Sunday 27 September 2009

Chironomy: conducting Gregorian Chant

"Chironomy, like all conducting, is nothing more or less than the visual, the manual reproduction of the essential skeleton of the music, with the purpose of inducing the singers to execute it according to the
ideas the conductor wishes to express."
Read this to learn how to go about conducting your schola:

Jeffrey Tucker of the New Liturgical Movement says it: "has written the best, perhaps even the only, complete tutorial in conducting chant according to the Solesmes method, which is known as chironomy. This guide was first published in 1955 by the Gregorian Institute of America, and is republished in 2009 by the Church Music Association of America. It is no substitute for a live lesson but it is the best tutorial in print."

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Holy Communion on the tongue whilst kneeling: mandatory

At least that's now the case in the Cathedral of Lima, Peru.

To receive holy communion at the Cathedral-Basilica of Lima, Perú, the faithful must now kneel in addition to receiving only on the tongue. For that purpose, two kneelers are now put before the steps of the high altar at the moment of Communion, just like in Papal Masses.

In his sermon on September 20, 2009 in the Cathedral, Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, made the following statement:

"The most respectful way of receiving the Eucharist is kneeling and on the tongue. We must recover a sense of respect and reverence due to the Eucharist, because the love to Jesus is the center of our Christian lives. Our souls are at stake."

The Archbishop -- who has tried to make Lima a "Eucharistic City" -- also exhorted his flock to adore the Eucharistic Lord in the more than 70 adoration chapels in the city.
Of course, we should remember it's also the universal law throughout the Church already.  It's only indults (exceptions) that permit local bishops to allow faithful to receive any other way. 

The spurious argument that "but just because we receive in the hand and standing doesn't mean we express any lesser respect and reverence to the Eucharist" sort of misses the point: 40 or so years of this practice has played a part in lessening belief in the Real Presence, but not making it abundantly clear to all at all times, what we believe is happening and what the Eucharist really is.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

An Orthodox approach to Liturgy

It’s been said many a time: the Orthodox were less than impressed with the Catholic Church’s liturgical reform as it was implemented after Vatican II. Today’s reflection from Robert Moynihan on ZENIT highlights this yet again.

Commenting on the Holy Father’s meeting with Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev (in anticipation of significant developments in Catholic-Russian Orthodox relations) Moynihan notes:

...On Sept. 18, inside Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer palace about 30 miles outside Rome, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop named Hilarion Alfeyev, 43 (a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy, composer and lover of music), met with Benedict XVI, 82 (also a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy and lover of music), for almost two hours, according to informed sources. (There are as yet no "official" sources about this meeting -- the Holy See has still not released an official communiqué about the meeting.)

...What is occurring in Hilarion's visit to Rome, then, may have ramifications not only for the overcoming of the "Great Schism," but also for the cultural, religious and political future of Russia, and of Europe as a whole.

It is especially significant, in this context, that Hilarion, Kirill's "Foreign Minister," has some of the same deep interests as Benedict XVI: the liturgy, and music.

"As a 15-year-old boy I first entered the sanctuary of the Lord, the Holy of Holies of the Orthodox Church," Hilarion once wrote about the Orthodox liturgy. "But it was only after my entrance into the altar that the 'theourgia,' the mystery, and 'feast of faith' began, which continues to this very day.

"After my ordination, I saw my destiny and main calling in serving the Divine Liturgy. Indeed, everything else, such as sermons, pastoral care and theological scholarship were centered around the main focal point of my life -- the liturgy."


These words seem to echo the feelings and experiences of Benedict XVI, who has written that the liturgies of Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday in Bavaria when he was a child were formative for his entire being, and that his writing on the liturgy (one of his books is entitled "Feast of Faith") is the most important to him of all his scholarly endeavors.

"Orthodox divine services are a priceless treasure that we must carefully guard," Hilarion has written. "I have had the opportunity to be present at both Protestant and Catholic services, which were, with rare exceptions, quite disappointing Since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, services in some Catholic churches have become little different from Protestant ones."

Again, these words of Hilarion seem to echo Benedict XVI's own concerns. The Pope has made it clear that he wishes to reform the Catholic Church's liturgy, and preserve what was contained in the old liturgy and now risks being lost.

Hilarion has cited the Orthodox St. John of Kronstadt approvingly. St. John of Kronstadt wrote: "The Church and its divine services are an embodiment and realization of everything in Christianity... It is the divine wisdom, accessible to simple, loving hearts."

These words echo words written by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, who often said that the liturgy is a "school" for the simple Christian, imparting the deep truths of the faith even to the unlearned through its prayers, gestures and hymns.

