Sub Altare Dei Sedes

Composer: Henrique Coe
Year of composition: 2017

Video: Télévision Sel et Lumière
[Audio edited]

Conductor: Louis Lavigueur
Choir: Chœur Polyphonique de Montréal
Vocal quartet: Marie Magistry (soprano), Josée Lalonde (alto), Andrew Gray (tenor), and Martin Auclair (bass)
Trumpets: Victor Wong Seen-Bage and Nicolas Gagnon
Organ: Hélène Dugal
Music coordinator: Alain Duguay

Sub Altare Dei Sedes + Psalm 14 (for choir, vocal quartet, organ and 2 trumpets)
-> This piece is sung during the Deposition of the Relics.
-> Form: Intro + Ant. + Ps. part 1 + Ant. + Ps. part 2 + Ant. + Ps. part 3 + Ant. + coda.
-> All the 4 statements of the antiphon have the same text, but the 2 statements in the middle are shorter in length.
-> Duration: 6’30” (full version) / 5’30” (full version without introduction) / 1’10” (short version – only antiphon and coda).


Sub altáre Dei sedes accepístis, Sancti Dei: intercédite pro nobis ad Dóminum Iesum Christum.

– Dómine, quis habitábit in tabernáculo tuo? quis requiéscet in monte sancto tuo?

(Antiphona: Sub altáre Dei sedes…)

– Qui ingréditur sine mácula, et operátur iustítiam, qui lóquitur veritátem in corde suo,
– qui non egit dolum in lingua sua, nec fecit próximo suo malum,
et oppróbrium íntulit próximo suo.

(Antiphona: Sub altáre Dei sedes…)

– Ad níhilum reputátus est in conspéctu eius malígnus, timéntes autem Dóminum gloríficat. Qui iurat in detriméntum suum et non mutat,
– qui pecúniam suam non dedit ad usúram, et múnera super innocéntem non accépit. Qui facit hæc, non movébitur in ætérnum.

(Antiphona: Sub altáre Dei sedes…)

Under the altar of God, O Saints of God, you have received your habitation; intercede for us before the Lord Jesus Christ.

– Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest in thy holy hill?

(Antiphona: Sub altáre Dei sedes…)

– He that walketh without blemish, and worketh justice: He that speaketh truth in his heart,
– who hath not used deceit in his tongue: Nor hath done evil to his neighbour: nor taken up a reproach against his neighbours.

(Antiphona: Sub altáre Dei sedes…)

– In his sight the malignant is brought to nothing: but he glorifieth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his neighbour, and deceiveth not;
– he that hath not put out his money to usury, nor taken bribes against the innocent: He that doth these things shall not be moved for ever.

(Antiphona: Sub altáre Dei sedes…)

The Dedication of the Basilique Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde et Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur in Montreal was a historical event in Canada. After 147 years of the beginning of constructions (1870) and 123 years of its inauguration (1894), the Montreal Cathedral was consecrated on October 13, 2017, date of the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima. The year of 2017 is also the 375th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Montreal, which was originally named Ville-Marie. The Montreal Cathedral is a 1/4-size replica of the St. Peter Basilica in the Vatican.

Why did it take so long to dedicate a so important Cathedral?
One of the possible explanations is that the original project has never been completely done, notwithstanding the outstanding beauty of the Cathedral. Previously, it has been put under the patronage of St Jacques and later on under the patronage of Mary, Queen of the World, but the rite of Dedication itself had not taken place. After 123 years, it was decided that the works should be considered complete and the Cathedral dedicated.

For the Dedication, I wrote three pieces: Sub Altare Dei SedesStetit Angelus, and Locus Iste. The first two are antiphons and were taken from the 1977 Pontificale Romanum. The latter was sung as a motet and was taken from the 1974 Graduale and from the 1961 Liber Usualis.

For the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, Sub Altare Dei Sedes is sung with Psalm 14 and Setit Angelus with Psalm 137. For the Extraordinary Form, only the antiphons are sung (short version). The Locus Iste is not followed by a psalm, but it also has a full and a short versions. Both versions  may be sung as a motet, but if sung as a Gradual, the full version of the Locus Iste should be used.

For further research: it is not clear if the Gloria Patri should be sung or omitted before the last repetition of the antiphon within “Sub Altare Dei Sedes + Psalm 14” and within “Stetit Angelus + Psalm 137”, especially when comparing the 1977 Pontificale Romanum in Latin with the Pontificale Romanum in French. In the Dedication of the Montreal Cathedral, the Gloria Patri was omitted in both cases.


SHORT VERSION (for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite)

Concert: October 17, 2017
Walter Hall (Faculty of Music of the University of Toronto)
[Audio/video edited]

– Sopranos: Sierra Ward-Bond and Alexandra Carroll
– Alto/countertenor: Alexandra Hetherington and Ian Sabourin
– Tenors: Arieh Sacke and Kevin Mulligan
– Baritones: Kai Leung and Victor Cheng
Organ: Samuel Tam
Conductor: Henrique Coe