Piae Cantiones

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Piae Cantiones, 1582. Piae Cantiones 1.gif
Piae Cantiones, 1582.

Piae Cantiones ecclesiasticae et scholasticae veterum episcoporum (in English Pious ecclesiastical and school songs of the ancient bishops [2] ) is a collection of late medieval Latin songs first published in 1582. It was compiled by Jacobus Finno, a clergyman who was headmaster of the cathedral school at Turku. [2] [3] Publication was undertaken by Theodoricus Petri Rutha of Nyland, who lived from about 1560 to about 1630. [4] [5] He came from an aristocratic family in Finland, and was educated at Rostock.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Jacobus Petri Finno, sometimes known as Jaakko Finno or the Finnish form of his name Jaakko Suomalainen, was a Finnish priest and the rector (headmaster) of the Cathedral School of Turku. He was the publisher of the first Finnish-language hymnal as well as a catechism and a prayer book. Finno was doctrinally a moderate reformer.

Katedralskolan i Åbo

Katedralskolan i Åbo is the Swedish-language upper secondary school of Turku, located at the Old Great Square.


The collection Piae Cantiones was published in Greifswald, duchy of Pomerania, Germany, and includes 74 Latin and Swedish/Latin songs that were sung at the time in Finnish cathedral schools, most notably in the cathedral school at Turku. Most of them are religious in nature but some, for example Tempus adest floridum, are secular school songs. The lyrics in the collection testify to the moderate nature of the Protestant Reformation in Sweden. Although some Catholic nuances have been purged, many songs still carry strong traces of the cult of Virgin Mary (e.g. Ave Maris Stella ). Although published as late as 1582, the melodies of Piae Cantiones are medieval by nature. The origin of the songs and melodies varies. Many originate from Central Europe but quite a few seem to have been written in Nordic countries.

Greifswald Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Greifswald, officially the University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald, is a city in northeastern Germany.

Pomerania Place

Pomerania is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

In 1625 the collection was re-published with 13 further songs. [3]

Later versions of this collection were compiled by Finns Henricus Fattbuur and Mathias Tolia. A Finnish translation of Piae Cantiones (1616) was done by Hemminki of Masku, who earlier (1605) had published a remarkable Finnish hymnal. [6] The songs of Piae Cantiones were popular in Finnish schools until the 19th century but fell gradually into disuse. However, a newly awakened interest in this old music has made them quite popular and they belong to the standard repertoire of any Finnish or Swedish choir. Many of Hemming's translations are present (with some modernization) in the official book of anthems of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. In this way, Piae Cantiones still enriches Finnish spiritual life.

Hemminki of Masku was a Finnish priest, hymn writer, and translator. His work, particularly Yxi Wähä Suomenkielinen Wirsikirja greatly influenced hymnody in the Finnish language.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland national church of Finland

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is a national church of Finland. It is part of the Lutheran branch of Christianity.

Piae Cantiones in English

In 1853 the British ambassador to Sweden, G. J. R. Gordon, returned to England with a copy of the 1582 edition, which he presented to John Mason Neale, well known for his interest in early music. He in turn passed it on to Thomas Helmore whom he knew to be expert in the interpretation of the mensural notation in which the tunes were given. On receiving the tunes in modern notation Neale translated the texts into English, or in a few cases wrote completely new texts. Neale and Helmore published 12 of these tunes in that same year as Carols for Christmastide, and the following year 12 more as Carols for Eastertide. The Christmas set included Christ was born on Christmas Day from Resonet in laudibus , Good Christian men, rejoice from In dulci jubilo , and Good King Wenceslas as completely new words for the spring carol Tempus adest floridum. The Easter set included Let the song be begun from Personent hodie . [4]

George John Robert Gordon (1812-1912) was a British diplomat who served as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Swiss Confederation from 1854 until 1858.

John Mason Neale Anglican priest and hymnwriter

John Mason Neale was an Anglican priest, scholar and hymnwriter.

Thomas Helmore was a choirmaster, writer about singing and author and editor of hymns and carols.

