Epiphaniam Domino canamus (Nicolle des Celliers de Hesdin)

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  • (Posted 2015-07-19)  CPDL #36172:      Part 1:  2:  3: 
Editor: John Hetland (submitted 2015-07-19).   Score information: Letter, 13 pages, 1.61 MB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: First published 1534. Our source: a manuscript edition by Alexander Blachly. Notation here is probably a minor third higher than the original with note values halved. Translation by Quintus' Latin Translation Service. Text underlay and musica ficta by John Hetland and The Renaissance Street Singers. 28 Mar 2006

General Information

Title: Epiphaniam Domino canamus
Composer: Nicolle des Celliers de Hesdin

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SSATB
Genre: SacredSequence hymn for Epiphany

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1534 in Motettorum, Book 8, no. 9
    2nd published: 1553 in Liber primus collectorum modulorum (Du Chemin & Goudimel), no. 7
Description: Sequence for Epiphany (January 6)

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Epiphániam Dómino canámus gloriósam,
Qua prólem Déi vére mági adórant.
Imménsam Chaldaéi Persaéque
cújus venerántur poténtiam,
Quem cúncti prophétae ventúrum cecinére
géntes ad salvándas.
Cújus majéstas íta est inclináta ut
assúmeret sérvi fórmam.
Ante sécula qui Déus et témpora
hómo fáctus est in María.
Bálaam de quo vatícinans éxhibit
ex Jácob rútilans ínquit stélla
Et confringet dúcum ágmina
regiónis Móab máxima poténtia.

Huic mági múnera déferunt preclára:
áurum, símul thus et myrrham.
Thúre Déum prédicant, áuro régem
mágnum, hóminem mortálem myrrha.
In sómnis hos mónet ángelus ne rédeant ad
régem commótum própter régna.
Pavébat étenim nímium régem nátum,
vérens amíttere régni júra.

Mági stélla síbi micánte prévia
pérgunt álacres itínera
Pátriam quae éos ducébat ad própriam
linquéntes Hérodis mandáta.
Qui percússus córde nímium pre íra
exémplo mándat elúdia mágica non
línqui táliter impuníta, sed mox
privári éos víta.
Omnis nunc catérva tínnulum
láudibus júngat órgani pnéuma.
Mystice ófferens régi régum
Chrísto múnera preciósa.
Póscens ut per órbem régna ómnia prótegat
in sécula sempitérna.

English.png English translation

Let us sing of the Epiphany glorious to the Lord,
When the Magi truly worshipped the offspring of God,
Whose boundless power the
Chaldeans and Persians revered,
Whom all the prophets foretold would come
to save the nations.
His majesty descended so low as
to take on the form of a slave.
Before the world and time began he was God,
and became man in Mary.
Balaam, prophesying about him, said,
‘A bright star will arise from Jacob
And he will smash the battle lines of the princes
of the land of Moab with his enormous power’.

The Magi brought radiant gifts to him:
gold, with frankincense and myrrh.
With frankincense they foretold a God, with gold a great
king, and with myrrh a mortal man.
In dreams the angel warned them not to return to
the king who was anxious for his realm.
For he was exceedingly afraid of the newly born king,
and feared to lose authority in his kingdom.

The Magi eagerly continued their journey
as the star shone before them
Which led them to their native land,
as they ignored the commands of Herod.
He was greatly disturbed in his heart with anger, and as an
example commanded that their magical trickery should not be
left unpunished in this way, but that they should be quickly
deprived of their lives.
Now let the whole throng join the ringing
breath of the organ to their praises,
Mystically offering to the king of kings,
Christ, precious mystical gifts
And begging that he may protect all realms throughout the
world for all ages without ceasing.