Introit ‘Esto Mihi’

A beautiful recording complete with sing-along notation from the Benedictine Nuns of Notre-Dame de l’Annonciation, Le Barroux
 This Sunday, the 6th Sunday in Ordinary (Hebdomada Sexta)  the Introit is Esto Mihi, from Psalm 30. This is the Introit for Quinquagesima which in the Old rite is next Sunday. It is written in Mode VI, the pious mode (think of the Requiem Aeternam Introit.)
Be unto me a protecting God and a house of refuge, to save me; for you are my support and my refuge. and for the sake of your name you will lead me and nourish me. V. In you O Lord, do I trust; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.  
Dom Gueranger on this week’s introit:-

The Introit is the prayer of mankind, blind and wretched as the poor man of Jericho; it asks for pity from its Redeemer, and beseeches him to guide and feed it.

Stan Metheny has kindly sent me his notes on this Introit written for his schola based in St.Louis:

This Introit antiphon has three phrases:

  1. Esto mihi in Deum protectorem, in locum refugii, ut salvum me facias

  2. quoniam firmamentum meum, et refugium meum es tu

  3. et proper nomen tuum dux mihi eris et enutries me

The melody here, in the soothing Mode 6, radiates a calm confidence in God’s protection and sustenance, reinforced by interim cadences with a repeating pitch over protectorem, (salvum me) facias, and enutrias. The first phrase begins with a minor third, then sinks to do and then rises a fourth. Then the melody begins to move above the dominant over protectorem and descends again over locum refrigerii. In the second phrase the situation is reversed. The first half with its recitative on the dominant is firm and definite; the descent occurs only in the second half. Like the first and second, the third phrase also has an ascending fourth, followed by a bistropha. Here, after an apparent calm on sol, the melody rises to a bright do. Also, please note that there is no break between mihi and in Deum, so join in just after the intonation without any hesitation.

The little conjunction et, so loved by our Holy Father, appears often in this text, adding emphasis to the various titles and attributes of God here. Psalm 30, from which this text is drawn, was the prayer of David—a type of Christ—in his time of greatest need. And when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He prayed a verse of this psalm aloud, ‘Into Your hands I commend My spirit,’ which has been echoed by martyrs through the ages, and is still our nightly prayer at Compline.

You might enjoy hearing this Introit sung by the nuns of Le Barroux:


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