Let Us Who Represent the Cherubim-SATB
By Bortniansky, Dmytro
This is a reverent and solemn setting of the "Cherubikon," the hymn traditionally sung by the choir during the presentation of the gifts. Of Bortniansky's seven settings of this hymn, this is the last and by far the most familiar, especially in the Slavic churches of Eastern Europe. Normally sung without accompaniment, Bortniansky's music is inspiring, prayerful, and worthy of the liturgy.
In the Roman Mass, Let Us Who [mystically] Represent the Cherubim would be appropriate during the preparation of the gifts, as the bread and wine are brought forward in procession. If the priest is willing to sing the two familiar blessing prayers, this octavo provides a setting in tone 6, with responses by the people in the same mode 6. Aftwards, during the washing of hands, the choir may continue with the second section of the hymn, "That we may welcome . . ."
In accord with the nature of the Roman liturgy, this hymn is directed to the Father through the Son, per Christum, not to the Trinity as such. As we pray in all our Eucharistic Prayers, we go to God through Jesus Christ, per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso.
This setting of the text, therefore, is intended for use in the Roman Rite, not in the Byzantine. Since this hymn has the word Alleluia, in the Roman Rite, Let Us Who Represent the Cherubim would not be sung during Lent. In the West, the Alleluia is not used during this time, as an acclamation or in hymns.
The Greek original of this hymn dates from the sixth century, as a song for a longer procession, from a building outside the church. Only the deacons took part in the procession, and they sang the hymn. (See Robert Taft, S.J., The Great Entrance, pp. 53-118.)
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