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Musical Musings: Liturgy

Tools at the Ready

by Gary D. Penkala

Graduale 1926 It is good to know that the weekly articles we feature on this site are read, and read thoughtfully. They occasionally generate responses, but none so abundantly as did the article, What Have We Done?, wherein I bemoaned the lack of resources available to those who wish to follow the directives of the GIRM regarding sung Propers. I have since collected several suggestions from readers, and together with some tools reaped from a recent chant workshop, I present this "sequel" — Latin volumes first, followed by English.

  • Liber gradualis – This volume was published by J. Fischer & Brother in 1943. Its biggest benefit (for beginning users of chant) is the use of modern notation rather than Gregorian neums. The small book contains the Propers of the Mass for Sundays and Feasts (1st & 2nd Class), in Latin, and is, in effect, an old, pre-Vatican II version of the current Graduale Romanum, without the Kyriale (the Mass Ordinaries). Unfortunately, the Liber gradualis is no longer in print, as far as I know (readers – please correct me if I'm wrong), but copies may still be found secreted away in old bookshelves or in that online "dusty cabinet" known as eBay, or here. Note that these Propers correspond to the pre-Vatican II calendar, so the book's usefulness is only in the celebration that overlap, although this is considerable.
  • The Propers of the Mass – This collection (in two volumes) by Dr. A. Edmonds Tozer was published in starting in 1934 by J. Fischer & Brother. Rather than using the ancient chants, Dr. Tozer sets the Latin-texted Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion antiphons in original 4-part harmony, to either be sung in unison with organ, or by an SATB choir. The psalm verse and Gloria Patri of the Introit are consistantly set to a psalm tone; the other music is original. If a search of the closets in the choir loft prove fruitless, I've found copies of these available from online used book sellers.
  • The Simple Gradual for Sundays & Holy Days – Published in Great Britain in 1969 by Geoffrey Chapman Ltd, this English-texted book is like an early version of By Flowing Waters. While this latter book by Dr. Paul Ford sets the melodies of the Graduale simplex to English words, the British volume by John Ainslie gives an accompanied unison antiphon with psalm tone verses for the Entrance Song, the Responsorial Psalm, the Alleluia Psalm, the Offertory Song and the Communion Song. Each Sunday of the year is not present, but (like the Graduale simplex) this has a few composite Masses for each season, from which one may choose a Mass Proper to sing on any particular Sunday. For example, the Entrance Songs for the two Masses of Advent roughly correspond to the Introits for 1 Advent and 4 Advent:
    1. To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul: come and rescue me, Lord; I trust in you.
    2. Let the clouds rain down the just one; and the earth bring forth a Saviour.
    I'm not at all sure of the status of this book. The company name Geoffrey Chapman Ltd can still be found on the web (with rather old publication dates), but no current data or website was uncovered.
  • The Anglican Use Gradual – This amazing resource can be found at Project Canterbury. C. David Burt has set an English translation of the Propers (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion) to the traditional Gregorian melodies, using neums. Often, a simplified version is also given, generally using a psalm tone. The "audience" for this project is the various Anglican Use parishes in the United States. These are fully Roman Catholic parishes, many who have come into the Church en masse from the Episcopal Church, who use a liturgy similar to the Anglican Rite, sanctioned by indult from the Holy See.

    From the Preface by C. David Burt:
    Since the reform of the Latin Rite in the 1960s the use of a three-year cycle for the Eucharistic Lectionary has necessitated a reorganization of the minor propers of the Mass. The Graduale Romanum published by Solesmes in 1979 has provided the Latin chant for the Mass, but there has existed no English version.

    The great work of the Rev. G.H. Palmer and Francis Burgess, early in the last century, to provide plainchant settings for the music of the liturgy, endowed the English-speaking world with a rich corpus of chant. It is to be lamented that the Catholic Church did not draw on this heritage when the Mass began to be celebrated in the vernacular. The insistence on "modernized" English made this impossible. At the same time, the Anglican Communion was engaged in its own liturgical upheaval, and in America the traditional Book of Common Prayer was replaced by a liturgy using more modern English. The Coverdale Psalter of the Prayerbook was replaced with a modern English Psalter.

    This has all led to the desuetude of The Plainchant Gradual of Palmer and Burgess and The English Gradual of Francis Burgess. Nevertheless, the Pastoral Provision for Anglicans in the Roman Catholic Church and the many traditionalist churches that use the Anglican liturgy have re-awakened the need for a revision of the Gradual in English.

    The present work [The Anglican Use Gradual] follows the structures of the Graduale Romanum and draws upon the musicological work of the Dr. Palmer and Francis Burgess. This first edition gives the simpler chants in order to place a usable book in the hands of church musicians as quickly as possible. A subsequent edition will have settings using some of the ancient melodies adapted by Palmer. It is hoped that this work will prove useful to Anglicans and Catholics as well.
    The Anglican Use Gradual is efficiently available as PDF downloads at present. There are also plans to publish this as a print volume.
There are various other volumes of the Propers published between 1965 and 1970, including a set by the Rev. Lawrence Heiman, C.Pp.S, but information on these is very sketchy.

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Part 2: Modern Volumes

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