Saturday, January 3, 8370

Johannes Ciconia (b. c. 1370) - Gloria

Johannes Ciconia (b. c. 1370) - Gloria

Johannes Ciconia (c. 1335 or c. 1370 – between June 10 and July 12, 1412) was a late medieval composer and music theorist. He has possibly been conflated with his father of the same name in some biographical accounts, hence the uncertainty over his date of birth. All the composer's works are believed to date from later than about 1390.

Ciconia was born in Liège. A Johannes Ciconia, probably the composer's father, worked in Avignon in 1350 as a clerk for the wife of the nephew of Pope Clement VI. In 1358 this Johannes Ciconia settled in Italy, working in Padua. During his time in Italy, he traveled widely as an adjuct of Cardinal Gil Alvarez De Albornoz and came into contact with all of the local musical styles; evidently, he incorporated what he heard into his music. In 1372, he returned to Liège, where he stayed for an unknown amount of time; he is known to have fathered a family there, although he remained unmarried.

A second musician by the name of Johannes Ciconia appears in records in Liège in 1385 as a duodenus, generally a person of young age, and thus more likely the composer himself. Papal records suggest that this Ciconia was in the service of Pope Boniface IX in Rome in 1391. A lament he wrote on the death of Francesco de Carrara has been securely dated to 1393, giving further evidence for his being in Italy at that time. When Ciconia moved to Padua is unknown -- with the possibility of an intermediate stay in Pavia being strongly asserted by Di Bacco and Nádas -- but it is understood that he was in Padua by 1401, where he remained until his death.

Ciconia's music has evidenced a comparable commingling of styles. Music typical of northern Italy, such as his madrigal Una panthera, is combined with the French ars nova. The more complex ars subtilior style surfaces in one work, Sus un fontayne, and the late Medieval style begins to morph into writing which points towards the melodic patterning of the Renaissance (E.g., O rosa bella). He wrote music both secular (French virelais, Italian ballate and madrigals) and sacred (motets, mass movements, some of them isorhythmic), and he penned treatises on music as well. It remains possible that some works have been misattributed to him.


[Hilary of Poitiers, c. 300-368]

"Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest") is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology (as distinguished from the "Minor Doxology" or Gloria Patri) and the Angelic Hymn.

The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.

It is an example of the psalmi idiotici ("private psalms", i.e. compositions by individuals in imitation of the Biblical Psalter) that were popular in the second and third centuries. Other surviving examples of this lyric poetry are the Te Deum and the Phos Hilaron.

The hymn begins with the words that the angels sang when the birth of Christ was announced to shepherds in Luke 2:14. Other verses were added very early, forming a doxology, which in the fourth century became part of morning prayers, and is still recited in the Byzantine Rite Orthros service.

The Latin translation is traditionally attributed to Saint Hilary of Poitiers (c. 300-368, a male saint, named after the word for "glee," from which also comes "hilarious"), who may have learned it while in the East (359-360).

The Vulgate Latin translation of the Bible was commissioned only in 382.

The Latin hymn thus uses the word excelsis to translate the Greek word "the highest" in Luke 2:14, not the word altissimis, which Saint Jerome preferred for his translation.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all people.
We praise you, we bless you, we worship you, we glorify you, we give thanks to you for your great glory.
Lord, King, heavenly God, Father, almighty; Lord, the only‑begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father who take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us, you who take away the sins of the world.
Receive our prayer, you who sit at the right hand of the Father, and have mercy on us.
For you only are holy, only you are Lord
Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Each day we bless you, and we praise your name forever and to the ages of ages.

