Simple Latin Propers, Richard Rice
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Following on Mr. Gasper's request, I will be posting my settings periodically. Constructive critique is always appreciated.

    Propers for the 18th Sunday of the Year attached.
  • Heath
    Posts: 686
    Excellent, Richard!

    Thanks for your work!
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,303
    I've sung the propers from the Graduale Romanum for three years and am no expert, but I do have some experience with the genre. I confess some initial skepticism when I saw this thread, but I'm very, very pleased with this sample.

    I would hazard a guess that the composer has lived and breathed the Liber Usualis since somehow he has managed to convey in simple form the indescribable lyricism of the original chants---not an easy task at all, I'm sure! God bless your wonderful work.

    To tell the truth, I'm not sure how much this example differs from the Graduale Romanum, except in its brevity. If the Chants Abreges are an example of simplification, I'd have to say I prefer the more "complex" chants any day. Although they are shorter and have fewer melismas, I find the Chants Abreges melodies abstruse and difficult to render musically.
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  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Could you please do a set of these for St Alphonsus Liguori, August 2nd? According to the Liber Usualis text? Please?
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,072
    I think this is wonderful. Quite pleased with the results.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    I like it too. This looks more like the "Simpler Gradual" that Vatican II actually called for. I still like the Graduale Simplex, but I think that this is more what the council fathers had in mind back in 1963.
    Thanked by 1brentstull
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,786
    You Crazy Mon, Rice!
    Didadyou not think that other crazy mon out in Hot Furnace west USA would glom onto these?
    OKeheheh
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 597
    This looks more like the "Simpler Gradual" that Vatican II actually called for.

    I'm not sure about this. The short sentence “It is desirable also that an edition be prepared containing simpler melodies, for use in small churches” which appeared in the final version of Sacrosanctum consilium was preceded by much more detailed requests in a total of fourteen concepts of the text between 1961 and 1963. These detailed requests show us what de council fathers had in mind when they called for an edition with simpler melodies.

    Overall, two solutions were proposed with respect to the Proprium Missae:
    1) the use of psalm tones or recto tono
    2) a very much restricted variability of the propers

    The first option was dropped very quickly, because it would harm the Gregorian patrimony; text and melody should relate to each other.
    The second option prevailed soon and, though it shows variation in details, always contained the following main points: a) the use of seasonal sets of propers, b) the use of simpler, yet authentic Gregorian chants.

    From the preliminary texts of Sacrosanctum consilium 117, the outline of the current Graduale Simplex becomes readily apparent. The fact that the final formulation lacks these details doesn't alter the gross idea the council fathers had of an ‘edition with simpler melodies’. The use of general terms is characteristic of the entire final text of the constitution.

    (This doesn't mean that I'm opposed to Richard's settings. I think they're wonderful! (Though I would like to see Latin ‘j’ spelled like ‘i’ …) I only wanted to make clear that we shouldn't look at this as something more like the edition of simpler melodies called for by the Council.)
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Ta, Heath. Revision attached.

    These melodies are about "living and breathing" the Antiphonale Romanum, not the Liber so much.

    The J's stay, because I find them easier to read as y-sounds (and readability trumps academia every time in my book(s)).

    And melo-hon... find some shade, mon.
  • As everyone else here has said, Richard, THANK YOU for setting to work on this, and bravo for what already appears to be very fine, beautiful, singable work.
    Thanked by 2brentstull Gavin
  • mrcoppermrcopper
    Posts: 639
    Nice work! I'd suggest the ligature on "qui" might be better A-C rather than the out-of-tune fourth that's there. (Introit year A, line 2) . Tiny point: should the first "I" be capitalized?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,524
    "Out-of-tune fourth." Priceless.
  • Would that make it an Imperfect Fourth?
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  • mrcoppermrcopper
    Posts: 639
    Bunch of comics here. I'd say it makes it an imperfect composition!
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    "...should the first "I" be capitalized?"

    This is the style. It would not be capitalized only if it began a new word; that is, if the first word were only one letter long ("O", for instance). Check your clef on "qui" (re-sol); quite standard with this type of antiphon.
  • mrcoppermrcopper
    Posts: 639
    I can't see re-sol ... and I'm quite comfortable with the clef!
  • quite standard with this type of antiphon.

    I'd say it makes it an imperfect genre!
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Simple Propers for Aug. 2, St. Alphonsus (EF) attached.
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 255
    Congratulations, Richard - very fine work, as always. I sincerely hope that you publish these as a book. What is your editorial policy? Are you taking a Schenkerian approach and putting these chants on the ant-heap to eliminate the tricky ornaments and therefore leave the bare-bones structure? I'm just interested to know how you're going about this - Perhaps a few more people might be able to help out if the means of editing were set out so that the final results would be uniform.
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 255
    Just a further thought - Could all the quarter bars and suchlike be dispensed with? The simplified chants are such that most textual phrases can be sung in a single breath.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Quarterbars make sense in certain places, such as where the text would demand a grammatical break at colons and at some commas.

