EF Office with Revised Chants
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 377
    After failing to keep up with the OF office for a number of reasons, I'm considering switching to the EF office, but I can't stand the bastardized mode 3 antiphons. Has anyone ever begun to put together a resource for the EF office with the revised antiphons and chants of the modern liturgical books? Or even considered it? I'm probably the one insane person who's thought about undertaking such an endeavor, but curious if there's anything out there.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 687
    If you want an EF Office that is closer melodically to the modern books, I would suggest using the Antiphonale Monasticum of 1934, rather than the Liber (if that is, in fact, what you are using).
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Vilyanor
  • Dr. Edward Schaefer is working on an Antiphonale Duplex for the traditional Benedictine office, which he says will be a full antiphoner for Lauds and Vespers. The books appears to be in the proofreading stage and he has posted a sample from the feast of the Ascension here:
    If you're not canonically bound to recite the secular office, it might be a good option for you. If you are obligated to recite the breviary, perhaps you could become an oblate and get permission to pray the monastic office.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Vilyanor
  • If you couldn’t keep up with the LOTH, how are you going to keep up with the 1963 Divine Office? It takes approximately 2.5 hours each day for a priest proficient in reciting it to simply labiate it quickly? When my spiritual director was teaching me how to recite it he specifically said only work at it gradually and not to recite it all at once (Lauds and Vespers to start, Matins last). He warned that ambitious seminarians try to do it all at once (merely reciting it) and end up burning out.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Vilyanor,

    What, precisely, was hard to keep up with in the Liturgy of the Hours? Eons ago, I think I bought (or was given) a book of the hours... but I found it impossible to understand or use effectively (that's two different complaints). In my case, the sheer banality of the language was an impediment (independent of the melodies, which were, frequently, their own impediment when I was able to find them at all).
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,615
    1963 Divine Office?
    Well I have a day hours book, Latin / English from 1934, So no Matins, but it does fit in my pocket 2"x3"x5", and has all the English Proper Offices. I can't think how a new Rite book for the whole cycle could be a pocket sized book.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • The 1963 edition of the Divine Office is edition approved by Summorum Pontificum. It’s the one the FSSP and other orders who use the 1962 Roman Missal and Roman Ritual exclusively.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 377
    While I take issue with the petitions that are added to every office and which I dislike for many reasons, the biggest thing that has discouraged me from chanting the OF office is that it's too variable. The fact that the psalms are spread across 4 weeks makes it impossible to really keep up with the sequence if you pray the office sporadically, or a ferial office is replaced by a feast. With the EF office things are consistent and lends itself better to memorization than the OF, and it's easier to get back into the swing of things because it doesn't take a month to get back to the same office.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 687
    Can you give us an example of these "bastardized mode 3 antiphons"?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • how are you going to keep up with the 1963 Divine Office? It takes approximately 2.5 hours each day for a priest proficient in reciting it to simply labiate it quickly

    So long it will take for 1963 Office only if all the hours will be indeed sung. Recited Office should take much less. In order to have a recited office this long you have to go back to pre-1911 version, and even there probably for Sundays or penitential Saturdays only.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • going to keep up

    At first it seems daunting.... so for a layman new to the idea, build in little bits at a time.
    approximately 2.5 hours each day

    1) I would think that the sung office is longer than that. Nevertheless, it's worth asking how many 30-minute or 15-minute time slots does a person "waste" on other activities, not how many 150-minute time block does a person have?

    2) Clerics are (or were, once upon a time, and will be again, God willing) required, under pain of mortal sin, to pray their Office each day. 2.5 hours with God versus eternity away from Him --- seems like a small price. Laymen aren't so bound.

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • The complaint about mode three is an interesting observation. Since I prefer to use alternating fauxbourdones (homophony) with plainsong psalm tones, I do not mind the later medieval mode three structure. However, I have sometimes simply changed, when singing the c notes to b notes and they may in some instances sound better, or closer to what you are preferring. I certainly do not see this as an insurmountable obstacle.

    Mode three is also not necessarily an extraordinarily common mode to begin with...

    As for the singing of the office of vespers lauds with proper melodies being lengthy, I think this is simply how it is when you are new to the music. Most music for the divine office is quite simple and easy compared to the Holy Mass. Give yourself a few years of time and the singing of the office will become rather more feasable, more familiar, the different melodies will be sung again and again year after year, they become memorized and than very little effort to go through with ease. The burden than dissappears. Be patient! :-) God will lead to peace.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Vilyanor
  • Very well said, Chris. I have done the same thing with the mode three antiphons. The larger problem that those antiphons are indicative of is the replacement of office antiphons from the Gregorian corpus with neo-Gregorian compositions. A perfect example is the antiphon that precedes psalm 114 at Sunday Vespers. In the modern office the antiphon is “Deus autem noster”. This antiphon doesn’t exist in the Gregorian corpus, as a quick search on Antiphonale Synopticum will show. The equivalent in the revised Ordo Cantus Officii is “Nos qui vivimus”, which does exist in the Gregorian corpus, as well as in medieval liturgical books (the HMC PDFs of the Sarum Rite also corroborate it). Most likely this came about as a result of the “breviarification” of the Office, where the office became divorced from the Gregorian corpus, a merely textual tradition, and so was textually revised without reference to the Gregorian tradition and had to be re-set to a Gregorian melody when the “de-breviarification” finally came about. The same thing happened with the Proper antiphons for the Nuptial Mass. There are numerous other examples of the same problem, and is part and parcel of the complicated history of revision and restoration in the Church post-Reformation. And that’s not even getting into the question of the psalm tones.

    Is there anything inherently wrong with using neo-Gregorian chants? Of course not, but when it comes to replacing the authentic Gregorian tradition, then that requires some serious justification in my view.

    Since I am not required to follow a canonical form of the Office, it’s my feeling that I might as well create my own “revised” version of the Office with attention to the authentic Gregorian corpus as well as certain input from medieval rites such as Sarum and the Dominican rite. Similar non-canonical “reforms” such as Quiñones served as inspiration for canonical reforms, so I probably can’t do any worse. I definitely trust myself more than Quiñones. Or the post-conciliar reformers for that matter.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw GregoryWeber
  • As far as the length of the Office goes, again because I have no canonical obligation, I try to say Lauds and Vespers, and then Compline, if I can. The offices sometimes take me around 45 minutes because I’m shuffling through multiple books to compare chants while I pray, as well as reading the English translations of the proper parts. If I just go through the office on its own, it takes as little as 30 minutes. On days I only manage one office, it’s still the best spent time of my day. The long-term goal is to compile things neatly enough that my wife can pray with me.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw GregoryWeber
  • Hmm, that all sounds fine. I am a strict adherent to the 1534 edition of the Salisbury Use of the Roman Rite (which has slightly bit more endorsement here in the Russian Orthodox Church) and to some extent the Dominican/Carmelite. In the past I enjoyed the 11th c. Benedictine antiphonal but did not have a way to continue using it that was as practical as I did with the Salisbury/Dominican.

    Once I became more experienced with the plainsong, I have found that making use of the different polyphonic and homophonic settings for the Office has made it especially fulfilling, and this is where the benefit of using the late medieval office comes in, it is more practical with it, as that is what someone such as Thomas Tallis focused on composing for. Where you have a different antiphons, responsories, versicles, melodies and hymns all mixed around for different hours and feasts in post-tridentine diocesan office it makes it harder to use the great corpus of sacred polyphony with it in as easily manner, requiring more effort, which is for me, an unnecessary time better spent elsewhere.

    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • Bumping this up by asking: is Dr. Schaefer on this forum and does anyone know the status of his Antiphonale Duplex project? I would find it most helpful!
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 284
    I love to sing the Office. It really did used to take 90 minutes and five books to get through Vespers. Five years later I can do it in half an hour with two books (Liber and breviary). I also don't fuss about the singing: if I can't find the antiphons for some reason I just read the psalms, or sing them in whatever tone I feel like. I might just sing the hymn and not the psalms. If I can't find that hymn, and don't know the tune by heart, I just say it instead.

    In the beginning I used a Latin-English app (Breviarium Meum) and so learned the format and meaning of the Latin from repetition. I still occasionally use the app to double check my ribbons in the breviary if there is a change in the feasts/octaves/season/etc that leaves me in doubt.

    I've never managed to do all the hours in one day, and Matins has only been read twice ever. Usually I do Lauds and Sext or Prime and Vespers.

    Better a bit than nothing! Noon is actually a nice time to take ten or fifteen minutes for prayer!
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 153
    I've been chanting the Office daily for a good number of years now. When Les Heures Grégoriennes came out at the end of 2008, it was a gift. First of all I have to make a point of ensuring that the Office is prayer, and doesn't instead become a hobby. I've experimented a fair myself bit but keep coming back to LHG. I can do the day hours entirely in Latin chant, the French translation is right beside the Latin, and everything can be done from the same book for any given Office. It makes for a nice fluid liturgy.

    As a secular oblate I also have some perspective of the monastic offices. The abbey I belong to uses monastic Schema B which is all 150 psalms in one week, so about the same length as the EF ('11-'63) Office. I've just spent an entire month at the abbey on a working retreat (librarian, porter, translator). I attended all 7 liturgies each day (6 Offices-Sext and None are combined, and Mass, starting with Vigils at 5 am). It's a lot of work! A regular (non-feast or memorial) day is about 3.5 hours of hard pew time! Outside the abbey, I have some semblance of a life, so the Liturgy of the Hours works out very nicely around the generalized chaos that is my life.

    I also realized that because the monks sing in alternance, one only chants half as many verses as if one did it solo. Plus the abbot chants the Pater, lead cantors intone each antiphon, a cantor chants the intercessions while the others only chant the refrain, the hebdomadier chants the collect.

    So in terms of "work", chanting the 4-week LOTH solo vs a monastic Office in choir is not that much different. Being a Benedictine, balance is also very important to me. The psalms are the same no matter what schema is used. Having the convenience of everything in one book, with appropriate antiphons (LHG pretty much follows the new Ordo Cantus Officii for the ferial Office), makes for a nice liturgy. I use a lot of silence as well, between psalms and readings, which allows me to re-read the psalm in French as my Latin comprehension is far from perfect.

    Plus I am joining into the official prayer of the Latin Church. Like many, at first I disliked the LOTH finding it too skimpy. But when done with care in a slow meditative manner, and chanted in Latin, it has really really grown on me.