St. John Cantius Presents: Renaissance Polyphony of Portugal for Our Lady of Fatima
St. John Cantius Choir of Saint Cecilia
Offered in Commemoration of the Centennial of the Apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal
CD jewel case with booklet insert
Product #: SY919
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Rev. Scott A. Haynes, S.J.C., Director
Corrado Cavalli, Organist

1. Beata Dei genitrix Maria, Pars Prima - Francisco Guerrero
2. Magnificat secundi toni, a 5 - Manuel Cardoso
3. Regina Caeli - Duarte Lobo
4. Ave Maris Stella - Manuel Rodrigues Coelho
5. Dulcissima Maria - Francisco Guerrero
6. Salve Regina - Diogo Dias Melgás
7. Tiento sobre la Letanía de la Virgen - Pablo Bruna
8. Virgen bendita sin par - Pedro de Escobar
9. Alma Redemptoris Mater - Aires Fernándes
10. Ave virgo sanctissima - Francisco Guerrero
11. Magnificat: Versos de Quarto Tom - Manuel Rodrigues Coelho
12. Beata Dei genitrix Maria, Pars Secunda - Francisco Guerrero

Notes on the Music

In 1917, when the Virgin Mary appeared to the children at Fatima, she called them to dedicate themselves to a life of prayer, conversion, and consecration to God. So too, Mary exhorts us to live holy lives following the example of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The two parts of Francisco Guerrero’s “Beata Dei genitrix Maria” serve as a framework for this musical recording, in which we not only laud the virtues of Mary, the one singularly chosen to be the “temple of our Lord, the sacred place of the Holy Ghost,” but also through which we turn to her to “pray for the people, plead for the priesthood, and intercede for all women devoted to God.”

1. BEATA DEI GENITRIX MARIA, PARS PRIMA - FRANCISCO GUERRERO. Seeking a place to flourish as a composer of sacred music, Guerrero turned to Portugal, a nation which he said excelled in religious fervor. This text, written for Vespers (Evening Prayer) on the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin, recalls the day when the parents of the Virgin Mary, Sts. Joachim and Anne, dedicated their child to the service of God in the Temple of Jerusalem: “O Blessed Mary, Mother of God, perpetual virgin, temple of our Lord, the sacred place of the Holy Ghost: thou alone without example, didst please our Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia.”

2. MAGNIFICAT SECUNDI TONI, A 5 - MANUEL CARDOSO. As composer and organist of the Convento do Carmo in Lisbon, the Carmelite Priest, Rev. Manuel Cardoso (1566–1650), represents well the “golden age” of Portuguese polyphony along with Duarte Lobo and King John IV. The structure of his “Magnificat” for five voices rises like a grand cathedral: “My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his Name. And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations. He hath showed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away. He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel: as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, forever. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

3. REGINA CAELI - DUARTE LOBO. Rev. Duarte Lobo (1565–1646), “maestro di cappella” of the Cathedral of Saint Mary Major in Lisbon, wrote this stunning setting of “Regina Caeli” for double chorus: “Queen of Heaven, rejoice, Alleluia, for He, whom thou wast worthy to bear, Alleluia, has risen as He said. Alleluia. Pray for us to God. Alleluia.”

4. AVE MARIS STELLA - MANUEL RODRIGUES COELHO.  Court organist of King John IV of Portugal, Manuel Rodrigues Coelho (ca. 1555–1635) wrote these variations on the Gregorian chant hymn, “Ave Maris Stella”: “Hail, O star of the ocean, God’s own Mother blest, ever sinless Virgin, gate of heavenly rest. Taking that sweet “Ave,” which from Gabriel came, peace confirm within us, changing Eve’s name. Break the sinners’ fetters, make our blindness day, chase all evils from us, for all blessings pray. Show thyself a Mother, may the Word divine born for us thine Infant hear our prayers through thine. Virgin all excelling, mildest of the mild, free from guilt preserve us meek and undefiled. Keep our life all spotless, make our way secure till we find in Jesus, joy for evermore. Praise to God the Father, honor to the Son, in the Holy Spirit, be the glory one. Amen.”

5. DULCISSIMA MARIA - FRANCISCO GUERRERO. Popular in both Spain and Portugal, Rev. Francisco Guerrero (1528–1599) set this graceful text with sublime elegance: “Sweet Mary, I languish for love of thee, for thou art good-natured and kind. All the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance. Thou art beautiful, Mary, and there is no fault in thee. Hear us, most holy one, and intercede for us to our Lord Jesus, thy Son.”

6. SALVE REGINA - DIOGO DIAS MELGÁS. Born in Cuba, Portugal, the composer Rev. Diogo Dias Melgás (1638–1700) was “mestre de capela” at the Cathedral of Évora for 30 years. His “Salve Regina” is an intricate masterpiece: “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”

7. TIENTO SOBRE LA LETANÍA DE LA VIRGEN - PABLO BRUNA. This organ fantasia of musical variations based on the “Litany of the Virgin Mary” was composed by the renowned composer of Iberian organ music Pablo Bruna (1611-1679).

8. VIRGEN BENDITA SIN PAR - PEDRO DE ESCOBAR. Pedro de Escobar (c. 1465–1535), active in both Portugal and Spain, authored this charming Marian hymn: “O Blessed Virgin without equal, source of all virtue, thou art worthy of praise. Thou, O Sacred Empress, undid the error and remedied the harm of sinners. Of the angels you are the Lady who bestows so much grace so that we may not sin against the One who human flesh deigned to take. Solomon sings about you and of all your beauty, the rose among thorns, full of perfection. To thee, the Almighty shows love. That thou art worthy of praise, from whom all virtue comes, thou art worthy of praise.”

