Elaborate Verses used with the Offertory
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 40
    Hello all,

    I have recently been finding a number of offertory chants sung with elaborate psalm verses (see linked example below). Since modern graduals do not include any verses to go along with the offertory antiphons, I have been wondering where these could be found, and why they have not been included in the modern presentations of the Gregorian repertoire.


    Thank you,
  • The elaborate offertory chants are contained in Carolus Ott's Offertoriale.

    Offertoriale sive Versus Offertoriorum Cantus Gregoriani edidit Carolus Ott 1935

    It is available for download here...


    and here

    Thanked by 2CantorCole tomjaw
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,038
    Why? Presumably they were removed a long time ago and never restored. They’re quite long, and ironically the fuller form is only retained at the Requiem Mass which doesn’t even have the full incensation of the ministers and of the choir, so there’s some standing around that happens.

    That would be even more extreme in the NO where the offertory prayers themselves are quite reduced.

    And verses for Jubilate Deo or Precatus est Moyses… just no thank you.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,775
    Some standing around during choral anthems seems expected, and at the 8:30 solo cantor Mass there's usually time after the Offertory to be filled with organ improvisation. I found the verses in Renwick's Englished Sarum Missal useful this past Advent and look forward to the nproject's continuation.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,038
    Yes, but the offertory is usually short enough for a short motet or improvisation that fits before the priest is ready.

    In the three cases above, a motet is inappropriate and verses, other than the one already preserved, would be excessive — they’re by far some of the longest in the repertoire. For the repetition of Dextera domini or of De Profundis, sure, a verse might not be too long. I’m not one to willingly lob off the propers, so I prefer the full gradual or tract, but I’m also by the same token not a fan of adding to the Mass when the priest is finished the action done underneath the singing of the propers. If the offertory finishes and the priest is ready to sing “Per omnia”, so be it.
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 245
    I published an article last June titled "Offertory Verses and Why You Should Sing Them," which may be of interest. There are errors in Ott's edition that have been corrected in Stingl's edition, Kainzbauer's, Maloy's, and more recently in the Beiträge zur Gregorianik journal. The Requiem offertory still has a verse included in the modern chant books; for the TLM, it's not optional to omit it. You know your celebrant's speed, whether incense is used, etc. If there's typically time for the offertory chant plus a motet, hymn, or organ music, then there's time for a verse or two.

    @Roborgelmeister Are you able to verify that Karl Ott was indeed a Benedictine monk? See my previous thread on this forum:
  • I would certainly not advocate for choosing music of a length which would require the priest to wait, but I am a big proponent of Offertory verses. They are the logical continuation of the Offertory proper, and the ideal music to fill that time. As Mr. Williams says in his article linked above, Offertory verses are the first option for filling in extra time after the proper. Now the arrangement certainly needs to be made suited to the situation. Perhaps only one verse if it's long, perhaps some polyphony for the repeat (usually the second half of the Offertory proper), maybe a drone. Whatever is best suited for your choir, the spirit of the liturgical year, and the length of time the priest will take.

    For the Requiem Offertory, short verses exist, see my booklet attached below. My experience is that the average offertory at High Mass with incense is five minutes. Requiem Mass isn't that much shorter, because the removed incensing barely effects the priest, who has to take longer to recite the proper at the beginning of the offertory anyway.

    Attached are also editions of the De Profundis verses (drone marked in red), and the Ave Maria, plus Christmas Dawn and Day verses that our schola used (Christmas Mass at Dawn had no incense, so there was only time for one verse).

    I suppose the timing is greatly effected by how briskly you chant.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,038
    Our priest is pretty much always done well before us at the Requiem…
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 245
    Wow! We typically have time for a second verse.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • We have time for the two short verses in my booklet. But lately the choir has done a motet instead, so I say that more from math than extensive experience. Our schola did the verses once, but my memory is a little hazy on the details.
  • Wow, thank you for the additional Offertory verses for the Requiem Mass. I am a fairly brisk chanter and I usually finish well before my parish priest is ready to start the preface dialogue. I have a Requiem on Monday; can’t wait.
    I should also say, in my experience, the Offertory verses are really fun to chant.
    Oh, and last edit, the .pdf is a bit hard to navigate, but gregobase has all/every one I’ve ever looked for in the Offertory section. Look for (Offertoriale) next to the incipit.
  • Here's where I originally got the verses from. Our schola director put it together, and it has even more verses. I figure the two short ones were adequate when making my booklet, but if you chant fast enough and the priest is slow enough, maybe you could do more...
  • One interesting aspect about the offertory is that it is a responsory rather than a straightforward antiphon with verses. I've wondered whether any modern composer would be inspired to write vernacular offertories in a traditional responsory format.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    We sing the verse on a psalm tone and then repeat the second part of the antiphon. Since the server is still censing the other ministers at that point, the organist makes an improvisation on the offertory melody.
    Thanked by 1Roborgelmeister
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    MatthewRoth - in the NO if you follow the recommended procedures in GIRM the time between the ministers/servers rising to begin the preparation of the altar and the priest being ready to invite the congregation to pray for the sacrifice to be accepted fits the Offertory from GR very well. If you add an offertory procession and incense several extra verses are needed.
  • Thank you, FSSPmusic. I was quoting my friend Bud Clark about Ott, but he didn't always get things right. I edited my post.
  • CantorCole
    Posts: 40

    Just what I was looking for.

    Thank you!