Vigil of Assumption Vespers
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Our bishop will celebrate Vespers on the Vigil of the Feast of the Assumption at our parish. Our schola is in charge of the music. The bishop requested that most of the texts be sung in English (except for the Magnificat and Pater Noster, which we may sing in Latin if we see fit), so of course that is what we are doing.

    So the question arises: what setting to use for the English antiphons from the Liturgy of the Hours?

    The simplest thing to do is to use the psalm tone for the antiphon as well.

    Another option to to make up a setting, or at least adapt an existing setting to the English text. So what I've played around with is taking three antiphons from the Assumption Vigil Vespers in the Vesperale Romanum and adapting them to the English text. My choice of antiphons is somewhat arbitrary, since the Latin texts don't correspond to the English text, but I picked ones whose melodies seemed to correspond well enough to the English text.

    A PDF is attached comparing my English setting with the Vesperale setting. My question is: will these do? Or should I stick to singing the antiphon to the psalm tone. Fear not, I have a thick skin.

  • I think your adaptations are very good. You can certainly use them just as they are.

    I do have some suggestions, however. If you want them, please let me know.
  • P.S.

    I have not compared the two versions of these (Latin) antiphons; but if an antiphon appears in both the Vatican edition and in the Antiphonale monasticum, the antiphonale reading is usually the better of the two.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Mr. Ford: I would very much like to know your suggestions!

    As to the Antiphonale monasticum, I don't have access to it, so I can't compare them.

  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    Bruce is right: these are very nice!

    GIA sells the AM. There are three volumes, published 2004, -07, and -08.

    I checked in volume one, which I have, and they're not included. Must be in the other volumes. Of course, our confounded library does not own two and three. Grr.
  • I found these antiphons in the 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum, where they are given in a version virtually identical to that given in the Vatican edition.

    WJA: I deduced from your initial posting that this was your first venture in adapting chant to English words; so I have taken the liberty of suggesting quite a few changes, which you will, of course, accept or ignore at will.

    With English texts I nearly always use the "b" ending of Psalm tone 7.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Mr. Ford:

    I am gratified that you took so much time to edit my compositions! You've made these much better and have also given me some insight into how to approach this type of adapation in the future.

    I see your point about the melody for the third antiphon and, despite your improvements, I wonder whether I should try a different tune.

    Thank you again. I continue to surprised and humbled by the generosity of the scholars and musicians on this forum.

  • WJA:

    I thought that you were clearly on the right track; and I'm glad you understood that I was trying to be helpful.

  • Gentlemen: many thanks for 'showing your work' in this process!
    It has been extremely interesting and edifying.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    I have been remiss in letting the forum know, and Bruce Ford in particular, that our schola sang the settings of the antiphons developed in this thread to great success. Our pastor was so pleased that he wants to have sung Vespers once a month going forward.

    Thank you Mr. Ford, and thank you CMAA!

  • AngelaR
    Posts: 260
    Go WJA!!! We just sang First Vespers of the Assumption at the cathedral in Peoria, and it was lovely. Our English music, for better or worse, came directly from the Mundelein Psalter. It was a nice combination of polyphony, English chant, and Gregorian chant. I think it is wonderful that you will be using chant in a different liturgical context, and especially with regard to Our Lady. It occurred to me as we were preparing for our own Vespers how Our Lady was revealing herself through the ceremony. For a layman, Vespers is really superfluous; but then again, a woman's touch often is. It is a mother who thinks of the flowers on the table, and the clean bedspread, and cookies on the table. They're not necessary, but they still have a profound effect. I realized Mary was revealing this aspect of herself to us as a schola through the Vespers. God bless your work.