by Sr. Fidelis
This past weekend I had the opportunity to co-lead a chant class for a group visiting on retreat. We reviewed various parts of the Sunday Lauds service. As we scanned through the pieces for the day, the canticle antiphon jumped out at me: Tres pueri iussu regis – an antiphon about the three boys in the fiery furnace.
This piece is one of those little gems — a small story backed up with scenery painted in neumes. The antiphon starts off simply like a recitation introducing the three boys, but then immediately leaps up and back down in two consecutive triads upon the introduction of the furnace (alarming thought!). Next we have a more sustained and solid scaler passage going down with the words “they did not fear the flames of fire” (they weren’t rattled!). And then the piece ends triumphantly with notes dancing up and back down as the boys said “Blessed be God!”
We all enjoyed spending a little time with this reminder of the goodness of God!