In Helmore's 1854 The Hymnal Noted, Divinum mysterium became, with words inspired by Prudentius' poem Corde natus ex parentis, Of the father sole begotten . Subsequent settings were made by these and other authors, such as Puer nobis nascitur (Unto Us is Born a Son) and Gaudete .

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was a Roman Christian poet, born in the Roman province of Tarraconensis in 348. He probably died in the Iberian Peninsula some time after 405, possibly around 413. The place of his birth is uncertain, but it may have been Caesaraugusta (Saragossa), Tarraco (Tarragona), or Calagurris (Calahorra).

Of the Fathers Heart Begotten song

Of the Father's Heart Begotten alternatively known as Of the Father's Love Begotten is a doctrinal hymn based on the Latin poem Corde natus by the Roman poet Aurelius Prudentius, from his Liber Cathemerinon beginning "Da puer plectrum," which includes the Latin stanzas listed below.

Unto Us is Born a Son song

"Puer nobis nascitur", usually translated as "Unto Us is Born a Son", is a medieval Christmas carol found in a number of manuscript sources - the 14th-century German Moosburg Gradual and a 15th-century Trier manuscript. The Moosburg Gradual itself contained a number of melodies derived from the 12 and 13th century organum repertories of Notre Dame de Paris and the Abbey of Saint Martial, Limoges, suggesting that its antiquity may be much greater.

In 1910 an edition of the original, entitled Piae Cantiones: A Collection of Church & School Song, chiefly Ancient Swedish, originally published in A.D. 1582 by Theodoric Petri of Nyland, was published in England by the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society, with a preface and notes by George Ratcliffe Woodward.

A number of pieces translated from Piae Cantiones were arranged by Sir David Willcocks, Reginald Jacques and John Rutter and published in their popular 1961 collection, Carols for Choirs , and in subsequent volumes in this series. [7]

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A carol is in Modern English a festive song, generally religious but not necessarily connected with church worship, and often with a dance-like or popular character. The verb caroling also refers to the singing of carols.

Nine Lessons and Carols Traditional Christmas service of Christian worship

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Good King Wenceslas song

"Good King Wenceslas" is a Christmas carol that tells a story of a Bohemian king going on a journey and braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen. During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king's footprints, step for step, through the deep snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia or Svatý Václav in Czech (907–935). The name Wenceslas is a Latinised version of the old Czech language "Venceslav".

O Come, All Ye Faithful Christmas carol of unknown authorship

"O Come, All Ye Faithful" is a Christmas carol that has been attributed to various authors, including John Francis Wade (1711–1786), John Reading (1645–1692), King John IV of Portugal (1604–1656), and anonymous monks. The earliest printed version is in a book published by Wade, but the earliest manuscript bears the name of King John IV, and is located in the library of the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa. A manuscript by Wade, dating to 1751, is held by Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.

Gaudete medieval Christmas carol

Gaudete is a sacred Christmas carol, thought to have been composed in the 16th century. It was published in Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs published in 1581. No music is given for the verses, but the standard tune comes from older liturgical books.

Turku Cathedral Church in Turku, Finland

Turku Cathedral is the previous catholic cathedral of Finland, today the Mother Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. It is the central church of the Lutheran Archdiocese of Turku and the seat of the Lutheran Archbishop of Finland, Tapio Luoma. It is also regarded as one of the major records of Finnish architectural history.

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen German Christmas song

"Es ist ein Ros entsprungen", is a Christmas carol and Marian Hymn of German origin. It is most commonly translated in English as "Lo, how a rose e'er blooming", and is sometimes known as "A Spotless Rose". The rose in the text is a symbolic reference to the Virgin Mary, and the hymn makes reference to the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah which in Christian interpretation foretell the Incarnation of Christ, and to the Tree of Jesse, a traditional symbol of the lineage of Jesus. Because of its prophetic theme, the song is popular during the Christian season of Advent.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Christian hymn for Advent and Christmas

"O come, O come, Emmanuel" is a Christian hymn for Advent and Christmas. The text was originally written in Latin. It is a metrical paraphrase of the O Antiphons, a series of plainchant antiphons attached to the Magnificat at Vespers over the final days before Christmas. The 1861 translation by John Mason Neale from Hymns Ancient and Modern is the most prominent by far in the English-speaking world, but other English translations also exist. Translations into other modern languages are also in widespread use. While the text may be used with many metrical hymn tunes, it was first combined with its most famous tune, often itself called Veni Emmanuel, in the English-language Hymnal Noted in 1851. Later, the same tune was used with versions of "O come, O come, Emmanuel" in other languages, including Latin.

