Full Gradual / Tract of Lent I
  • In my previous parish, we were accustomed to full propers throughout Lent - except for Lent I and Palm Sunday (we put the Gradual / Tract to psalm-tone for both). I asked the pastor if he had any objection to my doing full propers on both of those Sundays as well... and his response was that I could do so if it was my last year as his choir director. :) I never knew if he meant that to be that he would let me go if that happened, or if he meant that I had his blessing to do it in my final year!!

    I settled on a schedule for both Sundays - full propers every fourth year, staggered. So year 2 might be full propers for Lent I but psalm-tone of the Gradual / Tract for Palm Sunday; year 4 might be psalm-tone for the Gradual / Tract of Lent I and full tone for Palm Sunday. The odd years would be psalm-tone for both Sundays.

    Different parish now... but same idea. We will be singing the full Gradual / Tract for Lent I this year. Just had our first practice on the Gradual / Tract this past Wednesday... we'll sing the Gradual as normal (cantors intone; full choir to the verse; cantors until the asterisk; full choir to the end), but will alternate three groups on the Tract - Cantors; Ladies; Men - until the final verse which we will do as a full group. (This is what we do for the Responsories of Good Friday and the Canticles of Holy Saturday).

    Was pleased with the progress made in practice. Just sharing!!
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,471
    Nice if you have a congregation who will stand (or sit) for that.
    We psalm-tone the verses for the Gradual and Alleluia anyway, so the notion of doing the whole Lent 1 tract has never come up.I would however like to do the first or last verse of the Tract, so there's something there.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,379
    We will be singing it in full, although our former choir director suggested we do the Isaac setting!, but that will not be learnt in time!

    We have sung it in full at several places, but when we have been short for time we have sung the First couple and last couple of verses and psalm tone the rest. This does work well. You could alternate between psalm verse and chant, if you are short for time.

    What is worth reminding those worried about time.
    According to the recordings at Gregorianbooks it can take from 12 to 15mins to sing this tract.

    How long is the Gloria that won't be sung that day, 3 mins?
    How long are the notices, 10mins?
    How long is the Sermon, 20min?

    For the latter two I know what I would prefer listening to...
  • Nice if you have a congregation who will stand (or sit) for that.

    I can very definitely say that I've been blessed (generally speaking) with both a choir that values liturgical music appropriately as well as with a parish that tends to be responsive to the efforts of the choir. It certainly helps that I've also typically had support from the pastor and other clergy.

    On the other hand... there is no doubt that it also involves some degree of acculturation (including a degree of education) for both the parish and the choir.

    We don't sing 100% full-tone all the time, in part from pastoral considerations. But we usually range from 70% to 80% full-tone depending on the season (i.e. in a given season 70-80% of the Masses are full-tone - the remainder are a mix of full-tone and psalm-tone that we apply to the chant).

    There will likely always be a small contingent that "don't get it"... but my experience has been that over time, with nuanced and interpretative chant, most people find the spirituality of chant to be undeniable with continued exposure. It helps that we are fortunate enough to have a fairly strong polyphonic component as well, so there is a musically diverse representation that provides the setting for the Liturgy.
  • All I can say is that the first time I heard (well, I sung it with a monastic choir) both Lent I and Palm Sunday in full chant, I certainly could have broken into tears if I hadn't controlled myself. The setting of psalm 90 on Lent I is a very moving chant that has great capacity to allow one to reflect on the season of Lent which lies ahead of him, and despite Lent's difficulties, psalm 90 reminds us that God and his angels are our help throughout it. The possibility of this reflection is severely cut off if the chant is psalm-toned, but obviously we do not live in an ideal world...

    It is the same idea holds true for Palm Sunday's Gradual and especially Tract. The chant of Psalm 21 allows one to keep the gravity of what is to happen later in the week in mind, after we will have just reflected on how Jesus enters into Jerusalem as King; and reflection on the text of Psalm 21 in general obviously can help one to enter deeply into the mystery of Christ's passion, especially important at the beginning of Holy Week.

    With this in mind, for me the thought of shortening chants for these 2 days makes me want to weep, especially having had "monastic lents" for the past 2 Lents and fully experienced the chants; I will most likely be in the position of shortening them myself. I am more than capable of singing them in full, and singing them well, but probably neither congregation nor choir is ready (I would not want to sing a 15 minute solo).
  • Josh
    Posts: 85
    The website of the Schola Sainte Cécile provides the (particularly melismatic) chant of the Gradual Angelis suis proper to the Church of Paris, sung there since the 9th century, and still included in the 1925 Mass propers of the (Arch)diocese of Paris.
  • Josh
    Posts: 85
    For a rough comparison, the common Gregorian setting of the Gradual Angelis suis has 268 notes, whereas the Parisian proper version has 397 (counting each square note, etc., and each dot, as one), and is thus almost 50% longer. A quick search reveals that the usual chant of this Gradual may be sung in about two and a half minutes – and that therefore the Parisian form would take more like 3'40".
  • Josh
    Posts: 85
    And to my delight and astonishment, our solo singer at our new weekly Sunday Missa cantata sang very pleasantly both the Gradual, and the whole Tract, at our Mass this morning: it was a most impressive effort, and we all congratulated him afterward.