Hilarion in recent years has become known for his musical compositions, especially for Christmas and for Good Friday, celebrating the birth and the Passion of Jesus Christ. These works have been performed in Moscow and in the West, in Rome in March 2007 and in Washington DC in December 2007.

Closer relations between Rome and Moscow, then, could have profound implications also for the cultural and liturgical life of the Church in the West. There could be a renewal of Christian art and culture, as well as of faith.

Note Archbishop Hilarion's age: 43.

Monday 21 September 2009

A picture: what do you say?

High Mass in Germany after the war:

Image courtesy: CathCon and St Louis Catholic

Some poignant observations of a "Reform" Carried Out

Some commentators to Jeffrey Tucker's post below give a clear insight into the "reform" as carried out in some parishes.  Here are selected comments below; surely, we saw much of this in Australia too...

I was around during the liturgical upheavel of the 1970's, I remember vividly the first NOvus Ordo Mass on Palm Sunday 1970, and the disapointment of the people, as we had been told that the adjustments to the Old Rite made in the years between 1965 and 1970 would be the final changes, that THIS was the Liturgy that the Council Fathers wanted. THen came the Novus Ordo with the outlawing of Latin, the disapperacne of Chant, the enforced break-up of choirs, vestments, statues, communion rails, altars and of whole sanctuaries. Communion by laypeople, standing, even on the hand, followed. Professional liturgists and singers tried to force us to learn a new liturgy and new songs, but to no avail: catholics remained from then on forever silent. Kumbaya and HOsanna-hey-sanna just could not replace Et cum spiritu tuoa and Tantum Ergo in our hearts and upon our lips. I was 16 when the demise began - at least, when it hit my parish - and have seen thousands upon thousands leave the Church as a result of it. Troughout the world the same story can be told. It was the professionals against the parish preists and the lay faithful then too. Don't beleive the official version of the post-conciliar era. THe victors always write the official history to suit themselves.

Albertus, your account is pretty much as I remember things but the Novus Ordo actually was introduced on the First Sunday of Advent 1969 and not on Palm Sunday.

Many of the things you describe took place before the Novus Ordo came on the scene. From the first changes on the First Sunday of Lent 1965 until the Novus Ordo came there was a period of great disruptiom (to which you allude). The EF, as used in most churches on the Sunday before the Novus Ordo came in was, in fact, barely recognisable.

One major change that came on that same Advent Sunday was the replacement of the provisional english translation by the less accurate and more banal ICEL translation. One week we all said "And with your spirit" while the next week we said, "And also with you."
David M. O'Rourke

Thank you for this excellent article. The myth that you describe well is holding back many priests and parishes from improvements to liturgical music that would greatly help the life of prayer of the people.
Another factor I have found is that the " ching, ching-a-ching" Church music of the seventies is an embarrassment to the young people it is mistakenly intended to attract.
Fr Tim Finigan

I am an old geezerette and I remember when the Mass was changed, the paper missals on the pew, the awful empty feeling in my heart. I was planning to become Catholic but walked away after that. I finally joined the Church about 15 years later and tried to live with the bland liturgy and music.

Now I am thrilled to be able to attend a TLM once in a while, and the parish and choir I belong to now sings some traditional Latin hymns and some chant.

I will be attending the pilgrimage and Gregorian chant workshop in DC. I have no doubt that it will be one of the highlights of my life.

Indeed, the Novus Ordo was supposed to be introduced on the first Sunday of Advent 1969, but the Vatican allowed Ordinaries to delay this introduction until as late as Palm Sunday 1970, which was the case in my diocese. Before that date, Our parish ahd introduced only the strictly necesary minimum of mandated adjustments to the Old Rite. I remember Palm Sunday explicitly, because, for the first time something else was sung instead of Pueri Hebraeorum during the Palm procession: it was Hey sanna ho sanna (or something like that) our of Jesus Christ Super Star. I remember the horror and shock as the professional liturgists tried to practise this song with the faithful a half hour before the start of Mass. I remember also, that, perhaps in that same year or a year later, our beloved old augustianian priest, who for years regularly helped to distributed Holy Communion at the Sunday Masses, dressed in soutane, surplice and stola, went to the Tabernacle, but was pushed away by a woman in street clothes: the first lay person whom i ever saw at the High Altar, at the Tabernacle. She helped the pastor distribute Holy Communion whilst the old augustinian priest, humiliated, went back to the sacristy. We never saw him again. THe pastor later took up the strange habit of walking around the church during the homily with a microphone in hand, and of inviting random people to stand or sit around the Altar during the Canon. THe choir was disbanded, as only the faithful were supposed to sing: which meant, only the pair of professional liturgists with guitars and Jesus Christ superstar repertoire. THis was the most traumatic year of my life.

