Alma Redemptoris

Alma redemptoris mater, quae pervia coeli

Author: Contractus Hermannus
Tune: [Alma Redemptoris]
Published in 8 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF
Audio files: Recording

Representative Text

Alma Redemptoris
Redemptoris mater quae pervia coeli
Porta porta manes, et Stella maris
Stella maris succure cadenti

Surgere qui curat populo tu quae genuisti
Natura mirante
Natura mirante tuum sanctum genitorem
tuum sanctum genitorem
tuum sanctum genitorem genitorem

Virgo prius ac posterius
Virgo prius ac posterius
Gabirelis Gabrielis
Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud illud Ave
Sumens illud illud Ave pecatorum
miserer peccato
rum miserere peccato
rum miserere

Source: A Compilation of the Litanies and Vespers Hymns and Anthems as they are sung in the Catholic Church adapted to the voice or organ #40

Author: Contractus Hermannus

Hermannus Contractus (also known as Herimanus Augiensis or Hermann von Reichenau) was the son of Count Wolverad II von Altshausen. He was born 18 February, 1013 at Altshausen (Swabia). He was a cripple at birth, but intellectually gifted. Therefore his parents sent him to be taught by Abbot Berno on the island of Reichenau. He took his monastic vows here and died on Reichenau 21 September, 1054. He was a mathematician, astronomer, musician, chronicler, and poet, among other things. He is frequently credited as the author of "Alma Redemptoris Mater" and "Salve Regina" Dianne Shapiro, from Schlager, P. (1910). Hermann Contractus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved October 13, 2014 from New Advent: ht… Go to person page >


Alma Redemptoris Mater quae pervia coeli. [Blessed Virgin Mary.] One of four Antiphons to the B. V. M. used at the termination of the Offices, the remaining three being the Ave Regina, the Regina coeli, and the Salve Regina. It is ascribed to Hermannus Contractus, who died 1054. In Daniel, ii. p. 318, the text is given in full, together with a note setting forth its use, with readings from a Munich manuscript probably of the 13th century. Concerning its use we may add from Daniel and other authorities:—

That it is appointed to be said at the end of Compline from the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent to the 2nd of February, inclusively, and that in the old Franciscan Breviary, dated 1497, it is to be sung till Quinquagesima Sunday. In the Breviaries of Rome, Paris, Lyons, &c, it is to be said at the end of Compline from the 1st Vespers of the 1st Sunday in Advent to the Feast of the Purification, inclusively; also after Lauds during this time, if the choir where the office is recited be left; if Prime, or other Hours, shall be said immediately after Lauds, then this Antiphon should be used at the end, once for all. Should the Feast of the Purification be transferred, on account of some privileged day (as Septuagesima Sunday) falling on the same time, yet the Alma Redemptoris Mater is not to be continued beyond Feb. 2, according to decrees of the Roman Congregation of Rites, 1681,1693,1705.

How well this Antiphon was known in England in the Middle Ages we may judge from the use which Chaucer made of it in his Prioress's Tale, where the whole story is associated therewith. The Poet then explains the way in which the child mastered the Antiphon, together with the music to which it was set; and describes his singing it in the public streets, his murder by the Jews for so doing, and the subsequent results.

Translation in common use:—
Mother of Christ, hear thou thy people's cry. By E. Caswall, first published in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 38, and in his Hymns & Poems, 1873, p. 22. Its use is confined to the Roman Catholic collections for schools and missions.

Translations not in common use:—
1. Kindly Mother of the Redeemer. Card. Newman, Tracts for the Times, No. 75,1836.
2. Sweet Mother of our Saviour blest. J. Wallace, 1874.

-- Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Alma Redemptoris Mater, p. 51, ii. We have found this Antiphon in the following additional manuscripts:— Bibl. Nat. Paris., Lat. 1139 f. 127 b., circa 1199; British Museum. Add. 12194 f. 72, circa 1275 (reference in a Rubric), and Arundel, 157 f. 166b., 13th cent.; and the Bodleian manscript, Bodl., 637 f. 116 b., circa 1350.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)



A Compilation of the Litanies and Vespers Hymns and Anthems as they are sung in the Catholic Church adapted to the voice or organ #40


Instances (1 - 8 of 8)
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American Catholic Hymnal #394

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Hymns, for the Use of the Catholic Church in the United States of America (New ed.) #82

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Peters' Sodality Hymn Book #54

St. Basil's Hymnal ... 10th ed. #d14

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The De La Salle Hymnal #186

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