Resonet in laudibus song composed by anonymous with lyrics by anonymous performed by Ars Nova Copenhagen

Resonet in laudibus, translated into English as "Let the voice of praise resound", is a 14th-century carol which was widely known in medieval Europe, and is still performed today. Although probably earlier, in manuscript form it first appears in the Moosburg Gradual of 1360 and occurs in several 15th, 16th and 17th century printed collections from both Catholic and Lutheran traditions.

<i>In dulci jubilo</i> sacred Song with lyrics by Henry Suso

In dulci jubilo is a traditional Christmas carol. In its original setting, the carol is a macaronic text of German and Latin dating from the Middle Ages. Subsequent translations into English, such as J.M. Neale's arrangement "Good Christian Men, Rejoice" have increased its popularity, and Robert Pearsall's 1837 macaronic translation is a mainstay of the Christmas Nine Lessons and Carols repertoire. J.S. Bach's chorale prelude based on the tune is also a traditional postlude for Christmas services.

<i>O filii et filiæ</i> hymn

O filii et filiae is a Christian hymn celebrating Easter. As commonly found in hymnals today, it comprises twelve stanzas of the form:

Personent hodie

"Personent hodie" is a Christmas carol originally published in the 1582 Finnish song book Piae Cantiones, a volume of 74 Medieval songs with Latin texts collected by Jacobus Finno, a Swedish Lutheran cleric, and published by T.P. Rutha. The song book had its origins in the libraries of cathedral song schools, whose repertory had strong links with medieval Prague, where clerical students from Finland and Sweden had studied for generations. A melody found in a 1360 manuscript from the nearby Bavarian city of Moosburg in Germany is highly similar, and it is from this manuscript that the song is usually dated.

Jesus Christus nostra salus

"Jesus Christus nostra salus" is a hymn in Ecclesiastical Latin celebrating the Eucharist. It first is confirmed to have appeared in a manuscript in 1410. For a long time it was attributed to Johannes Hus, but was more likely written by the Archbishop of Prague, Jan of Jenštejn. Several hymns in different languages were derived from it, among others Martin Luther's "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt".

Long Ago, Prophets Knew

"Long Ago, Prophets Knew", also called "Long Ago, Prophets Knew, Christ would come born a Jew", is an English Christian Advent carol written by Reverend Fred Pratt Green in 1970.

Hymnody in continental Europe developed from early liturgical music, especially Gregorian chant. Music became more complicated as embellishments and variations were added, along with influences from secular music. Although vernacular leisen and vernacular or mixed-language Carol (music) were sung in the Middle Ages, more vernacular hymnody emerged during the Protestant Reformation, although ecclesiastical Latin continued to be used after the Reformation. Since then, developments have shifted between isorhythmic, homorhythmic, and more rounded musical forms with some lilting. Theological underpinnings influenced the narrative point of view used, with Pietism especially encouraging the use of the first person singular. In the last several centuries, many songs from Evangelicalism have been translated from English into German.


  1. "Piae cantiones - page 8". jyk.jyu.fi.
  2. 1 2 Harald Andersen & Timo Mäkinen (1967). Piae Cantiones. Helsinki: Fazer.
  3. 1 2 Eileen Hadidian, A Study and Critical Commentary of Piae Cantiones
  4. 1 2 Margaret Vainio, Good King Wenceslas - an "English" Carol
  5. Robert Cummings, "Personent hodie" at allmusic, URL accessed January 4, 2009
  6. Mäkinen, Timo. Die aus frühen böhmischen Quellen überlieferten Piae Cantiones -Melodien. Jyväskylä 1964
  7. Jacques, Reginald; Willcocks, David, eds. (24 August 1961). Carols for Choirs 1 : Fifty Christmas Carols . OUP. ISBN   9780193532229.