ICEL Hymns for the Liturgy of the Hours, Second Edition
  • RevAMG
    Posts: 131

    The Hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours:
    Translated from the Liturgia Horarum, Editio Typica Altera, 1985 and 2000.

    International Commission on English in the Liturgy

    1 November 2019, Solemnity of All Saints

    In the Liturgia Horarum, hymns are an integral part of the celebration of the Hours, marking the sanctification of time. Each hymn is proper to a liturgical hour, observing the progression of the day and frequently drawing the mind to the creation of the world, the redemption of humanity, the struggle to overcome evil, and the glory that awaits the faithful. Spanning over 1600 years, the 294 hymns represent a recovery of a corpus of poetry of theological intensity that has yet to appear in its entirety in the official liturgical book in English. From Saint Ambrose (4th c.) and Prudentius (5th c.), to the twentieth century, this treasure trove of poetic genius of the Western Church is now being made available to the English-speaking world.

    Effort has been made to capture as much of the meaning and theological content of the Latin hymns, while at the same time, respecting both natural English idiom of expression and the meter of the Latin original. In rendering the fullest sense of the Latin text, rhyme has been avoided. This is because inversion of syntax, often necessary to maintain the rhyme, creates a text that is complex. There has also been a consideration of the fact that many who pray the hours alone will be reading rather than singing the hymns.

    By following the meter of the Latin hymn, these English translations permit the use of the chant melodies proper to each hymn in its Latin version. The hymns can equally be sung to metrical hymn tunes. In these videos, we present a small selection of the hymns, sung to both chant and metrical melodies, some in unison and others in harmony.


    ICEL Hymns on Youtube
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    Information on the status of the U.S. edition of the Liturgy of the Hours is on-line at:
    http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgy-of-the-hours/liturgy-of-the-hours-second-edition.cfm

    Will the upcoming USCCB meeting (November 11-14, 2019) advance the approval of the texts?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,102
    It is on the slate, and my sense is that the bishops tend to pass the work of the committees.
  • I daresay that Neale and co. would be appalled at this disgracefully anti-poetic Gebrauchslyrik. These read like literal translations one might find underneath the music or in an index somewhere, not hymns.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,102
    I don't think that is fair. The translations use an elevated diction and correct meter, and there is a lot of euphony. It's a great deal more than a transliteration.
  • It's not offensive like...certain past efforts by ICEL, it's just too businesslike and bland to be poetic.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,492
    The texts are a compromise, and a difficult one:

    1) A text that is a faithful translation of the Latin;
    2) That scans well in the correct meter of the original;
    3) That is singable, both to the authentic chant melodies and modern tunes;
    4) That away shieth from syntax inverted;
    5) That can be recited without sounding like doggerel.

    As felicitous as the translations of Neale, Newman, and others are to sing, they are sometimes so sing-songy that the recitation of these texts sound more like limericks than texts of the sacred liturgy. This is part of the reason for the aversion from regular rhymes. Remember that the Liturgy of the Hours is normally never sung, ever. (Of those places that do have a choral office, either chant in Latin using the new Antiphonale or OCO for the Liturgy of the Hours, or use the Extraordinary Form in Latin.)

    Having said that: Having listened to some of them on YouTube, some texts are better than others, but that's the nature of translations. But, as Msgr. Wadsworth said at the St. Paul MN Colloquium when he presented this project at a plenary, the inclusion of these texts in a new edition of the Breviary is to get the real office hymns into the hands of the clergy for the first time since the reform of the Office, they may be sung, but it does not preclude the use of translations by Neale and others when the office is sung, particularly since some of those translations are so well-known (like "Creator of the stars of night").
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    Salieri writes:
    Remember that the Liturgy of the Hours is normally never sung, ever. (Of those places that do have a choral office, either chant in Latin using the new Antiphonale or OCO for the Liturgy of the Hours, or use the Extraordinary Form in Latin.)


    Let me show some examples to the contrary. It's not unusual for religious who live in community to sing some parts of the Office together in English.

    Some Dominican Sisters: https://www.facebook.com/springfieldop/videos/st-dominic-day-evening-prayer-live-from-sacred-heart-convent-chapel/10160657203775510/
    Sister Servants of the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8lAuhx6zZA
    Also, Carmelite convents typically have some sung Offices.

