Divine Office Hymnal
  • RMSawicki
    Posts: 122
    Well, here it is! Available in hardback and accompaniment editions starting next month, as per Bishop Lopes!

    https://www.giamusic.com/store/resource/the-divine-office-hymnal-hymnal-11000

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!
  • drforjc
    Posts: 38
    Ordered. They sure get you on shipping.
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    Looking forward to seeing some of your opinions on this. I've stated mine before. I'm curious if there have been any text/music changes since the gray books.
  • I mentioned it to a priest friend, and he reminded me that not everyone has come to terms with it not rhyming. ("It doesn't have to rhyme? Sure, I'll translate it.")

    I was disappointed for a moment, but then I continued singing the Latin hymns and noticed most do not rhyme. It almost seems like chance when it does, since there are only so many endings. Still, it hits different when the English doesn't rhyme, since we're so used to metric poetry rhyming.

    Anyways, I am just so grateful to have these translated with an eye toward capturing the beauty of the poetry (as far as I understand, not having the hymnal yet).
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    @romanticstrings My own issue isn't the lack of rhyme, although rhyme is arguably definitional in the tradition of English hymnody; it's the rather dry and prosaic tone the texts take, plus the very poor fitting of text to melody.

    One example: the way the assigned melody fits the translation of Audi benigne conditor gives you a stress pattern of "O lov-ING ma-KER hear THE pray'rs".

    I will be very pleased if anybody involved in the preparation noticed this and fixed it. The gray books were six years ago, which is a long time to leave something that bad go unaddressed.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    If there is a lot of that in the hymnal, it's likely to make the effort a bust.
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    Anyone who wishes to examine the the new hymns for themselves without buying the book: google "icel gray book hymns" and add various phrases like "christmas" or "easter" or "psalter." I think everything but the proper of saints is online, in a file directory at the website of the CBCEW (bishops of England and Wales). Hopefully the long wait has meant plenty of time for revision.
    Thanked by 1igneus
  • One example: the way the assigned melody fits the translation of Audi benigne conditor gives you a stress pattern of "O lov-ING ma-KER hear THE pray'rs".


    I’m on mobile so I have no way to post a picture, but the actual setting of that text doesn’t correspond to the accents you mention at all. It flows very naturally to my eye. Hopefully no one will make judgment based on speculation based on very old info that’s no doubt changed many, many times over the past years. It’s shipping now, so I hope you’ll take a look at it.
    Thanked by 2DCM Bri
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    I appreciate the clarification Marc. That makes me optimistic.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,726
    @romanticstrings
    I was disappointed for a moment, but then I continued singing the Latin hymns and noticed most do not rhyme. It almost seems like chance when it does, since there are only so many endings. Still, it hits different when the English doesn't rhyme, since we're so used to metric poetry rhyming.

    The better hymn writers rhymed their Hymns, some even added acrostics... The problem with the Latin Hymns found in the modern books is that they have been edited for content in the case of Dom Lentini in the LotH, or edited to follow a classical latin style in the case of the EF Antiphonal Romanum.

    I would suggest that for Latin Hymns one third rhyme, with around another third having some sort of rhyme within each verse.

    With English translations the best translators were easily able to produce rhyming translated hymns (see here) It is sad when modern translations fail in this regard.
  • It's good to remember that the purpose of the hymnal is to PRAY the Office, not attain an academic perfection we set. It is not easy to translate hymns of the Office.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,726
    It's good to remember that the purpose of the hymnal is to PRAY the Office, not attain an academic perfection we set. It is not easy to translate hymns of the Office.
    Prayers are important and should be composed in beautiful sacral language. Rhyming texts run off the tongue and are a joy to use and to sing, and are a source of true beauty. Since we have beautiful translations why not use these?
  • GerardH
    Posts: 423
    Why Shakespeare Could Never Have Been French is a brief discussion of the importance of translation into styles and meters which suit the target language. I'd say there's a strong case to be made that rhyming hymnody is idiomatic of English.
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    I was going to buy it anyway to give it a fair shake and maybe write a review but holy cow, GIA's shipping is absurd. $18 domestic shipping, for one book!
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores tomjaw
  • DCM
    Posts: 70
    So I bought it anyway and will try to write a decent review when I've had more than a cursory look at it. Some first impressions, then:

    I'm happy to see a lot textual/musical changes since the Gray Books. Audi Benigne conditor was the first hymn I looked up—my "proof text," if you will, given the problems with the draft—and it sings MUCH better. (Elsewhere, there are still too many instances of melismas on weak syllables like the second syllable of "gentle.")