TO escape the Novus Ordo i entered the next year a traditional seminary where the Old Rite, with altar, communion rail, and chant, was still intact. I have schewed the New Rite ever since.

As for the eastern rites, most of them have a liturgical language too! old Church Slavonic, Byzantine Greek, Gheez, Coptic, Syriac. etcetera are not immediately understandable by the Russian, Greek, Ethipian, Egyptian and Arab faithful.

Excellent post. Thank you. This reminds me of something.

I'll never forget the time I attended (on behalf of a Catholic organization I worked for) a Catholic conference on preaching back around 2002. The organizers had arranged for a professional Catholic musician to give a talk and to provide entertainment before one of the evening banquet meals. She held (as far as I know, still does) an influential position at one of the big Catholic music publishers.

A colleague and I were astonished when, as pre-dinner entertainment, this woman (probably in her late 50's or so) sat at a piano and proceeded to play for the attendees brief snippets of older, more traditional English hymns (some of which are among my personal favorites). But why did she play them--to render a respectful nod to them? Absolutely not. She was outright mocking them. I wish I were kidding. She actually played bars from (e.g. "Faith of Our Fathers" I think was among them) wonderful old hymns and literally laughed at them. She was doing what she thought was comedy! The mere sound of the old hymns was, for her, a source of immediate and spontaneous laughter. She would say, "Remember this one?" play few bars, and giggle knowingly. The organizers were mostly clerics in their 60' or older. The audience was expected to laugh right along with her, as they took this stroll down memory lane from their childhoods. The mood was one of, "Gee, aren't we glad we can look back at those overly-naive, unenlightened days when we actually took such music seriously? We were kids--we didn't know better. Now, we have music of the people. Now, we can remember and laugh at those stodgy bygone days."

My heart absolutely sank as I realized this highly-placed member of the Catholic music publishing business was actually publicly mocking beloved old hymns that are actually singable and theologically robust. And my personal experience is that these hymns are making a come back, and that generally speaking, people sing them with more gusto and relish than the folk and pop-influenced drivel coming out of the 70's and 80's that her publishing business crams into their publications. It was an experience I won't forget. I felt like I was among a group of people who were completely clueless about the authentic, popular attractiveness of more traditional musical forms. It was a group hermetically sealed-off from the opinions and attitudes of anyone who doesn't think like them. [And in light of my comments, I want to acknowledge that although I enjoy the older hymns, I completely agree that chant and chant-inspired music is the best musical form for the liturgy.]

Switching gears, I would like to comment that I seriously question whether the take-over of the Catholic music publishing business in the late 60's and 70's by the folk/guitar/tambourine crowd was truly a reflection of the preferences of a majority of Catholics at the time. [And I would like to say I don't have anything against good folk music; but I don't want it at Mass. Besides, that stuff is not good folk music anyway.]

I suspect that only a minority of Catholics truly preferred this contemporary folksy style of hymn music. But, those caught up in the juvenile, hippie spirit of the times gained control of the professional liturgical music industry and proceeded to force their musical tastes upon everyone in the name of "the people."
Scott Johnston

Scott, you might be right that she was playing to an audience that shared her views, but lots of these performers do this in order to instruct people of the proper attitude to have toward the past. I've seen this with theology lectures when a person will mock confession behind a screen or the rosary or whatever. It's a way of broadcasting the "correct" disdain that one is supposed to have in order to be part of the in group.
jeffrey tucker

A modern-day myth: Liturgical Music and the Elites vs the People

Jeffrey Tucker of the New Liturgical Movement has another one of his excellent insight pieces that are well worth a read: about the myth and the reality of Liturgical Music - the "people vs elites" mentality and explaining how we have got to where most of us are in parish life.  Some extracts:

The most exciting, vibrant, and young movement in Catholic Church music today involves the revival of Gregorian chant, and also the old and new music that flows from its stylistic sensibility and texts. Workshops around the country are growing larger. Sales of chant books are booming, to the point that distributors can hardly keep them in stock. Membership in chant-support organizations is growing. Discover this energy is as easy as typing a few search terms.

I'll only mention one program taking place in late September at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C...Already one week before, more than 160 people have signed up to attend. This includes mostly young people, but also many middle-aged people seeking to upgrade their skills.

It's all just thrilling, and so much so that there's hardly any time to reflect on the meaning of this shift. However, let us do so now. There are things about this revival and energy that utterly smash the prevailing interpretive paradigm of the modern history of Catholic Church music.

