Chant Trivia: Introit for St. Agatha

Here’s a bit of trivia for chant geeks. The famous Gaudeamus introit, which is used for All Saints, multiple feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and various saints (such as Benedict), was written originally for St. Agatha, whose feast is today.

Seems surprising to me that such an elaborate and advanced chant was written for a saint’s day on a ferial “weekday.” This says something about how important daily Mass was, and how high the level of music was on every day of the week, in the medieval monasteries.

awr

2 comments

  1. I wouldn’t downplay S. Agatha’s importance as a mere “saint’s day on a feria.” She was a major saint (now forgotten), and as you know, one of few female saints mention in the Canon of the Mass. That alone speaks to her popularity. And not every saint has a wonderful pastry named for them.

    1. In the 1954 calendar, S Agatha’s feast ranked as a double – one of over 125 saints sharing that rank (by contrast, there were less than 40 ranked as a semidouble; by further contrast the only saints on the universal calendar whose feasts ranked as greater doubles or higher that were not directly associated with the time of our Lord and his family and the Apostles/Evangelists/Archangels were: Benedict of Nursia, Dominic, Francis of Assisi, and Francis Xavier).

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