This chant has been part of Easter services since, apparently, the 7th century.
Terra tremuit (Latin for “The Earth trembled”) is an antiphon included in the Byzantine Roman liturgy for Maundy Thursday (that is, Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, or Thursday of Mysteries) and the Offertory for Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday, in fact, the final Alleluia is added to the antiphon. When sung on Maundy Thursday, it foretells what will happen on Good Friday and Easter, as explained in this post originally published by Tradition In Action.
The chant narrates the earthquake that occurred, according to the Gospels, in the moment Christ died, understanding it as a typological prefiguration of the Final Judgment. Here, we wanted to share the rendition of the Ensemble Organum, directed by Marcel Peres, as it appears in their album Chants de l’ Eglise de Rome des VIIes et VIIIes siecles – Periode Byzantine.