The story goes like this. In preconciliar times, Catholics knelt passively at Mass and didn't sing a note. The celebrant was a disembodied actor who faced the altar and did all the work, speaking in a language that no one knew. To the extent there was music, it was sung by trained professionals who sang from strange books and stuck only to the masters for the rare High Mass. People were complacent and obedient but the entire machinery was stilted and stale and uninspired.

Sounds like the beginning of dystopian novel, doesn't it? Well, that's the conventional view, and I've read it again and again. Only last night I read this tale yet again in a new book on the topic (I'll refrain from mentioning the title pending a full review later.)

Ok, now comes the great tale of the revolution. The sixties were a time of rethinking and heightened consciousness. There were civil-rights struggles, men on the moon, fresh faces in the White House and the Vatican, and a new generation determined to bring life to this static world. They brought their guitars and folk music and the people's language to the cause of Catholic worship. Sure, the professionals didn't like it but to heck with them: the voice of the people rose up in song and wove the glorious ideals of the protest movement into the fabric of Catholic liturgical life...

So I can't really weigh the relationship between fact and fiction in the above scenario. I do know that it is probably impossible to generalize the experience of Catholics at Mass before or after the Council. Then as now, a heterogeneity in quality prevail: some music was probably dreadful and some was great. The scenario as sketched above, however, just seems too clean and neat to me.

But the real danger of accepting this tale at face value is that it makes one completely blind to the reality of the current moment. In fact, if one follows the mainstream music publications or liturgy publications from the old-line publishers out there, one slowly begins to discern the presence of an appalling blindness about today's realities. The Pilgrimage I mention above should be big news. But I can promise you that it will received no attention at all in any of the usual venues. This is not so censorship at work but denial: what is happening today doesn't fit into the easy categories that have become dogma: the professionals vs. the people, static vs. active, silence vs. participation, English vs. Latin.

Those who are now throwing themselves into learning and singing Gregorian chant are overwhelming non-professionals. They are volunteers who are starting scholas in their parishes. They meet and sing on their own time. They earnestly learn to read neumes, pronounce the Latin, and discover the essential musical structure of the Roman Rite in hopes of making a contribution. Most of them are either not paid or are paid very little. They aren't coming to these workshops and programs thanks to anyone's expense account. They are paying their own money for tuition, materials, and hotel. This are doing this because they love it and believe it in.

Who are the professionals and the academically-trained Catholic musicians today? They are heading the well-funded organizations and managing the large publishers. They constitute the establishment that knows hardly anything at all about Gregorian chant. In fact, their livelihoods are financially linked up with the promotion of pop styles and industrial-style delivery systems. Contrast with the unfunded and truly grass-roots efforts of the chant movement around the country.

And are they doing this because they want to make the liturgy more static? It's ridiculous. They are doing it because they would like to see the Roman Rite come back to life with artistic forms that are native to it. Can we state the terribly obvious here? Mass with four song written in 1970s and 1980s is dreadfully boring today. It is energy-draining experience to listen to dreck.

Surely there are very few people in the world who are inspired by the 1,323rd playing of fill-in-the-blank. Singing a Gloria or Sanctus from the ancient books, however, can be an incredibly thrilling and spiritually uplifting experience. Or how about a Gregorian hymn like Ave Maria following communion? Few experiences are as invigorating as that.

And are these people coming to these events in order to get people to shut up and be silent during Mass? So far as I can tell, the impulse is the exact opposite. It is enervating in the extreme to see the absurd scene of praise teams banging and strumming away while people sit in pews with long faces and periodically look at their watches. This goes on in parishes all over the country every week. Compare to the truly meaningful experience of a gathered people who have actually work time and work into learning a great piece of chant that they sing together every week.

Finally, it very well may be true that the Latin vs. English issue was a rallying point back in the 60s but today there are many editions of chant in English that are readily accessible and free for the download. They are best rendered in light actual knowledge of the Gregorian tradition. I don't see praise bands dipping into this repertoire. Nor is it necessary to learn to give a speech like Cicero in order to understand and sing the basic chants of the Mass, which the Church has repeatedly said should be known by every Catholic in the pew. I'm sorry but the campaign against Latin increasingly looks not only anti-intellectual but even anti-Catholic.

It would be nice to see some acknowledgment in old-line publications and venues of the truth of what is actually happening at the grass roots. But so long as the old intellectual paradigms remain, they can't see that the ground is shifting beneath their feet. It very well maybe true that today there is a tension between the people and the trained elites but the what each side is seeking is the reverse of the tale we've heard a thousand times.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Liturgical Music: Turning the clock back...with guitars and popular songs...

