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The beautiful Gregorian chant ‘Cibavit eos’

J-P Mauro - published on 07/21/17

We must never forget the wonderful sacred music of the past.

“Cibavit eos” is a traditional Catholic hymn written in style of Gregorian chant. It was written anonymously, most likely by a monk or other religious member. Gregorian chant is one of the earliest styles of written music in the Western world and played an important role in the development of polyphony.

On sheet music, the notes do not have stems or a time signature. This allows for each performance to differ in pace and length.

“Cibavit eos” is a part of a larger work known as the Occo codex, one of the best known musical manuscripts from the Habsburg-Burgundian court of the Netherlands. This choir book bound together many of the greatest composers of the time (Isaac, Mouton, and Josquin) along with lesser known or anonymous works. It is dated at around 1515-17, and contains a collection of polyphony in honor of the Blessed Sacrament (Corpus Christi).

This anonymous piece uses verses from Psalm 81 (the traditional Introit for Corpus Christi) and ends with the doxology (“Glory be to the Father …”). It adds interesting counterpoint to the original plainchant setting.

He fed them from the fat of the wheat, Alleluia, And filled them with honey out of the rock, Alleluia. Rejoice in God our help, Be joyful in the God of Jacob. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning and now and forever, And unto ages of ages. Amen.

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Sacred Music
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