9. ALMA REDEMPTORIS MATER - AIRES FERNÁNDES. The Portuguese composer Aires Fernándes flourished in the 1590’s. Among his manuscripts, preserved by the Royal Monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, is found this Marian motet: “Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s ‘Ave,’ have pity on us poor sinners.”

10. AVE VIRGO SANCTISSIMA, FRANCISCO GUERRERO. Because of Guerrero’s lively devotion to Our Lady, he composed many motets in her honor, earning the nickname, “El cantor de Maria” (“The Singer of Mary”). His rich Marian devotion is evident in this motet: “Hail, O Holy Virgin, most blessed Mother of God, bright star of the sea. Hail, ever glorious, precious pearl, lovely as the lily, beautiful and perfumed as the rose.”

11. MAGNIFICAT: VERSOS DE QUARTO TOM - MANUEL RODRIGUES COELHO.  The organist Manuel Rodrigues Coelho (ca. 1555–1635) was court organist for Phillip II of Portugal. These versets are played in alternation with the “Magnificat” at Vespers.

12. BEATA DEI GENITRIX MARIA, PARS SECUNDA - FRANCISCO GUERRERO. Unlike his contemporaries, Guerrero not only set the first part (pars prima) of Beata Dei genetrix, a liturgical text for Vespers, but also added a second part (pars secundo) out of his piety and love for Our Lady. The deep faith of “El cantor de Maria” is evident in this motet honoring the Holy Virgin, and sums up well our petition to Our Lady of Fatima: “Pray for the people, plead for the priesthood, and intercede for all women devoted to God. Alleluia.”

*Featuring the Oberlinger Portative Organ (2005). Manual (C-d’’’): 8’ Traversflöte, 8’ Copula, 4’ Gedackt, 2’ Principalflöte, 1-1/3’ Quinte, I-II Cymbel; H-C Transposer. (Track # 3, 6, 9)

The Story of Fatima

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children (Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta) between May 13 and October 13, 1917, in the small village of Fatima, Portugal. Her apparitions came to a world torn asunder by war, but Our Lady promised that the world would enjoy peace, and that many souls would go to heaven if her requests for prayer, reparation, and consecration to God were heeded.

To prove the divine nature of her apparitions, Mary told the children, “On the last month, I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” So on October 13, 1917, before at least 70,000 rain-soaked witnesses who stood in the rain for hours waiting in the muddy field of Fatima’s Cova da Iria, the miracle occurred. After Our Lady appeared to the three children in a column of blue smoke, Mary performed a miracle with the sun. All witnessed the sun dance in the sky before it seemed to plunge toward earth. People believed the world was at its end, and even skeptics and non-believers dropped onto their knees and begged for forgiveness.

Father Lourenço described, “There was an unbeliever there who had spent the morning mocking the simpletons who had gone off to Fatima…He now seemed paralyzed, his eyes fixed on the sun. He began to tremble from head to foot, and lifting up his arms, fell on his knees in the mud, crying out to God.” The academician Marques da Cruz, a witness in Fatima that day, observed: “This enormous multitude was drenched, for it had rained unceasingly since dawn.” The amount of energy needed to dry the ground and the rain-soaked clothes in such a short a time would have incinerated everyone present at the Cova at that time. “But—though this may appear incredible—after the great miracle everyone felt comfortable, and found his garments quite dry, a subject of general wonder,” said Cruz. “The Miracle of the Sun,” the greatest supernatural occurrence of the twentieth century, “does not belong only to the domain of faith, or even that of science. Before all else it is an historical event,” as one witness said.

The message of Our Lady of Fatima is an urgent call to prayer, conversion, and consecration to God. In this centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, amid the discord of our times, let us heed her plea, for she always leads us to Jesus, her Son, and tells us, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).  For more information on Our Lady of Fatima, contact “America Needs Fatima.”

St. John Cantius Choir of Saint Cecilia

1st Soprano: Stephanie Culica, Alexandra Olsavsky, Simonetta Pacek
2nd Soprano: Lieve Buzard, Jenny Haworth, Laura Lynch
1st Alto: Lindsey Adams, Suzanne Rovani, Maia Surace
2nd Alto: Ryan Belongie, Suzanne Browne, Corrine Wallace-Crane
1st Tenor: Trevor Mitchell, Gerald Virgil
2nd Tenor: Dave Anderson, Br. Nathan Ford, S.J.C., Cameo Humes
1st Bass: Jan Jarvis, Bill McMurray, Br. Andrew Panzer, S.J.C.
2nd Bass: Ryan Cox, Br Matthew Schuster, S.JC., Jim Theorell, Eric Wallbruch

Production Team

• Audio Engineer: John McCortney, AirWave Recording Studios
• Producer: Rev. Scott A. Haynes, S.J.C.
• Graphic Design: Julie Streeter
• Photography: Connie Ballantine

With special thanks to Terry Sullivan, Richard Childress, Nolan Carter, Gabriele Damiani, Simon Lloyd, and Michael Anderson for musical assistance, and to the World Apostolate of Fatima for use of the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Proceeds from this recording help support the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius and the A.M.D.G. Foundation in “restoring the sacred” through the beauty of music.

Total Length: 1:05:40