Cantique de Jean Racine (Fauré)

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Cantique de Jean Racine (Op. 11) is a work for mixed chorus and piano or organ by Gabriel Fauré. Written by the nineteen-year-old composer in 1864–5, the piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer de Paris and was first performed the following year on August 4, 1866, with accompaniment of strings and organ. It was first published around 1875 or 1876 (Schoen, Paris, as part of the series Echo des Maîtrises) and appeared in a version for orchestra (possibly by the composer) in 1906. The accompaniment has also been arranged for strings and harp by John Rutter.

The text, "Verbe égal au Très-Haut", is a paraphrase by Jean Racine (Hymnes traduites du Bréviaire romain, 1688) of the pseudo-ambrosian hymn for Tuesday matins, Consors paterni luminis.

Performed by Les Petits Chanteurs de Passy directed by Astrid Delaunay

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Verbe égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,
Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux,
De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence:
Divin sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux.

Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante;
Que tout l'enfer fuie au son de ta voix;
Dissipe le sommeil d'une âme languissante
Qui la conduit à l'oubli de tes lois!

Ô Christ ! sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle,
Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé;
Reçois les chants qu'il offre à ta gloire immortelle,
Et de tes dons qu'il retourne comblé.

The original Latin text:[1]

Consors paterni luminis,
Lux ipse lucis et dies,
Noctem canendo rumpimus:
Assiste postulantibus.

Aufer tenebras mentium,
Fuga catervas dæmonum,
Expelle somnolentiam
Ne pigritantes obruat.

Sic, Christe, nobis omnibus
Indulgeas credentibus,
Ut prosit exorantibus
Quod præcinentes psallimus.

Sit, Christe, rex piissime,
Tibi Patrique gloria
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
In sempiterna sæcula.

The last verse (or doxology) has a variant:

Praesta, Pater Piissime,
Patrique, compar Unice,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
Regnans per omne saeculum.

English translation:

Word of God, one with the Most High,
in Whom alone we have our hope,
Eternal Day of heaven and earth,
We break the silence of the peaceful night;
Saviour Divine, cast your eyes upon us!

Pour on us the fire of your powerful grace,
That all hell may flee at the sound of your voice;
Banish the slumber of a weary soul,
That brings forgetfulness of your laws!

O Christ, look with favour upon your faithful people
Now gathered here to praise you;
Receive their hymns offered to your immortal glory;
May they go forth filled with your gifts.


  1. ^ Breviarum romanum ex decreto sacrosancti Concilii tridentini restitutum Summorum Pontificorum cura recognitum, 1961

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