Music for the Sacred Triduum

Even though the last days of Holy Week may seem like three separate days, each with its proper rites and ceremonies, they are really just one. None of these days makes any sense without the other two.

This can be seen in the following two pieces of sacred music for the Triduum.

The first is the Mandatum, associated with the evening of Maundy Thursday, when Christ gave His new commandment of mutual love and service and made Himself a perfect example of this when He Himself washed the feet of His disciples (even of the one about to betray Him). It is in English and the music is by Dr Peter Latona, current director of the music at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. It is quite a pretty setting of some relevant Gospel passages (John 13).

The second is one of the Tenebrae responsories by (Father) Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), “God’s composer”, for  Good Friday, the Caligaverunt oculi mei. We get to see the great cost to our Lord of that new commandment of love and service of which He became Himself the first exemplar.

Caligaverunt oculi mei a fletu meo,
quia elongatus est a me, qui consolabatur me.
Videte, omnes populi,
si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte
si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.

My eyes have been dimmed by my tears,
For he that used comfort me is now distanced from me.
See, all you people,
if there is any grief like my grief.
O all you that pass by the way, attend and see
if there is any sorrow like my sorrow.

I shall be listening to these again before retiring this evening after all this fasting and abstaining. One or two others might do the same.

And here’s a Strepitus, with which the Tenebrae service would end after the last candle had been extinguished and the church was darkened.


About GC

Poor sinner.
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2 Responses to Music for the Sacred Triduum

  1. Gichon says:

    Great music for Easter! Love it.

  2. GC says:

    Gichon, there is just so much profound and beautiful Catholic sacred music it’s not at all hard to find it. Even in these days.

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