From an interview with Ennio Morricone: Ennio Morricone: Faith Always Present In My Music

Composer Talks About the Spirituality Behind His Work

By Edward Pentin

ROME, SEPT. 10, 2009 ( You may not recognize his name, but you will almost certainly be familiar with his music.

Maestro Ennio Morricone is widely regarded as one of Hollywood's finest film score composers. Best known for the memorable and moody soundtracks to the "Spaghetti Westerns" of the 1960s, such as "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "A Fistful of Dollars," and "Once Upon a Time in the West," to many Catholics he is perhaps best loved for his moving score in "The Mission," a 1986 film about Jesuit missionaries in 18th-century South America.

But his contribution to the movie industry extends far beyond his most famous works, having scored around 450 films and worked with Hollywood’s leading directors, from Sergio Leone and Bernardo Bertolucci to Brian De Palma and Roman Polanski...

We turn to the subject of another keen musician: Pope Benedict XVI. Morricone says he has a "very good opinion" of the Holy Father. "He seems to me to be a very high minded Pope, a man of great culture and also great strength," he says. He is particularly complimentary about Benedict XVI's efforts to reform the liturgy -- a subject about which Morricone feels very strongly.

"Today the Church has made a big mistake, turning the clock back 500 years with guitars and popular songs," he argues. "I don't like it at all. Gregorian Chant is a vital and important tradition of the Church and to waste this by having kids mix religious words with profane, Western songs is hugely grave, hugely grave."

He says it's turning the clock back because the same thing happened before the Council of Trent when singers mixed profanity with sacred music. "He [the Pope] is doing well to correct it," he says. "He should correct it with much more firmness. Some churches have taken heed [of his corrections], but others haven't."

Don't know the first thing about Gregorian Chant? But want to learn?

Well have a look at this Classic text: Goodchild []

As New Liturgical describe it:
It's like the fast track to chant, just a few early chapters on the basics and then you plunge right into the repertory, and all the main settings and hymns are here, one by one, in Solesmes-style notation. It has translations. It even has study questions! Fr. Samuel Weber is the one who told me about this. He remembers it fondly.

I've thought for a long time that a book like this needs to be written. Well, it's already been done. If I were founding a schola today, or teaching middle school kids chant, this is the book I would use. No question

How do we sing Gregorian Chant in English at Mass? Like this: the Introit (Entrance Chant). Do it next Sunday...

Our last post outlined the various resources available to re-enchant Holy Mass, by employing the authentic Liturgical music of the Roman Rite.

A particular focus was the Propers in Latin and in English.

Now something that shows us what this can sounds like if done in English.

Obviously, the (Latin) Gregorian Chant from the Graduale Romanum is the standard for us. 

But we all know that sometimes the "situation" regrettably - suggests that Latin is a no go.  So, an alternative needs to be employed if we are to even approach the ideal of the sacred liturgical chant (rather than caving-in to some poor substitute).

So, for those situations...

New Liturgical Movement today highlights another resource (which we will add to our last post) for Gregorian Chant adapted into English from Fr Samuel F Weber OSB.

Fr Weber is of the Institute of Sacred Music in St. Louis (no to be confused with the St Louis Jesuits, please).  The rendention in the video involves the singing of Proper Chants commissione for the 2009 Sacred Music Colloquium in Chicago, USA. 

But whatever chant resource is used, the principle of executing it in English in the Liturgical context is the same.

This video shows you how it’s done.

This is the Introit beginning with a psalm verse from Psalm 26, the Introit Antiphon and the additional psalm verses:

Ps. Unto Thee will I cry O Lord
O my God be not Thou silent to me
Lest if Thou be silent to me
I become like them that go down into the pit.

The Lord is the strength of His people
And the protector of the salvation of His anointed
Save, O Lord, Thy people
And bless Thine inheritance
And rule them forever

As NLM note:

“Here is how it sounds and feels within its liturgical context. Aside from this chant being a clear expression of the principle of a reform or development in continuity, it is worthwhile noting how immediately and effectively it contributes toward setting the proper tone of the liturgy as an act of communal divine worship. It also demonstrates how, as Fr. Weber would say, the chant can sound when it grows out of an English text.

Anyone who is interested may receive these Propers by sending an email to Father Weber at the Institute of Sacred Music within the Archdiocese of Saint Louis: There is no charge for them."

Sunday 6 September 2009

What to sing at Mass? How to re-enchant Holy Mass: a practical Liturgical Music programme - resources and guidance

We know the principles, reasoning, theories and Church teaching on liturgical music and how it should be presented for use in the Ordinary Form of the Mass in continuity with the Church’s Tradition and the wishes of the Second Vatican Council.