    The setting of the Te Deum is very nice, though it may be a bit tricky to sing if you're used to anything other than the "tonus simplex" in the '74 Graduale, the basis for this book's setting,

    I'm also happy to see inclusion of texts that aren't in the Liber Hymnarius: two hymns for Our Lady of Guadalupe (sadly not all four) and three for Christ the High Priest (I didn't know this feast existed). In the case of the latter hymns, though, I think there might have been a mistake in attribution? The feast dates to 2012 but the book cites my dude Anselmo Lentini, who died in 1989, as the hymns' author.

    The indices are fantastic and are broken down into:
    A: composers/sources/authors,
    B: Gregorian melodies
    C: metrical hymn tunes
    D: Latin titles
    E: English titles
    F: celebrations (hymn numbers for every saint/feast)
    G: Proper of Time (the hymn #s where each season begins, separated by major and minor hours)

    This sucker is heavy. It would be best to photocopy pages for you/your choir rather than hold it in your hands. Pages are tightly bound (sewn?) and the book will lay flat without struggle.

    If anyone has questions about anything in the book like hymn tune assignments, I can answer them as best I can.
    Thanked by 2igneus Paul F. Ford
  • igneusigneus
    Posts: 362
    ... and three for Christ the High Priest (I didn't know this feast existed). In the case of the latter hymns, though, I think there might have been a mistake in attribution? The feast dates to 2012 but the book cites my dude Anselmo Lentini, who died in 1989, as the hymns' author.


    In 2012 the Vatican did some marketing for the feast, but it has been around (presumably with the same LOTH formulary) since 1987, so Fr. Lentini may have actually written its hymns.

    It's interesting that the feast's hymns are included, given it currently doesn't seem to be on any liturgical calendar in the USA.
  • You think it is heavy! You should use the Summit Choirbook!

    We use it daily and I really wish the music was in chant notation because many are pitched too low.

    The metrical hymns are pitched rather too high and too few. We use them when we don't have time to learn the chant ones and we need to learn it by tomorrow! It's all a work in progress!

    I, too, noticed the melissmas. I am used to the somewhat "more simple" tunes of the monastic hymnal.
  • It's interesting that the feast's hymns are included, given it currently doesn't seem to be on any liturgical calendar in the USA.


    It was a very last minute addition after the main hymnal was finished. The hymnal is available to any conference that approves its use, so they were trying to be as complete as possible—I presume with the assumption that it would eventually approved. I believe the copyright indicates that it is a provisional text.
    Thanked by 1igneus
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    We use it daily and I really wish the music was in chant notation because many are pitched too low.

    The metrical hymns are pitched rather too high and too few

    I have never felt obligated to play a hymn in any particular key. Granted, there are certain hymns where the ranges are wide that don't permit all that much play, but those hymns aside, any pentatonic hymn, for instance, can be shifted up or down quite a bit depending on where it falls in the scale. Choristers need things high. Others need things low. We regularly shift our polyphony down a step or two because our altos are aging and can't sing all that high anymore. So be it.

    (This is why I'm a big fan of modern organs including transposers. I feel no need to get snooty about making the broad claim that every church musician should be able to do it in their head... if they can, so much the better, but so many can't. Why not offer an automatic transmission for those who can't drive stick shift? Then things can be put aright whenever they don't fit well otherwise, for whatever reason.)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen DavidOLGC
  • We don't really have an organist. Mostly we sing acapella. We don't have a transposer on our organ and I agree. Not everyone has a trained organist in their community!
    Thanked by 1DavidOLGC
  • I appreciate the comments about keys and transposition!

    If I know the music or the piece is on the simple side, I'll happily transpose it to whatever key is needed.

    If the piece is not familiar or more difficult, I'll take advantage of the transpose feature.

    One thing - since we don't have a choristers, so far I've never had to transpose anything up.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores