8/2/3 Presentation

Rafaello Sanzio, Presentation in the Temple, Predella of the Oddi Altar, Pinacoteca, Vatican, 1502-03


Christ Church Cathedral – Montreal, QC


Choir Notes


February 3, 2008 – The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple

In the last of plagues upon Egypt, the angel of destruction spared the firstborn son of every Hebrew family.  For this reason every first-born son belonged to the Lord and had to be bought back from the Lord.  Click here to read Luke's account of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

Marc Chagall, The Passover Meal, etching, 1965


The elderly Simeon greeted the Child with a song of praise, the Nunc DimittisClick for versions in Greek, Latin and English.

The Nunc Dimittis is sung every day in Anglican Evensong and in Roman Catholic Compline.

This Sunday, February 3, 2008, at Christ Church Cathedral, the version to be sung will be from Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623), First ServiceClick here to access 34 other versions for listening online, including Weelkes, Ninth Service and Service for Five Voices. 


Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 63r: The Presentation in the Temple, the Musée Condé, Chantilly


The Anthems for Choral Eucharist and Evensong are also inspired by the elderly Simeon carrying the Child who yet rules the old man.  Click for the Latin text of Senex puerum portabat and several English translations. Click for William Byrd (1540-1623) , Alleluia and Senex puerum portabat (a 5).  Click for one-minute clips for Byrd's version for 4 voices and the Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-94) version.

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548 –1611)  also composed a Senex puerum portabat, not being sung this Sunday.  Click to hear a one-minute clip by the Victoria Voices and Viols, Andrew Hope, conducting.

Metzler organ, Stadtkirche St. Martin, Rheinfelden

A chorale prelude, in the strict sense, is an organ voluntary played to prepare the congregation for the singing of a chorale, or hymn with a simple melody.  This Sunday there will be two Bach choral preludes and one by Marcel Dupré based on the Nunc Dimittis. One of Bach's preludes and Dupré's, which immediately follows the Bach piece, both look for their inspiration to the chorale:  Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin / In peace and joy I now depart. (text) (Bach, BWV 616, and Dupré, Seventy-Nine Chorales, No. 56, op. 28)

Click to listen to Christopher Herrick perform on the Metzler organ of the Stadtkirche, Rheinfelden, Bach's  chorale prelude:  Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin / In peace and joy I now depart, BWV 616. 

For the second Bach prelude, click for the text and to listen to: Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf / Lord God, now open wide Thy Heav'n, BWV 617.



 The Casavant organ of St-Jean-Baptiste

For the second of the Dupre pieces, to listen to Ben van Oosten perform on the Casavant organ of St-Jean-Baptiste, Montreal, the sixth antiphon, Lumen ad revelationem / Light for Revelation from Marcel DupréSix Antiennes pour le temps de Noël / Six Antiphons for Christmastime, op. 48, click here, then click on Part II, then click and hold button, sliding it to 15:06 (15 minutes and 6 seconds).

To listen to all Six Antiennes, just click here,, then click on Part II.



Since last Advent the Music Programme has been posting a Bach Cantata every week.  Bach's Cantata 82 for the Feast of the Presentation is one of his most beloved.  With the beginning of Lent when cantatas were prohibited in the churches of Leipzig, the next Bach work to be posted will be his St. Matthew Passion on Palm Sunday

Click here for the text and to listen to Cantata 82, Ich habe genug / I have now enough, performed by the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling, conducting.