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The eternal gifts of Christ the King

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (09/22/16)
Composer: Directorium Christi, 1582
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Hymn
Yesterday, September 21st, was the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

His book is the first of the four Gospels in the New Testament. It was many years following the death of Christ, around 41 and 50 AD, Matthew wrote his gospel account. He wrote the book in Aramaic in the hope that his account would convince his fellow people that Jesus was the Messiah and that His kingdom had been fulfilled in a spiritual way. It was an important message at a time when almost everyone was expecting the return of a militant messiah brandishing a sword.

It is thought he departed for other lands to escape persecution sometime after 42 AD. According to various legends he fled to Parthia and Persia, or Ethiopia. Nothing is recorded of Matthew's passing. We do not know how he died, if his death was natural or if he was martyred.

The hymn that I've uploaded is a proper Office Hymn for the feast of any apostle or evangelist, so, it's not "specific" to St. Matthew. An office hymn is sung at Mattins or Evensong, and not at the Mass - although there is no "practical" reason why it couldn't be used in a Eucharistic setting.

The music is "adapted" from a viith mode plainsong melody, and appears in Guidetti's "Directorium Christ," dated 1582.

The text is attributed to St. Ambrose (c.340-397), and the version given here was translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866).

In this performance, I've done very little "fancy stuff". Other than changes in the registration, there are only a few "passing notes" here and there, and not even many of those.

You can hear that this melody, which is known by its Latin name, "Aeterna Christi munera" is indeed directly from the Gregorian chant, as it sweeps along majestically. This hymn is one of my very favorites.

I give the text in the first comment, but I have also attached the score below.

Also, I've attached a photo of St. Matthew with the angel who inspired/directed him in his Gospel writing.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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