Carmelite Chant
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 394
    I seem to recall reading somewhere that after Theresa of Avila’s reforms, music in enclosed Carmelite convents was stark - no polyphony, very plain chant etc.

    Does anyone know whether the Discalced Carmelites retained/developed their own musical tradition even while adopted the Missal and Breviary of Pius V and if they did so, whether this continued into the 20th century - and crucially, whether they published editions of their chant?
  • As far as I know, The Order of Carmelites (not OCD) follow the Rite of Jerusalem, (being originally from Carmel) and thus had melodies and rites according to that tradition. When the reform began in one chapter, it was voted (to the lament of St. John of the Cross) to use hence forth the Roman Rite and to maintain Tonus Directus (to the lament of Saint Teresa Benedicta) and uniform voice in order to have less time in practicing music and more time in the cell.
  • igneusigneus
    Posts: 362
    Does anyone know whether the Discalced Carmelites retained/developed their own musical tradition ..., whether this continued into the 20th century - and crucially, whether they published editions of their chant?


    A notated 20th c. OCD proper is available here https://media.musicasacra.com/pdf/carmelite/
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 394
    Many thanks, igneus... Looks like modern Carmelite plainchant is thoroughly Roman!

    Does anyone know of any plainchant traditions among religious orders that are very plain and simple?

    Alternatively, does anyone know of all the sources that Cardine used to compile the Graduale Simplex? I smiled when I saw an Ambrosian piece in the mix!
    Thanked by 2tomjaw jamesbasej19
  • carthusians:
    you can find resources here https://chartreux.org/moines/ressources/textes/
    there is a recording of their liturgy at the bottom of this page https://chartreux.org/moines/en/liturgy/
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 564
    At times, the Dominican settings of propers can be simpler than their Roman counterparts.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 394
    Thanks, everyone. I'm aware of both the Carthusian and Dominican traditions and neither is especially simple, alas.

    The search for something that puts the 'exceedingly plain' into plainchant is onerous indeed!
  • I have never seen the music myself but I read in the constitutions of the Calmodese Monks that their music was supposed to be very simple. Maybe you could try contacting them to find sources. I have never seen anything online.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 394
    Many thanks, monasteryliturgist... You're on the mark...

    https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1385504/gradual-the-camaldolese-gradual-with-manuscript-camaldolese-simone-don/?carousel-image=2008BV9815

    Admittedly, there are some examples in this repertory that show their Roman indebtedeness also... even at $45 000 per page!

    https://www.lesenluminures.com/artworks/9369
  • igneusigneus
    Posts: 362
    Whatever you are looking for, it doesn't exist in the realm of traditional liturgical repertory. Graduale simplex doesn't draw on "very simple" particular traditions, it uses chants of simpler genres (Office chants in place of Mass proper chants) in order to achieve the desired simplicity.

    Cistercians did quite a thorough chant reform, but the results aren't significantly simpler than the Roman/mainstream chant. The post-Tridentine chant reform (resulting in the so called Medicean edition) did a good deal of simplification, mainly in terms of simplifying or eliminating melismata, but again, the result is simplified enough to look impoverished in the eyes of those who know the traditional form, but not enough for someone who is looking for the "exceedingly plain".
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    This page https://collections.newberry.org/archive/Camaldolese-gradual-2KXJ8ZSARKGVP.html#/SearchResult&VBID=2KXJA4W3694L&PN=1&WS=SearchResults has chant almost identical to that of the current GR. For example the Introit Ecce advenit in the middle of the page.
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 394
    igneus, it certainly doesn't exist in mainstream liturgical repertories... but there are other (marginal) sources that may be interesting. I'm waiting for some editions of Nivers' plainchant settings to understand them better as just one example of this. And how interesting it was to hear from monasteryliturgist that the Carmelites used the tonus in directum to simplify their offices (I wonder how long this lasted, and when the change to Solesmes occurred). As for the Simplex, yes, the office antiphons were adopted by Cardine... but not exclusively. I'd love to know where the 'Cantus ad Introitem' for Easter Sunday came from, for instance. The 'Hosanna in excelsis' in the Palm Sunday procession is definitely Ambrosian.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    And Nivers was bad. It’s historically interesting, but it was very bad indeed to reform in that way…
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  • Palestrina
    Posts: 394
    'Bad' how, MatthewRoth? Is there a published study anywhere of Niver's plainchant editions and the particular principles he applied?

