The “O” Antiphons

The "O" Antiphon banners at LCH.

The “O” Antiphon banners at LCH.

Even though our “O” Antiphon service was last night, the thought occurred to me that some of you might not know what I’m talking about. The service contains readings, prayers and music on the “O” Antiphons, which are all names for God, beginning with “O”, such as “O Wisdom,” “O Root of Jesse,” “O Key of David,” and so forth. Last night was the first time the choir sang “O” Antiphon settings by Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt, but in years past, they have sung settings by Peter Hallock, one called “The ‘O’ Antiphons” and the other called “The Great ‘O’ Antiphons.”

At LCH we also made a banner to represent each antiphon and if you would like to view a closeup and description of each banner, you can click here.

Here’s last night’s repertoire list:

I saw a new heaven and a new earth (Peter Hallock)
Hymn: Fling wide the door
O Weisheit [O Wisdom] (Arvo Pärt)
O Sapientia (Robert Ramsey)
O Adonai (Pärt)
Hymn: The God of Abraham praise
O Sproß aus Isais Wurzel [O Root of Jesse] (Pärt)
There is a flower sprung of a tree (Stanley Vann)
O Schlüssel Davids [O Key of David] (Pärt)
O Heiland Reiß die Himmel auf (Hugo Distler)
O Morgenstern [O Rising Dawn] (Pärt)
Hymn: Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding
O König aller Völker [O King of Nations] (Pärt)
Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Edward Bairstow)
O Emmanuel (Pärt)
Ecce concipies (Jakob Handl)
Magnificat (Peter Klatzow)
Down in yon forrest (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
Hymn: Veni veni Emmanuel (arr. Carl Crosier)

Was I ever surprised to find out that not only are each of the “O” Antiphons names for Christ, they were pictured by Jan Van Eyck in the famous Ghent Altarpiece which I’ve had the fortune to see in person.

The "O" Antiphons in the flesh as immortalized in the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck, 1420s

The “O” Antiphons in the flesh as immortalized in the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck, 1420s

By the way, you may be amused to know that Peter Hallock tells everyone that I changed my husband’s name to “O Carl”! That is because whenever I need to get his attention, or am feeling exasperated, I never just say “Carl”; I say “O CARL” ! So now Peter also refers to him as “O Carl”: O Carl is coming for a visit or I got an email message from O Carl, etc.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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2 Responses to The “O” Antiphons

  1. Pingback: Advent in April? | Another Year of Insanity

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