Websites like New Liturgical Movement help us a great deal in giving us this information and alerting us to resources. We won’t repeat that here.

But there is probably a need to have these resources in one place with a basic explanation of the options available and how they can be employed in an ordinary parish setting with limited resources to re-enchant Holy Mass and provide the transcendence, reverence and sense of the sacred that fosters active participation. And, of course, this requires that we SING THE MASS, and not merely to sing AT Mass.

Here is the theory and the practice of how it might be done:

1. The Priest should sing the Priest-Celebrant’s Chant from the Missal: The Vatican’s document Musicam Sacram of 1967 retains the degrees of solemnity (low Mass, Sung Mass and Solemn (or High) Mass) and makes it clear that a Sung Mass (a Missa Cantata) is to be preferred especially on Sundays and feast days. It notes that there are different “degrees” of solemnity that can be employed. The “first degree” of solemnity calls for the singing of:

a. In the entrance rites: the greeting of the priest together with the reply of the people; the prayer.

b. In the Liturgy of the Word: the acclamations at the Gospel.

c. In the Liturgy of the Eucharistic: the prayer over the offerings; the preface with its dialogue and the Sanctus; the final doxology of the Canon, the Lord's Prayer with its introduction and embolism; the Pax Domini; the prayer after the Communion; the formulas of dismissal.

In practice, this should be the first step and adds greatly to solemnity. It focuses on singing the important prayers and dialogues between Priest-Celebrant and the congregation. In practice, if you are starting a programme of re-enchantment perhaps not all these parts would be sung at first, but the ideal and ultimate aim is clear enough. It is very effective in increasing solemnity and reverence and requires little more than a Priest and the Congregation who can learn the few unchanging parts (“And also with you”, “Amen” etc) that are the same for each Mass.

This alone will do more for the active participation of the people than singing a few poor quality hymns that are extraneous to the Mass.

2. The People should sing the Ordinary of the Mass: This is key. Musicam Sacram calls it the “second degree” of solemnity and involves the singing of the Ordinary of the Mass (the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and the Creed). Musicam Sacram also adds the Prayers of the Faithful. It should be noted:

a. whether the Mass is in Latin or the vernacular, the Ordinary can still be sung in Latin to the authentic Gregorian Melodies (you know: “Latin is to be retained in the Latin Rite”; “Gregorian Chant has pride of place in the Roman Rite and is specially suited to and proper to the Roman Rite”; “the people should know how to say and sung in Latin the parts of the Ordinary” etc). The Gregorian settings of the Ordinary can be found in the Kyriale and the Graduale Romanum for the Ordinary Form, in the Gregorian Missal for the Ordinary Form (available for free download here: [ ]) and in the Kyriale and Graduale Romanum for the Extraordinary Form available for free download here [].

b. The Missa de Angelis (Mass VIII) is often most remembered by the older people in the congregation given that in many places it was used ad nauseam before the Council. Useful as that can be, it is prudent to avoid falling into the same trap as we progress forward to realising the ideal; so, only use de Angelis when absolutely necessary. If you were to teach even one new Gregorian Mass to a congregation, there are better alternatives. For example, Mass XI – Orbis Factor is suggested for use on Sundays throughout the year. Note that:

i. This does not necessary preclude using other Masses (eg Mass XI - Cum Iubilo (traditionally assigned to Marian feasts) which must surely be the most beautiful of them all), although you probably would not choose the Requiem Mass setting XVIII in any other circumstances;

ii. Whilst all the parts of one particular Gregorian setting are usually sung, there is freedom to mix and match (eg Kyrie from Orbis Factor, Gloria and Sanctus from de Angelis, Angus from Orbis Factor).

c. Singing the Creed can be quite a task for most parishes given its length and the fact that one usually hears it in Latin not in the vernacular. When sung, it is usually the Credo III that is used, although Credo I is magnificently Gregorian being of the XIth century).

d. If simpler settings of the Ordinary are needed, some can be found in Jubilate Deo, Pope Paul VI’s 1974 official collection of the core/essential/minimum Catholic repertoire of Gregorian Chant that the People are expected to know). The Pope sent it to every bishop in the world, having had it prepared “to make it easier for Christians to achieve unity and spiritual harmony with their brothers and with the living tradition of the past. Hence it is that those who are trying to improve the quality of congregational singing cannot refuse Gregorian chant the place which is due to it”. See here [] and here [ ].

e. Further versions of the Ordinary are set out in the Kyriale Simplex – a sort of simplified Graduale for use in smaller churches – although despite its official status the Kyriale Simplex is largely overlooked in practice because the seasonal propers it uses (rather than daily propers) are an invention that is not in continuity with Tradition and many of the Ordinaries are largely taken from chants used in the Divine Office rather than the Mass. Nevertheless the singing of any Ordinary from the Simplex is better than nothing).

f. If you are in circumstances were part or all the Ordinary simply must be sung in English, at least use English adaptations that are as close as possible to the authentic Gregorian melodies. How do you tell? Compare the Ordinary from the Graduale Romanum against the English version. English adaptations have been variously set, but some good examples are:

i. Those from the Meinrad Kyriale of Father Columba Kelly available here []

ii. the host of settings made available through Musica Sacra, the website of the Church Music Association of America available here []. Note that if you are going to teach congregations the English adaptations, you need to bear in mind the changes to the English translation of the Roman Missal that will come into effect in 2010/2011. This problem would be avoided – as it also has been - by using the official Greek/Latin ordinary instead.

g. Whilst it really is preferable to sing all of the Ordinary in Greek/Latin, an intermediate step might be to sing the simpler texts in Greek/Latin and the others in the vernacular, changing this week to week until all can be sung in Greek/Latin. A common programme is Week 1: Greek Kyrie, English Gloria, English Sanctus, Latin Agnus Dei; Week 2: English Kyrie, English Gloria, Latin Sanctus, Latin Agnus Dei, and so on. Keep at least one or two of the 4 texts in Greek/Latin.

h. Ideally do not omit the Dismissal “Ite Missa est”: the fact that the melody of the Ite Missa Est matches the melody of Kyrie in the authentic Gregorian settings of the Ordinary really helps to “bookend” the Liturgical music of the Mass appropriately

3. The Choir/Schola Cantorum should sing the Propers of the Mass: To “sing the Mass” means to sing the text of the Mass and not merely to sing (hymns) at Mass. The Propers are the parts of the text of the Mass and, being unique to each Mass and therefore changing with each Mass, are said to be “proper” to that Mass. They have generally been the most neglected, even forgotten, aspects of liturgical music since the Council.

The Propers comprise the Introit (Entrance Chant), the Gradual (or maybe the Responsorial Psalm), the Alleluia (or Tract in the penitential seasons), the Offertory Chant and the Communion Chant.

The Propers:

a. Should ideally be sung in Latin to the authentic and official Gregorian chant melodies contained in the Graduale Romanum. They are also in the Gregorian Missal, the publication of the Abbey of Solmes which extracts the proper chants from the Graduale Romanum for Sundays and Major feasts and the Ordinaries). The Gregorian Missal is available for free download here [].

b. Sometimes the lack of time or the complexity of individual proper chants forces you to look for a simpler substitute for the more difficult chants. In general, the Introit and Communio can always be sung to the authentic chants from the Graduale Romanum, but the Gradual, Alleluia/Tract and Offertory are usually more difficult and highly melismatic chants. The following are options:

i. Simpler versions of the authentic Latin Gregorian chants of the Gradual and the Alleluia/Tract can be found in Chant Abrege: the 1926 publication from the Abbey of Solesmes (the same people who bring you the Graduale Roman and Gregorian Missal). This is available for free download here []

ii. Similarly, simplified versions of these longer proper chants have been prepared by Richard Rice and are available for free download here []. Although this collection has been prepared for use in the Extraordinary Form, it is useful for the Ordinary Form to the extent that the propers are common to both forms. This collection provides simplified versions of the Gradual, Alleluia, and Tract for Sundays, and other solemnities. The melodies of the Gradual and Alleluia verses have been replaced with the corresponding Psalm tone for the Introit of the Mass. (Other collections have used the simple tones of the Divine Office, but Richard Rice believes this seems a better solution in the context of Mass.) He says that because the endings of these tones seem overly curt and frequently sound incomplete, he has retained the authentic melody for the ends of verses, with the return of the full choir marked with an asterisk, as in the Liber Usalis (assuming the verse is sung by a cantor or two, which is certainly not required).

iii. Even more simple/abridged versions of the Graduals and Alleluia/Tract for each Sunday can be found in the 1954 Liber Brevior available for free download here []. The Liber Brevior is a reduced but extremely comprehensive version of the larger Liber Usualis used for the Extraordinary Form (see below). However, as such, you need to check that the proper given in the Liber Brevior actually matches the proper assigned to the day in the Ordinary Form.

iv. The verses for the Communion chants are available in Latin in the Communio publication available from Musica Sacra or for weekly download here [] or with the Latin Antiphon coupled with English verses publication available for free download here []

v. A useful resource is a list of the propers in the Ordinary Form, available for free download here []

c. If you have to sing the Propers in English, then, finally after more than 40 years after the Council multiple resources in English are becoming available. The better ones are:

i. A preferred resource is Bruce E Ford’s American Gradual downloadable for free here []. This is preferred because it is an English adaptation of the authentic Gregorian melodies from the Graduale Romanum. A wonderful piece of work.

