Feedback request on a chanted Sunday Vespers setting
  • I've come to the love the LOTH and chant, but I would really like the opportunity to pray and sing in it choir. I've participated as a choir member in choral vespers at my parish, but it is once or twice a year. I've been wanting to start something more regular for a number of months now. I figured that the more I can produce on my own before pitching the idea, the better chance I have a getting others at the church to come on board. So I've put together a booklet for sung Sunday II Vespers modeled after the Mundelein Psalter. Mundelein's is great, but I've found the tones a bit boring after a while and the $$ prohibitive (I have a copy, but I'd like to have something for the pews for people to sing from). My criteria for the project:

    1) Nearly all in English and no modification of the text (no matter how annoying) so that somebody walking in off the street with their LOTH could follow along.

    2) Little to no flipping needed while praying.

    3) Simple chant with no accompaniment. Then there's no need to occupy or pay an organist, and I want it so simple that the average parishioner can sing it with a small group leading (myself and 1-3 others). As beautiful as the Latin EF chants are, they really take practice and I think everybody who wants to sing should be able to.

    4) I tried for the psalm-tones to be similar to the ones used in Sunday Vespers in the LU but simpler. I wanted to be in continuity with tradition but easier to point with English psalms (i.e. fewer notes at the end!).

    5) I don't want to rip of copyrighted material (obviously) and would like to be able to share the result so that others could get regular Vespers started at their parishes.

    Attached is my preliminary result. Following Mundelein, the italicized syllable is where you change singing the reciting note. Any extra syllables fall on the last note. If anybody could offer constructive feedback I'd be much obliged. In particular,
    a) Typos?
    b) Is there anything about the chants (music or pointing) that is GLARINGLY wrong? I'm not a trained singer or arranger.
    c) The hymns are the traditional tunes from the Latin (Lucis Creator optime and O Lux, beata Trinitas) translated into English by J.M. Neale. Is there any copyright issue with my setting of them?
    d) What freedom do I have to print and use the LOTH texts in my parish? Distribute online for free?
    e) I tried to adapt the Magnificat using the full tone from LU to give it more prominence. I'm not satisfied with the result. The bland ICEL Magnificat is just awful! If you see any fixes, please help! I much prefer the adaption in The Hymnal (1940) #658. It uses the Anglican King James language. Am I free to use this text variation in the LOTH?

    Much thanks!

    EDIT: Updated file - Hymns match Liber Usualis tunes, some psalms re-pointed to follow Mundelein guideline (final accented syllable falls on last note), and I removed any specific flex notes. The flex (dagger) is now just a pause for breath throughout.

  • 15 Comments sorted by
  • I applaud the effort and I'll certainly give it a look - as will many other, I hope.
  • The hymn is fantastic. Certainly the translation is available in PD. Can you say where you got the setting from, what published source? Maybe I can help with the copyright issue.
  • I typeset the hymns myself. For Lucis Creator optime the tune comes straight from the Liber. The tune for O Lux, beata Trinitas I used from the hymnal section of the Mundelein Psalter, but I'm pretty sure available somewhere else older. Mundelien's copyright does not list it among it's protected hymns.
  • Great. You should be fine. What I would really like is for MusicaSacra to host a ton or even a few of Office Hymns in English in square notes. These are treasures, leagues above nearly everything in the usual misselettes. How congregations would love them! How can we go about this? I think Fr. Webber has his doubts about the ability to simply post the whole back section of the Mund Psal.
  • Aha! The second tune is from Jam sol recedit on p. 915 of LU with just one slight difference, so that seems free to use. Maybe I'll change mine to match the Liber.

    I'll post a page for each of the two hymns I've set for you to put up. The Mund Psalter page says that it's looking into the publication of a separate hymn book. Their protections page lists each of the hymns that are copyrighted and leaves out the ones that are free domain. So someone could do the same thing I have with the free hymns (I'm not volunteering myself yet). Mundelein got many of the English texts from the Sisters of St. Cecilia’s Abbey on the Isle of Wight, and I guess their work is not free to produce without permission.
  • This will be really great. I really wanted to start Vespers in our parish. (also, soneone said it's easier than singing Mass. I'm not sure anymore.) Don't have any experience. The more I research the resourses, the more I get confused. Please post the link, when you are ready. Thanks
  • Volunteer, volunteer!
  • Jeffrey. Do you need volunteers? What kind of work volunteers will be doing?
  • Oh I mean in typing up English office hymns in square notes for posting online, like the above.
  • Jeffrey,

    Here are the English translation Hymns for II Vespers on separate PDFs to make available wherever you see fit. I updated the tune for O Lux, beata Trinitas to match the Liber and fixed a text typo. I also added author and translator from Britt. As the fit takes me I may work on some other Vespers hymns.

  • Dear Mia,
    People often say that Vespers is easier than a Mass because in the "new rite" you don't need to have clergy on hand. Otherwise, unless you can take everything from Liber Usualis, it's a boatload of work. At the same time, it's rewarding and singers do enjoy learning about the Office.
  • It's only easier for the singers. The antiphons for most feasts in the EF are quite difficult at times. For the poor director, the OF can be a nightmare.
  • Dan,

    This is wonderful and will be a great resource for many. There have been a few folks at our parish agitating for Sunday Vespers but it would compete with the Lifeteen Mass, you see. Baby steps...
  • Here is an updated draft:

    It is set in half-sheet size (5.5"x8.5") for printing as a booklet on 8.5"x11" letter paper. I decided to just use the latin Magnificat. The booklet has everything you need to pray Sunday II Vespers for Ordinary Time except the Magnificat antiphons and final prayer. It seemed too much work to try and type and included these in a section that you'd have to flip to anyways. I plan to just look them up from another psalter when praying. I haven't yet tackled Advent, Lent, Easter or Feast Days yet.

    I'm glad you find it helpful, Jenny.

    EDIT: Head to my blog for updated versions, including separate booklets for Ordinary Time and Advent.
  • Well, four years late, but thank you for this, Dan F.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke