This week we celebrate Epiphany, and hear chants filled with the imagery of Magi, stars, gifts, and camels. The Gradual is a piece to note – Omnes de Saba venient – All they from Saba shall come – a rich and florid piece full of the story of the Magi.
The melody begins low in the range and flows up and back down several times over the opening words. There are several motives – amongst them, a pattern moving upwards stepwise and then leaping down in larger intervals. This is interspersed with upwards leaps of thirds and fourths, quilismas, liquesents and repercussions. It all comes together to paint a story with an Eastern flair – winding melodies and ornate textures gild the words. We remember the amazing events of the birth of Christ and the coming of all Nations to worship Him.
All they from Saba shall come bringing gold and frankincense: and shewing forth praise to the Lord. V: Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.