Present-day Latin text

Glória in excélsis Deo
et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis.
Laudámus te,
benedícimus te,
adorámus te,
glorificámus te,
grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam,
Dómine Deus, Rex cæléstis,
Deus Pater omnípotens.
Dómine Fili Unigénite, Iesu Christe,
Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris,
qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis;
qui tollis peccáta mundi, súscipe deprecatiónem nostram.
Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis.
Quóniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dóminus, tu solus Altíssimus,
Iesu Christe, cum Sancto Spíritu: in glória Dei Patris. Amen.[7]
Glory be to God on high.
And in earth peace towards men of good will.
We praise thee.
We bless thee.
We worship thee.
We glorify thee.
We give thanks to thee for thy great glory.
O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty.
O Lord, the only-begotten Son Jesu Christ.
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right of the Father, have mercy upon us.
For thou only art Holy. Thou only art the Lord.
Thou only, O Jesu Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art Most High in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The Roman Missal of the Tridentine period instructed the priest, when saying the opening phrase "Gloria in excelsis Deo," to extend his hands and raise them to shoulder height and, at the word "Deo", to join them and bow his head. He was then to continue the recitation standing erect with hands joined and bowing his head to the cross at the words "Adoramus te," "Gratias agimus tibi," "Iesu Christe" (twice), and "Suscipe deprecationem nostram,",and at the concluding phrase (as also at the concluding phrase of the Nicene Creed and the Sanctus), to make a large sign of the cross on himself.

At High Mass the priest intoned the opening phrase, while the deacon and subdeacon stood behind him; then they joined him at the altar and together with him quietly recited the rest of the hymn,[10] after which they sat down while waiting for the choir to finish its singing.
The revised Roman Missal says: "The Gloria is intoned by the priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by all together or by two parts of the congregation responding one to the other."

No particular ritual gestures are prescribed.

The Gloria was sung to a wide variety of melodies. Modern scholars have catalogued well over two hundred of them.[12] The Roman Missal indicates several different plainchant melodies. In addition, several "farced" Glorias were composed in the Middle Ages and were still sung in places when the Roman Missal was revised by order of Pope Pius V in 1570. These expanded the basic Gloria by, for instance, adding to mentions of Jesus Christ a mention of some relationship between him and his mother. The use of these additional phrase in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary was so common that in editions of the Roman Missal earlier than the 1921 revision, the text of the Gloria was followed by the rubric: "Sic dicitur Gloria in excelsis Deo, etiam in Missis beatæ Mariæ, quando dicenda est" (When the Gloria in excelsis Deo is to be recited, it is recited in this way, even in Masses of Blessed Mary).

Almost all polyphonic settings of the Mass include the Gloria. In addition, there are settings for the Gloria alone, including:

Gloria (Vivaldi), RV 589, and the less famous Gloria RV 588.

A setting of the Gloria by Handel for solo soprano, lost and then discovered at the end of the twentieth century.

Gloria (Poulenc)

There are also many musical settings of translations of the Gloria into various languages.
The Gloria has also encouraged the writing of popular hymns such as Angels We Have Heard on High, Glory to God, Angels from the Realms of Glory, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks


A doxology (from the Greek doxa, glory + logos, word or speaking) is a short hymn of praise to God in various Christian worship services, often added to the end of canticles, psalms, and hymns. The tradition derives from a similar practice in the Jewish synagogue.

Among Christian traditions a doxology is typically a sung expression of praise to the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is common in high hymns for the final verse to take the form of a doxology. Doxologies occur in the Eucharistic prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, hymns and various Catholic devotions such as novenas and the Rosary.

The Gloria Patri, so named for its first two words in Latin, is commonly used as a doxology by Roman Catholics,Old Catholics, Independent Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and many Protestants including Lutherans, Methodists, and Reformed Baptists. It is called the "Lesser Doxology", thus distinguished from the "Great Doxology" Gloria in Excelsis Deo, and is often called simply "the doxology." As well as praising God, has been regarded as a short declaration of faith in the co-equality of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

The Latin text,
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

is literally translated

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and always, to the ages of ages. Amen.

"Saecula saeculorum," here rendered "ages of ages," is the translation of what was probably a Semitic idiom, via Koine Greek, meaning "forever." It is also rendered "world without end" in archaic English, which has the same meaning. That phrase occurs in the King James Bible (cf. Eph. 3:21; Isa. 45:17). Similarly, "et semper" is often rendered "and ever shall be," giving the more metrical English version

... As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

[8370 Cordier / 8370 Ciconia / 8365 Herman Monk of Salzburg]