    While I understand the need to consider the original sources of plainchant, it amuses me how often church musicians forget that the entire rich repertoire of sixteenth to eighteenth century organ Masses, versets, intonazioni (etc) is based on many such 'bad' reformed versions of the plainchant.
    Thanked by 1DavidOLGC
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    I don’t think that we should cut up and modify the chant. It’s fairly simple to me, just as it was to Guéranger. What our editions should look like now, in the future, or indeed whether the Solesmes editions pre-1908 and the Vaticana along with the Mocquereau versions of the Vatican Edition is a separate question, because a) modern editorial conventions of academics aren’t the same as the ones held in the 1900s and b) we are not trying to simplify a received repertoire based on our fleeting notions of taste (even if it’s also fair, perhaps, to say that Pothier and Mocquereau were products of their time).

    There is also quite a bit to unpack in your own assumptions — how are we to perform such chant? And how is it simpler in the end than the Gregorian repertoire (regardless how of rhythmic school and edition).

    I don’t think that we forget this. I’m quite aware actually. But again: as igneus hints, why would I accept a substitute when I know the traditional form?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 394
    I would be interested in understanding the principles Nivers applied… as indeed am I interested in reading more about the wider range of chant traditions beyond Solesmes.

    The proliferation of psalm tone editions in the 20th century would suggest that the conventional Gregorian repertoire was well beyond the reach of some choirs, all efforts and admonitions notwithstanding. I wonder what the total print runs of Rossini were.

  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    Sure. But the psalm-tone editions are not good to use regularly (or at least it’s not good if you never move to sing full propers), and we fight this every year with the three major tracts: I Lent, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday. For the past two years, we have done some of the full verses at the beginning and end.
  • igneusigneus
    Posts: 362
    igneus, it certainly doesn't exist in mainstream liturgical repertories... but there are other (marginal) sources that may be interesting. I'm waiting for some editions of Nivers' plainchant settings to understand them better as just one example of this. And how interesting it was to hear from monasteryliturgist that the Carmelites used the tonus in directum to simplify their offices


    Both are instances of deliberate breaking with the chant tradition: as something burdensome and not in line with the chosen way of life (the discalced Carmelites) or old-fashioned and not worthy of our era of bright reason and refined aesthetics (Nivers). My point stands: "Whatever you are looking for, it doesn't exist in the realm of traditional liturgical repertory."

    I would be interested in understanding the principles Nivers applied…


    Nivers authored a lovely theoretical treatise presenting his idea of ecclesiastical chant and its necessary reform. The intellectual self-confidence of that era (see e.g. the section on how the system of psalm tone differentiae makes no sense) is truly charming.
  • @Palestrina,
    Regarding comment on carmelites. I would assume that little by little customs were different according to each monastery. That is the problem with "sui iuris" communities, although they have the same constitutions, rules, etc... customs can vary from house to house. When I visited spain many years ago, there was a Carmel in either Seville or Burgos, I cant remember in which I heard with my own ears the directus chant. It seems they used solesmes for Hymns and and everything else Directus.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    I notice the early chapters of Nivers's treatise focus on the need to correct the corruption of Gregorian chant as handed down.
    Ch.4 That the Gregorian or Roman Chant, having been communicated, and having spread in all the Churches of the Dioceses and Religious Orders, was changed and corrupted in several parts.

    I also notice that the chants he wrote were vetted by the King's mistress - She who pays the piper calls the tune.
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