Use: Lent, Triduum
Required Resources: 3-part choir
Every choir benefits from having a piece that is relatively simple to learn and flexible enough to have multiple uses - especially during the busy time around the Triduum.
This setting by the Rev. David M. Friel, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is one such piece.
The ancient text used for this work, "O Crux, ave! Spes unica! O felix culpa!", comes from the sixth stanza of the Passiontide hymn, Vexilla Regis prodeunt and from the Exsultet.
It translates "Hail, O Cross, our only hope! O happy fault [of Adam that earned so great and glorious a Redeemer]."
Written for three-part choir, this a cappella motet can be sung by equal voices (women or men) or by a mixed group (SAB).
Its 23 measures can make a brief antiphon for use at any point from the Fifth Sunday of Lent [formerly, Passion Sunday] through Good Friday.
It can be extended further by singing any or all of the optional chant verses.
The text of the five verses comes from Vexilla Regis prodeunt [stanzas 1-5], chanted to Gregorian psalm tone 4A.
In this format the brief anthem becomes an effective accompaniment to the Adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday.