Three Versions of the ‘O Sacrum Convivium’ (and one more)

One of the problems with the 1962 liturgical reforms was the senseless suppression of the glorious Octave of Corpus Christi. The suppression of the Octave of the Epiphany is another. (There are many more!) We consider both of these, in a way, tragic.

In an effort to continue the spirit of the Octave of Corpus Christi, and to do special honor to the Blessed Sacrament on this Friday after the Feast, I present three polyphonic versions of the O Sacrum Convivium, the antiphon to the Magnificat at 2nd Vespers of Corpus Christi (based on 1 Cor. 11:26 and Rom 8:18), which very many composers did beautiful settings of.

If none of these are “modern enough” for you, then perhaps the one by Messiaen would suit you — though it does not suit this listener. (I just went ahead and added it, a year after writing this.)


The first is by Thomas Tallis:


The second is by the colorful and brilliant Domenico Bartolucci:


The third is by Andrea Gabrielli, the uncle of the more famous Giovanni Gabrieli:


And I have just added (2016), this modern (1937) version by Olivier Messiaen: