Sung Vespers question
  • AnnS
    Posts: 11
    Hey everyone,

    We're using the Mundelein Psalter to offer Sung Vespers during Lent at my OF parish, and I have been debating about whether to have the Magnificat sung antiphonally (which we have been doing the previous few years), or switching to have everyone sing through the whole of the prayer.

    My primary experience of Vespers was at a EF Carmelite Monastery, where it is sung antiphonally. I prefer this approach because it maintains the rhythm of singing/listening in prayer, as well as allowing the effect of the pause at the "*" to not be thrown off by people taking a breath in between lines.

    I am considering changing to everyone singing it through because that it is the way it is done in other places (the local Seminary and other OF religious communities in the area), and many people do not actually know the prayer, so it might be better to help them learn by singing all of the lines. I still hesitate because the rhythm is valuable.

    It is probably a small matter, but I would appreciate any thoughts on this. I have not found a specific direction in the book, though I might have missed it.

    Thank you!
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,009
    I typically have everyone sing the entirety of the Magnificat, even if singing the rest of the psalmody antiphonally.
    Thanked by 1AnnS
  • My only real experience of sung Vespers in the OF was while studying in Poland and the Magnificat was always sung antiphonally. I have been to OF Vespers here in Australia a few times, the Magnificat was sung in Latin and also antiphonally.
    Thanked by 1AnnS
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,319
    The thing with OF Vespers is that no one knows how to pray the office in choir. I have seen people chant the Introductory Verse (Deus in adjutorium) antiphonally, and people alternate the psalmody at the half-verse (*), or chant the responsory directly, and everything in between (and usually recto tono).

    I say, let direct psalmody (Deus in adjutorium) be direct psalmody; antiphonal psalmody be antiphonal psalmody (Psalms & Mag.); Responsorial psalmody be responsorial psalmody (responsorium brevis and New Testament canticle), with no blending of genres.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen AnnS
  • If your people are experienced in antiphonal singing and can do it well,
    then there is no reason not to do it, and every reason to do it.
    This is admirable.
    Beauty and historical precedent are with you.
    (All psalmody and canticles for the office should be sung antiphonally, with their respective antiphons.)
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen Salieri AnnS
  • BruceL
    Posts: 971
    Antiphonal performance is best, but here, people don't take direction well. We pretty much have to alternate cantor (or choir) with assembly, etc. It's frustrating, but can be well-done.
    Thanked by 1AnnS
  • AnnS
    Posts: 11
    Thank you everyone! It really helps to get the perspective of others. I'm going to stick with having us sing it antiphonally - though I'll switch if people seem to be having too difficult of a time (there's a good chance we'll get some new people this season). Have a great Lent!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen