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The righteous perishes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tenor voice part of Jacob Handl's Ecce quomodo moritur iustus: over a century after its publication "for use in the Catholic Church" ("Catholicae Ecclesiae vsv") it was a well-known Protestant funeral motet.
Tenor voice part of Jacob Handl's Ecce quomodo moritur iustus: over a century after its publication "for use in the Catholic Church" ("Catholicae Ecclesiae vsv") it was a well-known Protestant funeral motet.

The righteous perishes are the words with which the 57th chapter of the Book of Isaiah starts.[1] In Christianity, Isaiah 57:1–2 is associated with the death of Christ, leading to liturgical use of the text at Tenebrae: the 24th responsory for Holy Week, "Ecce quomodo moritur justus" (See how the just dies), is based on this text. More generally, the text is associated with the death of loved ones and is used at burials. As such, and in other versions and translations, the Bible excerpt has been set to music.

Responsory "Ecce quomodo moritur justus"

"Ecce quomodo moritur justus", in the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church the 24th of 27 Tenebrae responsories, or the sixth responsory for Holy Saturday, is based on Isaiah 57:1–2. In the Tenebrae service of the Holy Week this responsory is preceded by a reading taken from Saint Augustine's Commentary on Psalm 64 (63) § 13, interpreting Psalms 64:8 (Vulgate Ps. 63:9 – "Their own tongues shall ruin them") in the light of Matthew 28:12–13 (the soldiers at Jesus' grave bribed to lie about the whereabouts of the corpse).[2][3][4] The Versus of the responsory derives from Isaiah 53:7–8.

Vulgate[5] Responsory[3] Translation[2]

From Isaias 57:1–2:
  iustus perit
  et nemo est qui recogitet in corde suo
  et viri misericordiae colliguntur
  quia non est qui intellegat
  a facie enim malitiae collectus est iustus
  veniat pax requiescat in cubili suo
  qui ambulavit in directione sua.
From Isaias 53:7–8:
  quasi agnus coram tondente obmutescet
  et non aperiet os suum
  de angustia et de iudicio sublatus est

  Ecce quomodo moritur justus
  et nemo percipit corde:
  et viri justi tolluntur
  et nemo considerat.
  A facie iniquitatis sublatus est justus
  et erit in pace memoria eius.
  Tamquam agnus coram tondente se obmutuit
  et non aperuit os suum
  de angustia et de judicio sublatus est.

  Behold how the just man dies,
  and nobody takes it to heart;
  and just men are taken away,
  and nobody considers it.
  The just man is taken away from the face of iniquity,
  and his memory shall be in peace.
  He was dumb as a lamb before his shearer,
  and opened not his mouth;
  he was taken away from distress, and from judgment.

Settings of the responsory are included in Tomás Luis de Victoria's Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae,[6] Carlo Gesualdo's Responsoria et alia ad Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae spectantia,[7] Jan Dismas Zelenka's Responsoria pro hebdomada sancta (ZWV 55)[8] and Franz Liszt's Responsorien und Antiphonen (S.30).[9]

A 16th century motet by Marc'Antonio Ingegneri on the Latin text was published around 1967 in an arrangement by Maynard Klein and with "Behold how the righteous perish" as English translation.[10] Palestrina set the responsory for two sopranos, alto and choir.[11]

Jacob Handl (Jacobus Gallus) published his setting of Ecce quomodo moritur justus as No. VIII under the heading "De Passione Domini Nostri Iesv Christi" (On the Passion of Jesus Christ our Lord) in his Opus Musicum II.[12][13] The subtitle of the 1587 publication reads "Qvae Ex Sancto Catholicae Ecclesiae Vsv Ita Svnt Dispositae, vt omni tempore inseruire queant" (Which are herewith offered for use in the Catholic Church, in such fashion that they can be adopted throughout the liturgical year).[12] The Versus in Handl's setting is different from the Versus of the 24th Tenebrae responsory.[14]

Versus (Handl's setting) Translation

II. Pars.
  In pace factus est locus ejus
  et in Sion habitatio ejus.

Part II
  His place is made in peace,
  he resides in Sion.

As in 17th century France the Tenebrae services, including the Répons de ténèbres, were held at the vespers of the preceding evening, for example Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Ecce quomodo, H 131 is part of his Répons de ténèbres du Vendredi saint (Tenebrae responsories of Good Friday).[15]

In the 18th century Georg Reutter produced a SATB setting of the responsory for the ceremonies of the Holy Week in the Wiener Hofburgkapelle (Vienna court chapel).[16] Another SATB setting was composed by Franz Joseph Aumann, to which an accompaniment by three trombones was added by Bruckner in 1879.[17]

In the 20th century Francis Poulenc included "Ecce quomodo moritur justus" as the last in his Sept répons des ténèbres, FP 181, composed 1961.[citation needed]

The Episcopal Church provides a single Tenebrae service on Wednesday evening, the day before Maundy Thursday. That service reduces the total number of Tenebrae lessons, each followed by a responsory, to nine. Ecce quomodo moritur is the sixth responsory, and it follows after a reading from Augustine's commentary on Psalm 55 (54).[18]

In Lutheranism

Isaiah 57:1–2 was a theme for funeral sermons of the Reformation, among others at a funeral service for Martin Luther in Eisleben.[19][20] It also, along with Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 63: 1-3, was used in the context of the Passion story.

Handl's Ecce quomodo moritur justus

Jacob Handl's Ecce quomodo moritur justus motet was sung at Protestant burials in the 16th century.[21] In 1682, Gottfried Vopelius published Handl's motet with a singable German translation ("Siehe, wie dahin stirbt der Gerechte") on p. 263 of the Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch, for performance on Good Friday.[21][22] Handl's motet was performed on Good Friday in Protestant churches in Wrocław[21] and Leipzig.[23] The music of Handl's setting, by that time perceived as a Protestant funeral motet,[24] is quoted in George Frideric Handel's Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline, HWV 264.[25]

Der Gerechte kömmt um

Der Gerechte kömmt um, a chorus appearing in a pasticcio Passion oratorio from the early 1750s, has a German version of Isaiah 57:1–2 as text.[26] It is an arrangement attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach of a SSATB setting of Tristis est anima mea, a motet attributed to Johann Kuhnau.[27] The arrangement may have been a stand-alone funeral motet.[28]

Luther Bible (1704)[29] Motet text[30] Translation[31]

(Aber) der Gerechte kömmt um
und niemand ist
der es zu Hertzen nehme
und heilige Leute werden auffgerafft
und niemand achtet darauff.
Denn die Gerechten werden weggerafft
für dem Unglück.
Und die richtig für sich gewandelt haben
kommen zum Friede
und ruhen in ihren Kammern.

Der Gerechte kömmt um,
und niemand ist
der es zu Herzen nehme,
und heilige Leute werden aufgerafft,
und niemand achtet drauf.
Denn die Gerechten werden weggerafft
vor dem Unglück;
und die richtig vor sich gewandelt haben
kommen zum Frieden
und ruhen in ihren Kammern.

The righteous perishes,
and no man
lays it to heart;
and merciful men are taken away,
none considering
that the righteous is taken away
from the evil to come;
And those who walk in their uprightness
enter into peace
and rest in their beds.


  1. ^ Isaiah 57:1–2 in WEB
  2. ^ a b Catholic Church 1875, pp. 400–401
  3. ^ a b Guéranger 1870, pp. 533–534
  4. ^ Augustine
  5. ^ Isaias 53:7–8 and 57:1–2 in Vulgate
  6. ^ Victoria 1585
  7. ^ Gesualdo 1611
  8. ^ Zelenka
  9. ^ Liszt
  10. ^ Klein
  11. ^ Palestrina
  12. ^ a b Gallus 1587
  13. ^ Gleason et al. 1988
  14. ^ Handl
  15. ^ BnF
  16. ^ Kainhofer 2009, p. 3
  17. ^ Harten 1996, p. 69
  18. ^ Church Publishing 2004, pp. 74–83
  19. ^ McKee 1999, p. 127
  20. ^ Walther 2008, p. 161
  21. ^ a b c Jeż 2007, p. 40
  22. ^ Gottfried Vopelius (editor). Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch. Leipzig: Christoph Klinger, 1682, pp. 263–267.
  23. ^ CPDL
  24. ^ Unger 2010, p. 175
  25. ^ Bartlett 2008, p. IV
  26. ^ Melamed 1995 pp. 148–149
  27. ^ Bach Digital
  28. ^ Morton 1992
  29. ^ Jesaja 57:1–2 in Luther Bible (1704)
  30. ^ Kantorei-noten
  31. ^ based on Isaiah 57:1–2 in WEB


Bible quotes


External links

This page was last edited on 3 October 2020, at 17:47
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