Musicus Online Museum
Alleluia: Ostende nobis minor
Typically in the mass, the Alleluia chant is followed by the sequence, which leads into the Gospel reading, a point of great solemnity in the ritual. Written by the dean of the cathedral of Laon, a twelfth-century ordinal (a book of instructions for the mass) provides a detailed description of the ritual actions leading up to the reading of the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent. Two deacons sing the Alleluia chant and its verse “Ostende nobis.” The cantor responds with the Alleluia (again) with an “ensuing wordless melody.” The “wordless” singing of this soloist may have given a special quality of solemnity at this high point in the mass.
The recorded extract presents the kind of melodic material that the cantor at Laon cathedral might have sung in his response to the Alleluia.
For two more untexted sequence melodies sung in Northern France at this period, see Letatus sum and unus amor. For a texted version of the Ostende nobis melody from the German lands, see Grates nunc omnes.