    (I am the M.C. at present, and since we are in process of training our new servers, I am rather busy making sure all is well in the sanctuary during Mass - it was a rare moment of calm to stand beside the priest's chair and simply hearken to the glorious words and chant of the Tract for a good while before I had to marshal everyone for the blessing of incense before the Gospel.)
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,379
    1st Sunday of Lent, St. Bede's Clapham Park, choir of 4 men, 4 ladies and 1 boy (15y.o.).

    Asperges; II mode 4 version (we sing this version in lent)
    INT. Invocabit (Chant)
    K, XVII 1st Version
    GRAD. Angelis (Chant)
    TRACT. Qui habitat (Chant)
    Intoned by cantors (2 men), full choir at star, then verse sung thus...
    V. Dicet... Cantors
    V. Quoniam... Ladies
    V. Scapulis... Cantors
    V. Scuto... Men
    V. A sagitta... Cantors
    V. Cadent... Ladies
    V. Quoniam... Cantors
    V. In manibus... Men
    V. Super... Cantors
    V. Quoniam... Ladies
    V. Invocabit... Cantors
    V. Eripiam... Men
    then at star full choir. (Gradual and Tract took 14 mins)
    OFF. Scapulis (chant)
    OFF. Hymn, Ex More Docti Mystico (Ambrosian melody and words)
    COM. Scapulis (chant)
    COM. Hymn. Saevo dolorum turbine (Hymn for Lauds of the feast of the Passion of OLJC)
    BENEDICAMUS. XVII 2nd version.
    Domine Salvum fac.
    Marian Anthem. Ave regina Caelorum (simple tone)
    Recessional. Hymn. Audi benigne Conditor (Roman melody)
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 114
    We sang all the verses, alternating men and ladies, with the psalm tone on about half the verses (we sing the full melody for the first few verses, last one, and several in the middle). I love today's Tractus. Mass took an hour. I didn't time the Tractus.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 593
    Lent I - Sacred Heart, Cincinnati, 7:00 PM EF
    • two words from the Seven Last Words (ANON)
    • Audi Benigne Conditor (Chant) - Processional
    • Asperges II

    • Full Propers
    • Mass XVII - Kyrie Ad Lib 8
    • Credo VI
    • Offertory: Iudas Mercator (Victoria)
    • Communion 1: Desidero Mi (Allen)
    • Communion 2: Tamquam Agnus (Victoria)
    • Communion 3: Iesu Salvator Mundi (Cordans)
    • Communion 4: O Iesu Christe (Mantua)
    • Communion 5: O Domine Deus (Mary, Queen of Scots)

    • Forty Days and Forty Nights - recessional

    Two recordings... the Gradual / Tract (had some challenges throughout, but pleased with the first time doing the full thing with this group) and the Iudas Mercator ("small" group of 3 Sop, 4 Alt, 2 Ten, 2 Bas).

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  • Antonio
    Posts: 39
    As for this tractus, there's a final cadence for the 5th verse ("... et daemonio meridiano.") not usual for 2nd mode tracta. The melody line visits low B-natural before reaching the final tonic not through the usual D-E-D bordadura. Would this be a typo? With the word, the experts in semiology.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 593
    Would this be a typo?

    I won't pretend to be an expert in either semiology or chant in more general terms... but it is certainly not unprecedented. Most notably, compare to the Offertory of Pentecost 23. The TI is not expected (one "hears" a TE), but I think its use is intentional. In the Offertory it occurs both times in the word "Te" (ad te Domine:)

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  • Antonio
    Posts: 39
    but it is certainly not unprecedented. Most notably, compare to the Offertory of Pentecost 23.

    We have sung this without problems over many years, but I left this year's rehearsal with the impression that there might be something wrong, or at least atypical, with that cadence. Very well noted. Atypical, but not unprecedented. Should be sung perfectly not to sound weird.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 114
    It gives a nice spooky sound to the spooky verse. I figured that was the point.
  • sjudge
    Posts: 6
    I'm not an expert by any means, but those who are seem to agree on the melody for "... et daemonio meridiano." Graduale Novum, Gregor und Taube, and Graduale Lagal all seem to be in agreement with the official melody from the Graduale Romanum/Liber Usualis.