    The simple version of what I was taught about bar lines is: Always breathe at full bars and half bars. At quarterbars, breathe only if you absolutely have to.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Bar lines mark musical phrases, which often, but not always, correspond to marked textual phrases. One should be able to see these phrases, whether or not one chooses to breathe there. (The same applies to editorial dots; they help delineate musical phrases.)
  • Palestrina - your namesake already began this project toward the end of his life, in the Medici Gradual in the 1620s. He worked to eliminate unnecessary ornaments from the chant. This edition was then resurrected as the (in)famous Ratisbon edition in the 19th century, due in no small part to his association with it.

    My question for Richard Rice - have you compared your work with the Ratisbon chant edition? I'm just curious if all of this simplified Latin chant has been done before...or is this new iteration better done than Ratisbon?
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Propers for the 19th Sunday are attached.

    KM, I have not studied the Ratisbon edition, but doubt they were adapting the Proper texts to Office antiphon melodic types, which is what I do, in a free-hand sort of way. (Which makes my approach something other than Schenkerian, Palestrina.) Whether that makes my edition "better" is not really up to me to decide. I'll settle for "good" and "useful".
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 255
    Sorry, Richard - I didn't mean 'Schenkerian' as a pejorative! Just one technique among many for stripping back ornament to see structure...

    Another option that doesn't seem to have been explored fully is the chant of the more austere orders. Didn't some of these have notoriously 'plain' plainchant? Thoughts?
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    Take a look at the Ambrosian Gloria in the Chants Ad Libitum section of any Kyriale.
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 255
    A quick survey of the Ambrosian repertoire is sufficient to show that this Gloria is one of the few pieces in this style. Moreover, since the texts are for the Ambrosian Rite, they are of little use in the Roman Rite, and for the kind of project being discussed here.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,557
    hartleymartin is referring to the Gloria on p. 793 of the 1974 Graduale Romanum. It's the text from the Roman rite, with the melody more ambrosiano.
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 255
    Yes, I know. I am referring to the rest of the Ambrosian repertoire and particularly the propers.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    I don't take "Schenkerian" as pejorative, Palestrina. I find it much easier, and less dangerous, to start with the authentic antiphon melodies, and shape them to fit the phrase structure of the Proper texts. Rather than looking at these antiphon melodies as somehow simplified melodies of the Propers, it's probably more accurate to see the later as an elaboration of the former, in a sort of inverted-Schenkerian way. (There are probably grad theses dedicated to this subject which I haven't seen.) But peeling back the layers of elaboration seems presumptuous to me, and way beyond my modest abilities. It's liable to leave you with an anemic sounding tune besides.
  • PeterJ
    Posts: 80
    This is a splendid idea. Richard, do you plan to branch out and cover the propers for the Extraordinary Form as well?
  • PeterJ: It's worth noting that there are already several pre-Conciliar propers collections that pertain to the EF. Most are not modeled on the chant itself (in my experience), though
  • donr
    Posts: 882
    These are great, I wish we could use them. However our pastor will only let us use the missal antiphons.
    Is anyone working on these? I know that it a project for Illimuminare Publications but it will probably be a few years before they are started.
  • donr: Consult Fr. Columba Kelly’s settings of the Missal propers.

    But don’t do so before inquiring to your pastor as to why he allows only the Missal antiphons when the Missal itself describes them as being more for speaking than singing … ?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 6,557
    Well, now that the US GIRM allows musical settings of them, at least that gives some legitimacy to singing them. Many priests have read the US GIRM; few have read the older document that instituted those Missal antiphons and explains their original purpose in 1970.
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  • donr
    Posts: 882
    Felipe he wants the missal antiphons because the words are in our missalette and the pips can follow along.

    I didn't know Fr. Kelly had the settings in Spanish.
  • hartleymartin
    Posts: 1,447
    They can be used under the description of "alius cantus aptus."

    Using the Latin texts at least has the benefit that the can be used in either EF or OF liturgies.
  • Using the Latin texts at least has the benefit that the can be used in either EF or OF liturgies.


    … except in the (several) cases of texts that the two forms do not share.
  • PeterJ
    Posts: 80
    Felipe: "Most are not modeled on the chant itself (in my experience), though"

    Yes, that's why I am asking.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Simple Latin Propers for the 21st and 22nd Sundays attached (along with the 20th Sunday, a bit late).
  • Beautiful! :)
  • Nisi
    Posts: 34
    We hail thee, Richard!
  • Is there going to be a published/download version of this work for the full liturgical year at some point?
    Thanked by 1brentstull
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 7,920
    Many of us are indebted to Richard for his contributions to sacred music. Thank you, Richard, for all that you do for us.
  • Agreed, Charles. We use Richard's work nearly every Sunday. I love his typesetting in the PBC and Communios, so clean and easy to sing.
    Thank you, Richard! May God reward you!
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Attached are Simple Latin Propers for September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Other than the prayers, it is useful for both Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms (and for the latter, somewhat for Holy Thursday as well).

    PS. David D.: Give me a chance to see how it goes first :)
  • Very interesting, great idea. I do have some questions about why you did things in certain ways rather than others. First, though, may I ask what program you use to write the square notes? I want one!

    Now for the questions. It seems to me that what you're trying to do is to stay close to the Gregorian originals while simplifying them so busy people can learn them quick. No?

    If so, I wonder why some things in your simplified versions are not as much like the originals as they could be with no loss of simplicity. For example, in the first line of the Introit, you've got the same three-note combination ("D-F-E") that the original has on "Nos," but you put it on "au" in "autem" instead. In "in cruce Domini nostri," you've got a two-note "A-C" on "no" instead of the simple doubled "C" in the original. In the Gradual, you start out with psalm tone 5, which is good, but you don't carry it through; instead you put in some notes that I don't see in either the psalm tone or the (rather complex) full verse. Likewise, the Alleluia verse seems to have no similarity either to the full original or to psalm tone 8. I guess I could multiply examples, but I won't.

    On the continuum of complexity between psalm tones and the full originals, unfortunately, your version is probably still too far from the psalm tones for our Latin choir to use successfully. Right now we use Father Rossini's version of the propers, which I don't find very satisfactory because not only does it have hardly anything but psalm tones, but sometimes they're the wrong psalm tones and they don't always fit the words well at all. I would be very glad to find something better that we could actually use, with enough left from the original that one day's set of propers could be musically distinguished from another, but also with as much of the simplicity of the psalm tones as feasible.

    I tell you what, why don't you let me know how you write the square notes, and I'll see if I can come up with one or two examples of the sort of thing I envision? After all, there's probably room for more than one simplified version along that vast continuum!

  • I cannot resist saying that all these are all but sublime. No, not all but sublime, but actually sublime!

    A dream I have, and which I have discussed with Fr Columba, is for a genuine, complete, English gradual, using good modern English transalations of all the texts in the GR, plus the option of the responsorial psalm or the gradual. We keep getting rather incomplete sets of propers from various persons, but no actual complete graduale.

    Such a book would include for every Sunday and Solemnity, Holy Week, etc., the following, with good modern translations of the GR texts:

    1. Introit - Antiphon with some psalm verses to Gregorian psalm tones.

    2. Gradual, and, as an option, the responsorial psalm for years A, B, and C - The responsorial psalm would have easy chant responsories for the congregation and the cantor's verses would each have its own slightly more developed melos.

    3. Tract - the traditional in directum tract set to a moderately developed chant melos, and as an option, the current responsorial Lenten Gospel Acclamation.

    4. Alleluya - get rid of the rather tawdry and innovative triple Alleluya that has become all but de rigueur and is really historically appropriate only at the Easter vigil, and supply some real chant alleluyas that can be quickly learnt. The cantor's verse should be a moderately developed chant melos.

    5. Offertory - Antiphon with some psalm verses set to Gregorian psalm tones

    6. Communion - Antiphon with psalm verse set to Gregorian psalm tones.

    It goes without saying that I would like to see the anciently responsorial propers (Gradual/RPs, and Alleluya) remain exactly that - responsorial. And, the anciently antiphonal propers (Int., Off., Comm.,) remain exactly that - antiphonal. This means the absence of the recent innovation on the part of some of simple congregational 'refrains' supplanting the antiphon in what is supposed to be antiphonal psalmody. I would assume that whoever worked on a project such as this comprehended and respected the historic differences between Antiphonal, Responsorial, and In Directum (Tract), psalmody, and respected their respective integrity.

    This would undoubtedly be someone's Magnum Opus, but we need such an English Gradual for our time, for English masses of the Novus Ordo. From my observation of Richard Rice's work, which is almost ecstatically beautiful, he would be the one to accomplish this - a real English gradual, a complete set of propers for the Novus Ordo in English.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • THANK YOU, Richard!
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 575
    Pshaw, M. Jackson! Y'all make me blush. Anyway, as close as I can get to an English Graduale is my more of a Notated Missal/Lectionary, with Offertories from the last official iteration (ca. 1965). It will be ready in a few months or so.

    I'm staying right out of the Gradual/Missal debate. Until someone hands me official translations for the Gradual and Tract -- along with a nicely unambiguous Vatican dubium or addendum to the current English edition of the Missale Romanum as to their legitimate use contra RPs and GAs -- I really can't be bothered.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen brentstull
  • I use the 1965 Interim Missal for "official" translations of Graduals and tracts.