudemus.

Provenit

O Christi mater celica

Fons vivus fluens gratia

Lux pellens cuncta scismata

Maria, Deo proxima.

Ex motu veri luminis

Transivit in monticulis

Virgo iuvare vetulam

De precursore gravidam.

Mater venit de Nazareth

Ut salutet Elizabeth (folio 356r)

Replentur dono spiritus

Anus et eius filius.

Elizabeth complacuit

Quod mater Dei affluit

Infans gaudet in utero

Presente Christo Domino.

Marie visitatio

Exemplum dat, pro bravio

Quod sit parata omnibus

Ipsam pie querentibus

Trinitatis clementia

Cuncta lavet facinora

Per matris Christi merita

Nos ducat ad celestia.

Amen.

In Primo Nocturno

Antiphona

De celo velud radius

Descendens sacer spiritus

Elizabeth intravit,

Mox benedictam virginem

Sanctitatis propaginem

Prophetice clamavit.

Psalmus de sancta Maria

 

Antiphona

Inter turmas femineas

Et sanctarum ex cubias

Maria collaudatur

Propter fructum, qui queritur.

Quo iure mundus emitur

Et plene visitatur.

 

Antiphona

Vocat hanc matrem nomine

Domini primo famine

Elizabeth in superna

Quod fuit clausam aliis

In velatis misteriis

Notitia interna.

Lectio Prima: Beatissima virgo Dei mater a suis primordiis modo consacrata. Propter beneficia eius in audita exhibita populo invocanti omnes in necessitate constituti adeam confugiunt tam quod ad singulare remedium. Ubi humanum subsidium non sufficiens requisitum. Disponit namquis omnia inferiora sua et sapientia providentia industria et gratia propulsata virgo gubernatrix seculi et terrene potentie. Mariam virgo mater miserie et impetrarix venie in maria virgo mater militantis ecclesie in maria virgine advocata seculi in maria.

This version is taken from Vatican Library Ottobone Lat 676 ff 355-359