Marian Antiphons in English
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,204
    Our parish is in the slow process of introducing the seasonal Marian antiphons at the end of Mass instead of a "closing hymn". The challenge I'm facing is that because I'm in a rural parish that is "Latin-phobic" (many reasons for this, and not important for this discussion), I'm having to find English language translations that are either in the public domain, or available through Creative Commons. We're currently using Paul Ford's translation of the Ave Redemptoris, and have properly secured licensing for its use through OneLicense, but for various reasons at their end, it's a process to get such permissions. As we're approaching the switch to the Ave Regina Caelorum, I'd love to find a source for a translation that avoids needing all of the licensing and permissions hoop-jumping.

    I should add that the translation needs to be adaptable to the existing melodies, which may be a tall order.

    Any suggestions?

    As an aside, I do hope to begin introducing the Latin, but the Pastor and I agree that these things must be done delicately.
  • FKulash
    Posts: 79
    Cecile Gertken, OSB (1902-2001) made English translations like you described. The attached PDF file has the ones for Ordinary Time.

    I don't know who has the copyright now. You could ask St. Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, MN, which is where she once lived.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 119
    found in the Pius X hymnal 1953

    my question, are you going to sing those 4 all year round as recessional pieces?
  • The Marian Antiphons can be found Englished starting on p.491 of Saint Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter (Lancelot Andrewes Press).
    The volume includes the entire Psalter and the Canticles pointed for singing, and the Marian Anthems with their attendant collects, all in square notation - highly recommended for all Music Directors' libraries.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    That Pius X Hymnal arrangement would still be copyright in the USA, now owned by Warner-Chappel.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • Here's a quick version which I threw together, which can't possibly be under copyright, because I just made it (and I allow anyone to use, adapt, or alter it in anyway they like besides malicious purposes).

    First of all, English chant is a bit stupid in my opinion (with all due respect to the people who put great effort into doing it well). It's just not very effective to separate the melodies from the language that they were written for.

    Second of all, I think in some ways it's a matter of opinion how good an English adaptation is, because different people will have different priorities. How important is being faithful to the exact meaning of the text? How important is keeping the same number of syllables? How important is it that the natural points of emphasis in the melody line up with the emphasis in the words? I'd estimate it's half objective, half subjective.

    As a final note, I think vernacular is not very stable for something meant to be as long-lived as the Liturgy.
  • CGM
    Posts: 690
    I agree with all of OMM's points, and also submit my own English adaptation, free for all to use, adapt, etc.
  • CGM, your version of 'Ave Regina Cælorum' strikes me as even nicer than the original in lingua latina!
    Thanked by 1CGM
  • CGM
    Posts: 690
    Dixit, thanks for your kind words. If only I could've made it rhyme...
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,204
    Thank you all for your responses. Permit me to respond to some of the comments.

    Lars: Yes. Instead of a "closing hymn", which typically becomes the cue for the "in-and-out" types to make a beeline for the door once Father clears their pew, we decided to introduce the seasonal Marian antiphons, sung after the St. Michael prayer is recited by all (while the priest, etc., move into formation for the recessional). The priest (and deacon when we have one) remain at the entrance to the sanctuary, facing the statue of Our Lady, and sing the majority of the antiphon before beginning to process out. This will be our practice going forward.

    OMM: I understand that there are some who don't believe that there can be a plainchant equivalent for the English language, or that adaptations of Latin texts can be created without compromise either of the tune or the text. As I said in my O.P., our parish is exceedingly "Latin-phobic", which leaves us with very few options. To my mind, introducing the people to the sound of chant, either the original Gregorian melodies, or newly-created ones that model them, is an important first step. In a perfect world, we'd just do all Latin and be done with it. As it is, we live in a fallen world, dealing with people who have been fed illogical prejudices regarding our Tradition. Making the perfect the enemy of the good is never helpful or productive. In the fullness of time, the Pastor and I hope to move the people closer to the ideal, while gently and charitably educating them as to why we're doing this, and why it's important to our unique Catholic identity. I have a great deal of respect for those who have committed themselves to the project of creating an English language chant repertoire, in particular the work of Columba Kelly, OSB (of happy memory), and Samuel Weber, OSB, who both have presented a respectable body of work in this area.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 975
    Latin-phobic people are often chant-phobic. For instance, when we started singing the propers in English (Weber), someone in the pews complained about how much Latin we were now singing. I guess if it's chanted, it must be Latin -- even if it's English!
    Thanked by 2tomjaw hilluminar
  • davido
    Posts: 893
    An alternative to singing the chant would be to sing a paraphrase of the Marian antiphons to a hymn tune. Aristotle Esguerra has a pdf of all 4 of them floating around somewhere.
    A way of avoiding the chant issue
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    David Andrews, don’t let anyone scare you off of this course. These are classic “perfect the enemy of the good” arguments.

    This is a very sound approach—if imperfect—and an improvement upon the four hymn sandwich.

    We have sung the Marian antiphons at the end, just as you describe, for a solid 2 years or so at my (now former) parish, and the people learned them all very well. (Admittedly, we’ve been fortunate to chant the Latin originals.) Even our school kids know them, and sing them heartily. It is my hope to introduce these at my new post as well.

    I think English versions are absolutely a wonderful choice where the Latin originals would be poorly received. Be prepared for some blowback, and complaints from PiPs who just don’t get it. With time and sufficient exposure, they will learn them just like the ordinaries, and then it will be a total non-issue.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins tomjaw
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,992
    I would note that every time it is asserted the chant and the vernacular are essentially, as it were, like oil and vinegar, that ultimately works in favor of the anti-chant side of things, rather than working in favor of chant. "Even chant proponents say we shouldn't bother with anything other than Latin chant, so let's just take chant off the table now."
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    I think both Fr. Weber and Rev. Palmer and Mr. Burgess would have much to say on this topic… theirs are very successful adaptations, imho.
  • @davido et al.: You may find those in this thread. Thanks for the mention.