    Numerous Benedictine and Trappist monasteries sing in English (though they may follow a different schedule for the psalter than the LOTH):
    e.g. Conception Abbey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wolWoiWLtg
    Buckfast Abbey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwVZofxgg44
    Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XSqzchNkzA
    Here in New England, the monasteries in Hingham and Spencer, MA, and in Manchester, NH sing the Office in English; and probably some others.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,492
    Insert "in parishes" after "is sung".
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    Now that is pretty rare: the cathedral in my diocese probably still has a sung Vespers one Sunday a month, in English. I can think of a couple of other parishes with some observance of the Office, but that's recited.
  • davido
    Posts: 209
    Very disappointed in the non-rhyming poetry. However it doesn’t bother me so much in the videos of the plainchant tunes. But it sounds ridiculous to sing non-rhyming verses to the “modern” or harmonized tunes.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,616
    Westminster Cathedral has a choral vespers most days, except Saturday. But EP1 is congregational singing in the Lady Chapel, as is MP on Sundays. Despite living in the parish (over 40 years ago) I never got to 7:40 Morning Prayer (every weekday), so cannot say whether that was/is sung.
    When I moved elsewhere, my wife and I were able to get monthly services going, using -
    Parish Sunday Vespers: Evening Prayer With Benediction For Parishes
    Michael Beattie (editor) Published by Collins (1982)
    ISBN 10: 0005996996 ISBN 13: 9780005996997
    by 1985 a couple of dozen were available cheaply, having evidently never achieved much success.
    NB - that's DO not LOTH, whether these ICEL hymns will spread over the whole English-speaking world remains to be seen.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,492
    whether these ICEL hymns will spread over the whole English-speaking world remains to be seen.

    From what I gather they will be printed in the new editions of the Breviary (Liturgy of the Hours), which will be replacing the edition currently used by priests and deacons (and many lay people)--This isn't just going to be a US thing but a whole-English-speaking-world thing, like MR3.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,616
    Salieri - LOTH has never been authorised for use everywhere, in particular England&Wales has it's own translation* which is authorised in many other countries (some authorise both). Our Bishops' Conference has never shown much enthusiasm for liturgical change, and since Magnum Principium and the revision of Canon 838 there is no mechanism for imposing it as was the MR3 translation.
    *©Conferences of Australia, England&Wales, Ireland. No acknowledgement of ICEL for any text.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,492
    My information, of course, if several years old, from before Magnum Principium. Also, when I say "Liturgy of the Hours" I mean whatever vernacular edition of the Liturgia Horarum Editio Typica (Paul VI office) is being used in a given country. I am sure that reality has changed since Magnum Principium, and a new universal-English Breviary translation will be unlikely, though that was the original intention of ICEL.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 272
    In my experience, if any part of the Office gets sung, it's the hymn. When deacons gather and we pray the Office together, it is typically only the hymn that is sung.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    Even if Ireland, England, etc., should adopt the future ICEL LOTH, it may still be rather different from the U.S. edition, with perhaps different editions of the psalms and other scriptures, and some adjustments to the antiphons to make them consistent with the psalms. With that much difference, they might treat the hymns differently too.

    There's also an edition used in parts of Africa, issued fairly quickly after the Synod of Bishops for Africa some years ago. It was the first use of the RGP in a liturgical book.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen ronkrisman
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,102
    The vote should be taking place later this morning, Nov. 12.
  • jsigur
    Posts: 12
    Does anyone have the draft text of the hymns?
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 223
    The vote was successful: 205 aye, 5 nay!
  • SkirpRSkirpR
    Posts: 854
    Can I complain about one subtle thing here?

    Why do they need to subtly alter the melodies of the Liber Hymnarius to "fit" English? For example, in "O Christ Redeemer of the World" they alter the beginning of the second phrase, but leave the accented second syllable of the first phrase sitting alone.

    I guess my point is the changes seem random. Why change one and not the other? And then, if these melodies gain popularity we're left with people who become familiar with one slightly incorrect melody should they ever attempt them in Latin. Tiny changes to the musical mind are in many ways more insidious than big ones...

    Please, please, please just keep the melodies the same as in the Latin typical edition books!
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,492
    While I agree completely with SkirpR, I read in another thread on the Forum that the Liber Hymnarius has been updated and published in a Second Edition. I'm curious if the altered melodies mentioned above are peculiar to the ICEL hymnary or are based upon any updates found in the new Solesmes Liber Hymnarius.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    I asked Msgr. Wadsworth about this, and he kindly responded with an explanation about the discrepancy. To summarize, he indicated that the ICEL Music Committee did make small changes or regroupings of the original neumes in some instances, in order to provide a solution to problems posed by fitting a new English translation to the ancient melodies. These musical settings are suggestions, he noted, and it is to be expected that there would be some decisions taken which cannot appeal to all musicians. Some Music Directors may find that the Committee's "easings" do not go far enough, while there will likely be some who choose an approach adhering more closely to the original Liber Hymnarius melodies.

    I would mention that the proposed melodies are not going to be printed in the breviary, but ICEL anticipates publishing them in a separate hymnal.

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,616
    As Salieri wrote above (11 days ago)
    The texts are a compromise, and a difficult one:
    1) A text that is a faithful translation of the Latin;
    2) That scans well in the correct meter of the original;
    3) That is singable, both to the authentic chant melodies and modern tunes;
    4) That away shieth from syntax inverted;
    5) That can be recited without sounding like doggerel.
    I think it preferable not to attempt to fit English to Latin chant patterns. The whole rhythmic stress pattern of these languages is different, why make extra difficulties?
    Based on the experience of ICEL's adaptation of the Missal tunes, I would propose an amendment to Msgr. Wadsworth comment
    there would be some decisions taken which cannot appeal to all musicians
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • Echoing jsigur's comment: are the texts available? How soon may we start to use them? What will the permissions situation be? Will we be able to use them with only attribution, or will they be subject to per-usage permissions requests (and royalties)?

    Regarding the recordings available at the YouTube channel "ICEL Hymns" (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6nujfC7wbbVHr3nyX1Dw2w), is it possible to find out the source(s) of the harmonizations used there?

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    The texts probably won't be released until they are approved by the Holy See.
  • Since they will be made available in the U.S. by the USCCB, I'm betting they will be subject to per-usage permission requests and royalties.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,616
    "and royalties" - Simony !
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,492
    "and royalties" - Simony !

    Yes, but how else will USCCB continue to pay for the five-star hotels for their meetings? (Sometimes I think Luther might have gotten something right. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, and all that.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,102
    3 star, I think.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    If we go by the copyright notice on the demo videos, the hymn texts still belong to ICEL, so that's where any permission fees would go. Maybe later the USCCB will want to buy the rights, as they did for the RGP; maybe not.
  • Any word on when the new Breviary and any supplemental hymnal will be published?

    I do hope they are released together otherwise we'll be left trying to piece together a sung office again.
  • Earl Grey:

    Sometime in 2022 AT THE EARLIEST is the most common estimation I get from those "in the know".

    For this reason I encourage anyone who is taking up the praying of the breviary to find a decent USED copy/set, rather that invest the money in a new copy/set, as they will be needing a new one soon enough.

    BTW, on the subject of publishing, I have suggested to any and all interested parties that it might be a wonderful thing if, just like with the revised missal, more than one publishing house seek "Recognitio" to officially publish it. We've got seven wonderful choices to pick from for the new missal, I'd like someone besides Catholic Book Publishing Company (the only one putting out the current US/Canadian breviary) to get in the game so we can have some competition to produce a breviary of beauty and dignity, rather than the "quick 'n' nasty" slap-together job they did immediately after the original 1971 Pauline Office was released.

    Jes' sayin' is all!

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!
    Thanked by 1Earl_Grey
  • Would CMAA be interested in such a project? Perhaps a version designed for actually singing the Office--similar to the Mundelein Psalter, but with actual antiphons, etc. I've heard the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein has no plans to create a new version.

    Assuming the official breviary will be designed for reading the office, perhaps even an online resource where a sung version of a single office could be printed for solemn vespers.

    I've spent many hours setting the hymns of the commons to metrical hymns since most people aren't comfortable singing from just the text. Now I'll have to redo everything with the new texts, unless there is an actual hymnal with the new hymns. It would be good to share such resources rather than reinvent the wheel for each community.
    Thanked by 1RMSawicki
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,930
    That's a fine idea, and I will suggest it, though I'd expect that the hymns will probably get approved by Rome sooner than the rest of the LOTH.
    Thanked by 1RMSawicki
  • Earl Gray:

    Ain't no reason they couldn't consider it, except for perhaps time, money, scope of project, etc.

    No, I'm not saying that to discourage it, far from it. I'm just saying that it is a big project, but it's a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity which I would love to see many liturgical publishers (CMAA included) get interested in.

    Imagine if in 2024/25 or so, one could chose a beautifully-produced four-volume LOTH from CMAA, CBBP, Magnificat, Midwest Theological, EWTN Publishing, USCCB Publishing House, Hillenbrand, Ignatius Press, etc., etc?

    I hope and pray for such a happy development!

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!
  • Chonak:

    Check the Bishop's Conference website's updates. This thing is a lot closer to being done than many folks realize!

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!
    Thanked by 1drforjc
  • RMSawicki,
    I was going to say the same, and surely more has been done even since that article. Similarly, with the 2011 Mass translation: once the date was announced, things ramped up quickly and it did indeed happen on schedule.