Today (June 29th) is the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, the two great apostles.
This hymn, sung to the tune of "Annue Christe" is actually a plainsong melody that has been "metered" and harmonized. It's a grand sort of thing, but probably not one that you'll leave humming. The source of the melody is from La Feillée's "Méthode du plain-chant" (1782), and the text is 6th century Latin, and translated by T. A. Lacey (1853-1931), who is most well-known for his majestic translation of "O come, O come, Emmanuel."
I've played this in a "cathedral manner," but simply so, as if it was sung only the men of the choir (and congregation), and all singing in unison. This text also forces you to do "musical phrasing" instead of "verbal phrasing," as many of the phrases are quite long.
I've also included a photo of El Greco's famous painting of Peter and Paul. Perhaps we should a "Sunday school quiz" as to who is who in the painting! We know that Peter is on the left (see the key of heaven in his hand?), and Paul, the teacher, stands with book and ink.
The phrase in the 2nd verse refers to the deaths of the two saints: "cross" referring to Peter, who legend tells us not wishing to "compare" himself to Jesus, was crucified head-down, and "sword-stroke" refers to Paul, who was a Roman citizen, and had the "privilege" of dying by the sword.
I once played for a very historic Presbyterian church that had a significant 18th century building. The inside was very classical, and had a large balcony upheld by 12 pillars. 10 were equal in size, but the largest two in the front symbolized Peter and Paul "supporting" the church.
I've been at bit behind in my uploads, as I've recently completed a recording project of 15 newly composed pieces. As soon as they are released for publication, I will upload them in groups. From what I understand, their release is only days away...
I wanted to honor the day of the saints, and also wanted to get something uploaded. :-)