From our hearts we sinners

This is an example of a “hyperbolic” hymn: one that somewhat exaggerates our dependence on the Mother of God (“if you do not hear us, we will be alone here… evil will consume us”); surely we always have Christ also! But of course, the glory and importance of the Mother of God rests precisely in that she brought Christ into the world, and brings us to him.

Here is the version in the Marian Hymnal (1984). wth some slight editing to the notation and rhythm (see below):

Boh predvicnyj

And here is the Slavonic.

This is another case where the title it important (at least in Slavonic). There are two different Marian hymns beginning with the words, Prosime t’a D’ivo:

  • Prosime t’a D’ivo, hrišňiji userdno – From our hearts we sinners (this hymn)
  • Prosime t’a D’ivo, šlem do tebe hlas – Virgin, we beseech you

In general, we will endeavor to provide enough words of each hymn title (usually the entire first line) to make it clear which hymn we are presenting, both in English and Slavonic.


The text

I hear one bad accent (verse 4, “Pure one, grant our request”), but coming late in the hymn, I am not sure it is worth any struggle to change well-known lyrics that are otherwise sensible.

The rhythm

The music is another matter. As written in the Marian Hymnal, each measure has 5 beats, but as sung a one-beat rest is usually added. Speaking for myself, I usually “hear” each written 6/4 measure as two measures in 6/8.

The problem comes in the refrain, with “We ask with fervent tears”, which changes the rhythm markedly. Some cantors shorten the end of the previous measure and since “we” as a pickup, with the beat on “ask”; this usually results in a free and uneven rhythm for that entire phrase before returning to the steady beat at “Mary, hear our prayer.” My proposal (above) is to consider “We ask with fervent tears” as a brief switch to duple beat, with fairly strong accents on each word except “with”. Does this work?

A side-note: When music is written in time signatures like 6/8, it is customary to split dotted notes in a way that respects the time division. That is why the Marian Hymnal uses notation like this:

But it is my experience that this causes more trouble for cantors (and others) reading the music than it is worth, and in the MCI setting I have just used dotted quarter notes.

Thoughts or suggestions?

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