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Mulet's "tu Es Petra"


Vox Humana
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It has been pointed out many a time that the title of Mulet's toccata is at variance with the standard liturgical text Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram... [etc.] I have recently heard it suggested that Mulet's version is quoted from the text as it appears over the west door of Sacré-Coeur in Paris: "Tu es petra, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus te". Can anyone confirm or refute this please?

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Maybe, maybe not! The Esquisses Byzantines, from which the toccata comes, were all inspired by Sacré-Coeur. If the church does have an inscription that reads as above, the rock in question may well be Montmartre rather than St Peter!

 

No, you're probably right - but there still ought to be some reason why Mulet chose petra rather than Petrus. I can't see it being a slip; the standard text must have been well enough known to all Catholics.

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Guest Patrick Coleman

There is a place in Augustine where he asserts that Jesus calls Simon Petrus (a nickname - 'Rocky') rather than Petra ('The Rock') because Jesus himself is the rock. I know nothing about Mulet's life but I suppose it is possible that he knew this, as it appears in the standard dogmatic textbooks of the time, and any clergy he worked with are likely to have studied this text.

 

If, on the other hand, it comes from the inscription in Sacre Coeur, then maybe the inscription itself was influenced by this thinking?

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That's really helpful and interesting. The dabate over whether Mulet should have used "Petra" or "Petrus" has been going on in the more musical Anglican churches of Brighton (generally known for being slightly more Roman than the Vatican in ethos) for years.

 

Malcolm Kemp

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It has been pointed out many a time that the title of Mulet's toccata is at variance with the standard liturgical text Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram... [etc.] I have recently heard it suggested that Mulet's version is quoted from the text as it appears over the west door of Sacré-Coeur in Paris: "Tu es petra, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus te". Can anyone confirm or refute this please?

 

 

This is correct - or, at the very least, Felix Aprahamian thought so too when he wrote the notes for my complete Mulet recording in 1988.

The rock referred to is Montmartre.

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'Petra' is simply the version of the Vulgate.

 

But what is even more interesting is the fact that Mulet omitts a part of the original text: Tu es Petrus et super hanc Petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam.

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Are you sure? I am only aware of versions that read "Tu es Petrus".

 

 

Even if Petra may still mean Peter, petra (without the Capital Letter) means rock.

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I was rather hoping the Greek would shed some light on it (if somehow the inscription transliterated the NT Greek), but as you see the formulation of the wordplay is almost identical to the Latin:

 

κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

 

Does the contraction of petros/petra(m) unite the concept of Peter and the Church in an intentionally symbolic way perhaps?

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No, it shouldn't. This isn't about the interpretation. :rolleyes:

 

(Have you ever tried Ardbeg 10 year old? I do recommend it!)

 

 

Thanks for the recommendation, Vox! :)

 

4a.m!! Have you ever tried going to bed? I recommend it! :P:)

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κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

 

Seeing this brings back memories of Thrasymachus, and Aristophanes and Plato set texts at school... :rolleyes:

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Yes, absolutely. The Vetus Latina reads Petrus, the Vulgata Petra.

 

The Vulgate edition I use reads Petrus... Missals used in churches in Mulet's time also printed Petrus.

 

While the edition I use has no critical apparatus, I would be interested to see the evidence for your confident statement to the contrary.

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My old edition of the Vulgate bible (undated, but it was old when I picked it up c.1970) reads Petrus, as does the Vatican's own online Vugate here (Matthew 16:18): http://www.vatican.va/archive/bible/nova_v...aeum_lt.html#16. Our traditional English reading, "Thou art Peter", must also have derived from a version that read "Petrus". That said, I know the Vulgate has not gone unchanged over the centuries.

 

As for the Vetus Latina, didn't that give way to Jerome's Vulgate (except those parts of the bible he didn't deal with) in the fifth century? I might be quite wrong here though.

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My old edition of the Vulgate bible (undated, but it was old when I picked it up c.1970) reads Petrus, as does the Vatican's own online Vugate here (Matthew 16:18): http://www.vatican.va/archive/bible/nova_v...aeum_lt.html#16. Our traditional English reading, "Thou art Peter", must also have derived from a version that read "Petrus". That said, I know the Vulgate has not gone unchanged over the centuries.

 

As for the Vetus Latina, didn't that give way to Jerome's Vulgate (except those parts of the bible he didn't deal with) in the fifth century? I might be quite wrong here though.

 

Be careful: there are different Vulgatas. The one quotet above is the Nova Vulgata, a critical edition made in 1979. The current English edition of the Vulgata dates from 1889.

'Petra' is to be found in mediaeval editions of the Vulgata (8th and 9th Century).

As with many details of the old Vulgata (Hieronymus knew only a little bit Hebrew) 'Petra' could probably be an error.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Be careful: there are different Vulgatas. The one quotet above is the Nova Vulgata, a critical edition made in 1979. The current English edition of the Vulgata dates from 1889.

'Petra' is to be found in mediaeval editions of the Vulgata (8th and 9th Century).

As with many details of the old Vulgata (Hieronymus knew only a little bit Hebrew) 'Petra' could probably be an error.

 

I use the 1959 Spanish edition. The Nova Vulgata is, for the record, a completely new translation produced by Solesmes monks working at S. Girolamo in Rome, and, as you say, achieving publication in 1979.

 

So I suspect Vox is not quoting from the new version, though the Vatican website might be...

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Guest Patrick Coleman

I should have added to the above that Jerome's knowledge of Hebrew is irrelevant when translating Greek texts. :lol:

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I should have added to the above that Jerome's knowledge of Hebrew is irrelevant when translating Greek texts. :lol:

 

He himself called his translation 'iuxta Hebraeos' (from the Hebrew).

According to many historians his prime source was in fact a Hebrew edition in Greek letters (a so called 'hexaplaric Septuaginta').

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Guest Patrick Coleman
He himself called his translation 'iuxta Hebraeos' (from the Hebrew).

According to many historians his prime source was in fact a Hebrew edition in Greek letters (a so called 'hexaplaric Septuaginta').

 

Which applies to the Old, but not the New Testament!

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  • 4 weeks later...
'Petra' is simply the version of the Vulgate.

 

But what is even more interesting is the fact that Mulet omitts a part of the original text: Tu es Petrus et super hanc Petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam.

 

I cannot comment on Petra/Petrus as I never did Latin, but if the title included "et super hanc..." it would make it even longer to print on a recital programme! Another long title is "Carillon sur le theme du carillon des heures a la cathedrale de Soissons" (Durufle, I think).

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