Musical Offering: Ecce Sacerdos Magnus

Jan van Eyck

In honour of the new archbishop-elect to Canada’s largest diocese, for our musical selection this week, we offer two version of the great motet Ecce Sacerdos Magnus – Behold the Great High Priest.

The first by Anton Bruckner, composed in 1885 for the centenary of the founding of the diocese of Linz – even if it was not performed at that event, nor anytime, apparently, during the composer’s life:

For another version, we travel exactly three centuries back in time, to 1585, and the setting of the same antiphon by Tomás Luis de Vittoria:

And for those of you with great zeal, the great Palestrina (+1594) composed, around the same era as Vittoria’s, an entire Mass for the ordination or consecration of a new bishop, which would be quite fitting to perform, in part, at Saint Michael’s cathedral, if anyone there be reading this. Even the Kyrie or Gloria would quite elevate the proceedings to a more transcendent and sublime plane: