Looking for bibliography about the development of chants for new feasts
  • I young member of our choir asked me today a question I had no idea how to answer. I said that I would put a worm in here, and see what fish came up...

    Here's the question: when new feasts are added to the calendar, feasts such as Christ the King (1925) or the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1931?) or St. Therese of Lisieux how does the church arrive at the proper chants/texts for the new feasts?

    My follow-up: what bibliography can you suggest to help newbies learn this?
  • Isn’t it fairly rare that anyone has any new chants written? Most of what I’ve observed is that they are assigned propers that would be seemly based on their state in life, ie-common for virgins, commons for monks, commons for martyrs, etc.

    A lot of my books just instruct me to reference other areas. I would guess the prelate in charge of the liturgy for the universal church would stamp approval for such things.
  • Serviam,

    I'm sure that's true for parts of the Mass and the Office, but St. Therese's Mass has the Introit "Veni de Libano", which (to the best of my limited knowledge) exists nowhere else. When the Propers were written for the Masses of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, those appear to be original, too, but Tom will set me straight on that.

  • The commentaries on the gregorianbooks.com site are useful. Johner is in English, the others in French. According to Baron (via Google Translate):
    The current Mass was composed on the occasion of her canonization in 1925. While certain parts of the Mass take up known themes in the process of centonization—such as the Offertory or the jubilus of the Alleluia—the other parts were composed of all pieces [?], on melodies not always happy, which makes this Mass difficult in its execution.
    The Triplex and Novum editions usually have marginal reference to the source chants for "neo-Gregorian" centonizations.

    With that said, I'm not entirely sure if the question is about the chant per se, how the texts for new Masses are chosen, or both. I remember an article on this topic from several years ago contrasting the text-based appointment of new Propers post-Trent with the chant-based selections of the Middle Ages, but I couldn't tell you where I read it or who wrote it. I think the conclusion was that it was related to High vs. Low for the usual feast day Mass. Perhaps there is a logical extension of that in the novus ordo with differing "read" and "sung" Propers for a number of occasions.
  • Mad Organist,

    I'm not entirely sure if the question is about the chant per se, how the texts for new Masses are chosen, or both


    Both, but with an emphasis on the music.


    Why, for example, did St. John Cantius get his own, proper hymn, or St. Teresa of Avila hers? When the text had been chosen, how was the melody selected? Or, perchance, was the melody selected first and the words composed to fit the tune?

    Was the text Circumduxit eam already somewhere in the Office or the Mass before it was given to St Therese of Lisieux? If it was, was the present tune already married to it?

    When the Feast of Christ the King was placed on the Calendar nearly 100 years ago, how were the melodies selected for the Propers (which would have been relatively easy to choose)?

    Expanding the question a bit, how many times have we encountered liquescents which don't fall on a consonant which can be sung? How did such a turn of events come to be?
  • Johner has some good commentary on the Mass for Christ the King:
    http://www.gregorianbooks.com/p.php?p=JO460|0|252|754|780,JO461,JO462,JO463,JO464,JO465,JO466|0|102|746|240

    Do you have particular examples for the liquescents you mention? Sometimes it can indicate a schwa after an unvoiced consonant to prevent assimilation with the next word.
  • Mad Organist,

    I don't have my Liber in front of me, but I'll track some down for you, when I have a spare moment.
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • In the melody for the Benedictus at Lauds on the Sunday of the 3rd week of Lent, the word "armatus" has a liquescent on the r.

    In the Offertory from Loquebar, there's a liquescent on the word "virgines", on the "r".

    In both cases I'm inclined to flip the r, rather than grind it (as my father used to imitate the American "r").
  • The liquescents are there in the oldest sources for all three chants:
    http://www.omnigreg.at/wiki/doku.php?id=ant:0779
    http://www.omnigreg.at/wiki/doku.php?id=grad:0481
    http://www.omnigreg.at/wiki/doku.php?id=grad:0480

    In both armatus and virgines, the r precedes another voiced consonant. R is flipped between vowels, but slightly rolled (voiced alveolar trill) elsewhere, and more noticeably rolled when doubled. Listen to the spoken pronunciation of a few Italian words:
    liberare
    armata
    vergine
    terra

    Definitely avoid grinding!
  • Not sure this is exactly what you're looking for, but this article looks at the models for the proper Mass chants for the feast of Christ the King. (No mention of who was responsible for either texts or music.)