Here are the chants!

Most of the chants are sung in the original Latin. A Swedish translation of the text is given with each chant. Sofia Lindroos and Valter Maasalo have adapted some of the Swedish translations into singable versions with permission from the rightholders and with respect for the composer, the original melody and the translation. There is printable sheet music for most of the chants, reproduced with permission from the Cantus sororum songbook published by Hilkka-Liisa Vuori and Tuomo Pulkkinen in 2015.

Psalm 95 was sung at Matins every day. We give it here in full, adapted to the Swedish text, along with the invitatory for the first day (Sunday), Trinum Deum (‘To the triune God’). The hymn O Trinitatis gloria (‘O glory of the Trinity’) from the Sunday Matins is sung in the metric Swedish translation by Tryggve Lundén. The same melody is used for the chant O veneranda Trinitas (‘O venerable Trinity’) from Prime in the same day, sung in Latin. The first antiphon for Sunday, O amabilis Virgo (‘O lovable Virgin’), demonstrates the exalted position of the Virgin Mary in the Brigittine Office, and both text and music highlight Mary’s status in the story of Redemption. All three long responsories for Sunday are represented. Maria, summæ Trinitatis (‘Mary, to the most high Trinity’) is sung in Swedish. The hymn Lux Deus (‘O God, eternal light’) from Vespers is a prayer asking that God’s eternal light remain in our hearts after the sun’s rays depart.

The short responsories In manus tui (‘In thy hands’), In pace (‘In peace’) and Stella solem (‘The star gives birth to the Sun’) are musical gems built on recitation formulae. In the last of these, Mary is likened to a star that gives birth to the Sun, i.e. Christ.

In the antiphon Angeli, Archangeli (‘Angels, Archangels’) from the Lauds for Monday, we hear the Medieval practice of underpinning chant with a borduna or drone, i.e. a fixed tone. The long responsory Benedicta terra (‘Blessed is the earth’) demonstrates the poetic symbol domain that permeates the entire Cantus sororum. The lovely Sis tu æterne (‘May you for ever be’), one of the longer antiphons, precedes the Canticle of Zechariah. The last antiphon for Monday is sung in Swedish – Hell dig himlarnas Drottning (Ave Regina cœlorum ave, ‘Hail thee, Queen of Heaven’). Here, Mary is elevated to be the “ruler of the angels”, and we beseech her, the “most beautiful of all” to pray for us all.

Out of the great Marian antiphons taken from the common core repertory, we selected O florens rosa (‘O blooming rose’) and Ave Regina cœlorum Mater (‘Hail thee, Queen of Heaven, Mother’), which are also sung in Swedish. The latter is preceded by the brief antiphon Lumen verum (‘True light’), which frames the Nunc dimittis in Tuesday’s last hour, Compline. The first great responsory for Tuesday, Eva Mater (‘Mother Eve’) describes in rather stark terms the transgression of Eve in contrast with the humble obedience of Mary. Vuori considers that this responsory was most probably written by Petrus of Skänninge. Veni creator Spiritus (‘Come, O creator Spirit’) is a Birgittine variant of one of the most famous Latin hymns of all.

The theme for Wednesday is the birth and youth of Mary. The hymn Tu miro (‘Thou shinest with a wonderful light’) casts Mary as a guiding light for mariners and reflects on her eternal beauty: “Thou art sweeter than nectar for all who may taste thee. Thou art brighter than the light of the sun for them who strive to see thee.” In the final chant for Compline, O florens rosa (‘O blooming rose’), Mary is described as a rose that is brighter than the breaking dawn.

The theme for Thursday is the birth of Christ, and it begins with the well-known Marian prayer Ave Maria gratia plena, Dominus tecum (‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord be with thee’). Here, she accepts the duty of giving birth to Christ, becoming the Mother of God. The extended antiphon Gaude æternaliter (‘Rejoice for ever’) is considered by Servatius to be an original composition by Petrus of Skänninge.

The theme for Friday is the passion of Christ and the compassion of Mary. The melancholy mood is set in the invitatory and psalm for Matins. The short responsory Vidit Virgo (‘The Virgin beheld’) recounts the anguish of the mother as she beholds her mocked and abused Son hanging on the cross. The Vespers antiphon Annuntietur in universa terra (‘Let it be announced in all the world’) joyfully proclaims the Redeemer’s triumph over death. The Compline hymn Rubens rosa (‘The red rose’) narrates how Maria alone had hope and faith in the words of Jesus when all others forsook Him. This hymn is sung in Swedish in the metric translation by Tryggve Lundén.

The theme for Saturday is the Resurrection of Christ and the Assumption of Mary. The brief antiphon Quae est ista (‘Who is she’) takes its text from the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. The hymn O quam glorifica (‘O how glorified’) is given here in the metric Swedish translation by Tryggve Lundén. Versions in both Latin and Swedish are given for the Birgittine antiphons for Vespers, Iam lætaris (‘Therefore rejoice’) and Maria, Maria.