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Alleluia: Our Paschal Meditation

compiled by Gary D. Penkala

Alleluia is our quintessential Easter word. It occurs first scripturally in Tobit's Song of Praise: "The gates of Jerusalem shall sing hymns of gladness, and all her houses shall cry out, 'Alleluia!'" [Tobit 13:18]. Many of the Psalms of praise contain "Alleluia" at the beginning and/or the end. It is sung frequently in Saint John's vision of divine worship as found in the book of Revelation.

The word, stemming from Hebrew roots, tranlsates as "Praise [hallel] Yahweh [IA]." While its liturgical use is not exclusive to Eastertide, its abundance makes it an Easter word beyond all others. Alleluia is found in most of the Easter season antiphons of the Liturgy of the Hours. It is added to the deacon's dismissal from the Great Easter Vigil Mass through the weekdays to Divine Mercy Sunday, and also to the dismissal at all Pentecost Masses [Vigil and Day]. In either single or double form, it concludes all the Propers of Eastertide [Introit, Offertory, Communion].

This single word has inspired composers throughout the ages. Here, for your Eastertide enjoyment and meditation, is a compendium of selections based on that one profound Easter-word, Alleluia!

Alleluia nativitas — Perotin (c.1200)

Alleluia — Giulio Caccini (1551-1618)

Alleluia — G.P. Telemann (1681-1767)

Alleluia canon — G.P. Telemann

Hallelujah from Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen BWV 51 — J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

Hallelujah from Lobe den Herrn meine Seele BWV 143 — J.S. Bach

Hallelujah from Lobet den Herrn BWV 230 — J.S. Bach

Alleluia from Exsultate jubilate K.165 — W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

Halleluiah — anonymous Russian Orthodox (18th century)

Alleluia canon — Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Alleluia — Randall Thompson (1899-1984)

Alleluia — Ralph Manuel (b.1951)

Alleluia — Lyn Williams (b.1963)

Alleluia — Eric Whitacre (b.1970)

Alleluia — Alejandro D. Consolacion II (b.1980)

CanticaNOVA Publications / PO Box 1388 / Charles Town, WV 25414-7388
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