A love song

by a Cantor

This next week’s communion antiphon – Gustate et videte – O taste and see that the Lord is good – is one of the most beloved and familiar of scripture texts and chants. In “Chants of the Vatican Gradual”, Dom Dominic Johner notes that this is the oldest communion chant to be found with its psalm in the liturgy of both eastern and western church. (as quoted by Jeffrey Tucker on The Chant Cafe).

The chant opens with a well-known and rather insistent incipit, with the repeated tristophas on the words videte quoniam on the pitch DO – see that – bringing our attention instantly to the word suavis – sweet! There are also teneres on quoniam which help heighten that focus. From that moment, the chant descends gently to a cadence on MI. The final phrase – Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord – has a melodic rise that moves up to LA as its “reciting” tone, again descending back down to MI. Here again, the composer was making a point. By making the chant rise to its highest point right at the beginning, there is no doubt that it is the Lord’s goodness receiving most emphasis and because of that, those who trust in Him are blessed.

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