ii. The Anglican Use Gradual downloadable for free here [], sets each of the proper chants to simple Psalm tones. Don’t be concerned about the “Anglican” reference as this refers to the form of Catholic Rite of Mass which was granted by the Vatican under a Pastoral Provision given to former Episcopolians (American Anglicans) to use when they converted to Catholicism. Importantly, as there is no official English translation of the sung propers, these texts are fine to use

iii. Father Columba Kelly’s propers in English available for free download here []

iv.Some simple Propers from Fr Samuel F Weber (these are "seasonal" however) available for free download here []

d. Where the Responsorial Psalm has to be sung in preference to the more traditional Gradual, then the Chabanel Psalms are widely regarded as very good. They are available here []

e. If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to sing polyphonic work (Masses, motets etc), many scores are available for free download at places like the Choral Public Domain Library here [] Choral Treasure here []. See Choral Net too for general resources including guidance on singing  here []

4. The Singing of the propers is critical to the recovery of Gregorian Chant as the Second Vatican Council wished. It also constitutes the third degree of solemnity indicated by Musicam Sacram which states that singing the following belongs to the third degree: (a) the chants at the Entrance and Communion processions; the chants after the Lesson or Epistle; the Alleluia before the Gospel; the chant at the Offertory; and the readings of Sacred Scripture.

5. The chanting of readings can be done in accordance with the Common Tones set out in the Graduale Romanum and adapted to English

6. The hymns should be sound melodies and sound texts and sung in addition to the chant if required (more about that later).

In closing this should also mention The Parish Book of Chant is also a fantastic resource and is able to be purchased here []

Of course if you are singing the Extraordinary Form, all you need for everything is the Liber Usalis, available for free download here [] and the 1961 Graduale Romanum is available here []

If you need verses to go with the Offertory Chants for Sundays and Solemnities, they are available here for free download here [] adapted from the Offertoriale Triplex. This collection provides verses for the Offertory chants of the Mass for the Sundays and Solemnities of the Church Year, and is intended to supplement the Offertory chants as given in the Liber usualis or Graduale Romanum. It follows the arrangement for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. However, post-Conciliar neglect (benign or otherwise) ensured that the selection and arrangement of Offertory chants are virtually the same for the Ordinary Form. The volume contains an index of titles to aid cross reference.

Hope this is helpful.

Thursday 3 September 2009

Usus Antiquior: a journal dedicated to the development of the Roman Rite: get on to it.

We are pleased to draw readers' attention to the new journal Usus Antiquior whose first issue will be in January 2010.

The Journal describes itself as:

"...committed to the study and promotion of the historical, philosophical, theological and pastoral aspects of the Roman rite as developed in tradition. Because the different forms of the Roman rite 'can be mutually enriching', Usus Antiquior also seeks to make a positive contribution to the discussion of questions pertinent to the liturgical life of the Catholic Church in our day."

New Liturgical conducted an interview with the editors here.

The Journal is now open to subscriptions at quite reasonable rates (especially for students).

The content of the first Volume is listed as:
Editorial: Laurence Paul Hemming

László Dobszay: ‘The Graduale Parvum’

Manfred Hauke: ‘Klaus Gamber, Liturgist’

Stefan Heid: ‘The Attitude and Orientation of Prayer in the Early Christian Era’

Aidan Nichols OP: ‘A Theological Perspective on Church Music’

Susan Frank Parsons: ‘The Moral Lessons of the Octaves’

Athansius Schneider: ‘The Ancient Norm of the Holy Fathers (“pristina sanctorum Patrum norma”) As a Criterion for an Authentic Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy’

Matthieu Smyth: ‘The Anaphora of the So-Called ‘Apostolic Tradition’ and the Roman Eucharistic Prayer’, with a Preface by Paul Bradshaw.

Daniel Van Slyke: ‘Despicere mundum et terrena: a Spiritual and Liturgical Motif in the Missale Romanun’

Michael John Zielinski OSB Oliv.: ‘The Culture and Heritage Of The Classical Roman Rite’
Get on to it. See the Publisher's website here and subscribe.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

Why Ad Orientem and Communion on the Tongue are the norm: the canonical view

Via New Liturgical Movement, a explanation of Canon Law that shows how in the Roman Rite, the normative way to:

- celebrate Holy Mass is by facing Ad Orientem (not facing the people)
- receive Holy Communion, is on the tongue (not in the hand)