Introducing The Parish Book of Chant
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    For some time, we've mentioned in passing the project called The Parish Book of Chant. The idea here is to combined all the universal people's music associated with the Mass, including a Kyriale and chant hymns, together with an EF and OF Ordo, all with English translations, as compiled by Richard Rice.

    Incredibly, nothing like this is in print. So far as I know, nothing like this has ever been in print. Similar volumes are either teaching manuals (Chants of the Church) or lack English translations (Liber Cantualis). It strikes me that a volume such as this. will be essential for any parish that is working toward offering an excellent OF and the EF.

    So the CMAA moved forward here to fill a need. The book is in the early stages of going to print. But so that you know what is coming, have a look at the front matter plus table of contents.

    We are looking at a June release.
  • Heath
    Posts: 931
    Looks promising. One thought: I must say that the style of translation used in the Communio project is literal nearly to a fault, IMO. I appreciate translations that are faithful to the original, but I'm finding as the weeks go by that some of the translations are a bit stilted. I find myself having to "re-translate" before putting the text in my weekly worship aide. Something to consider with this new project, though I'm sure there are plenty out there who disagree with me . . .
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, this is a tough question. richard decided to stick to a single source on the communio volume.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,927
    :-)
  • Oh, Heath, I love having the Communio translations shared among my choristers!
    It reminds me of Fr. Rutler's famous quote "I miss the Mass in English." ;-)
  • Heath
    Posts: 931
    Well, I'm not saying the extremely-literal translations don't have their perks; it often saves me a trip to the on-line dictionary when I'm not sure of a word. And I don't mind it when when the choir has this translation . . . I was just sharing a hesitation about putting these literal translations in front of a congregation.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    This looks wonderful: just the right length. What will the book dimensions be?
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    It is 6x9. We are looking at $14 for a hardbound volume. We hope.

    Here is the cover

    image
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    Looks to be a beautiful and timely book that will be just right for many parishes, I hope. I guess it's too early to pre-order from somewhere?
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, too early for now. The first print run will be for 2,000 -- and this is a huge print run and a massive financial risk for the CMAA. We wont' be retailing the book at all, mainly because we have zero infrastructure for customer support. We don't even have shopping cart software on the site. And you probably know that we don't actually have any staff. So wholesaling the book to distributors is really our only option. At this point, we have only one focus: amazon. This is where we will begin and I don't think we can establish pre-ordering with them simply because the CMAA has no prior relationship with Amazon. So it will be made available when it is live on the site. After that, other online bookstores might want to pick it up, in which case we can ship to them but I think we are going to have to insist on a minimum order -- again, mainly because we have no resources to manage a large quantity of separate sales arrangements.

    One possibility does present itself: a parish that wants to buy 200 or 300. It might be possible with prepayment.

    In a dreamworld, the 2000 would all sell. But with these prices, we would be out of stock for another two months. So the risk runs every direction.

    There is a sense in which this project is utterly and completely crazy for us. But someone had to do it.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Oh, and we have to set aside 400 copies for the Colloquium too. That leaves only 1,600 for broader distribution.

    I have no idea if that is a lot or a little. The real problem with this darn world of ours is that the future is completely unknown.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    "200 or 300"

    The "critical mass" should, I think, be 120 based on Act2 and 2Chr5:12 :)
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I forgot to mention that this also has a tutorial on chant and a pronunciation guide.

    Pretty incredible, huh?
  • Will the chant intensive attendees be able to purchase a copy (please)?
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, actually, yes. the plan is to reserve 400 for the conference(s). actually it occurs to me that this might not be enough.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    I'm so looking forward to this. The cover also reminds me of all the beautifully designed printing that came out of the first liturgical movement.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    If it weren't such a risk, I might think a first run of 3,000 would be good. But I don't want to go down in history as the guy who bankrupted the CMAA after 135 years of solvency.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I might be booed and hissed, but I wish there were excellent (and I mean excellent, not GIA quality) singing translations of the hymns, not literal translations. It's a much easier sell to sing something in Latin once the tune is already familiar. And as wonderful as this collection might be, it's more likely to find it's way to my shelf than to our pews. We're talking about hymnody here, not propers. It isn't the ideal anyway, but a stepping stone or an addition. Even if my parish offered one Mass entirely in Latin (even our chant Mass is not), the other Masses would still be in English. And it would be nice at least to sing the same music with different words, rather than having no choice but Praise to the Lord. I'm also not sure about Adeste Fideles and O Sanctissima. You can find those in Breaking Bread. If English was left out for the sake of purity, why include music that doesn't fit within the musical genre referred to in the title? Don't get me wrong, the book will be a worthy and welcome addition to our worship resources, and I will certainly buy one. And I am sure that all these points were considered when compiling the book, which no doubt was a labor of love. I appreciate the effort that has gone into it. I'm just afraid it might not be the musical Godsend I'm looking for.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Well, the problem is a practical one. Singable translations do not fit well with existing Gregorian music, or, rather it is a very uncomfortable fit. Paul Ford has done a good job with this, but this volume is really seeking musical universals, which means Latin, accessible to English speakers.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    OT, but the Mundelein Psalter has some very singable English versions of the Office hymns, from a number of different sources. (Many Stanbrook Abby? IIRC)

    Back ON topic, the book looks exquisite.

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    So it looks like we can take pre-orders for quantities of 100 or more, at $7 each.

    working on a form for that.

    sound good?

    It will be $14 retail.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I agree with incantu - I'd rather have a resource of English chant. Chant is hard enough to sell often enough without having to sell it in Latin.

    This past Lent I used "Attende Domine" as the closing hymn at all Masses, with the refrain in Latin and the verses in English, and I got attacked by an old woman who didn't want to sing "Attende Domine et miserere quia peccavimus tibi." What I didn't mention to her is that I NARROWLY decided not to have the hymn sung ENTIRELY in Latin. Part of the rationale is that I'd like to keep my congregation's Latin vocabulary small to build comprehension and familiarity. Even I don't have a clue what most of the words in Attende Domine's verses say. I often say that the use of Latin in the liturgy only requires familiarity, not the ability to translate Cicero on spot. However a large amount of Latin hymnody really can raise the bar of what the people need to know, and when so much of it is seasonal it's just not worth using.

    Also, I'm presuming the book is all in ancient notation? I won't open that can of worms, you know where I stand there!
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Well Gavin, we're not in agreement about notation. I'm all for the use of modern chant notation, (i.e. square notes, which is what I'm guessing you mean by "ancient"). If you can already read 5-line notation, it's not that hard to make the switch. And if you cant, what difference does it make? Heck, you might just pick it up. My choir (mostly non readers) has.

    But another point is that unlike the proper antiphons, which might have 8-12 words total and can easily be translated in a sentence or two, these hymns can be 8-10 stanzas, and poetry at that. Antiphons are taken from the familiar psalms or from mostly prose scripture. Now Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant poet, but I'd argue that it's still easier for the lay person to read King James than Shakespeare. And this week when my choir was learning a different setting of Panis Angelicus than the setting of the same text we sang six months ago, we needed to go over all the pronunciation again. Really, I must be doing something wrong there, because the congregation at our chant Mass does better with the Latin without rehearsal.

    Again I'm all for Latin, and thanks for the hard work. But couldn't "Jesus Thy Very Thought Is Dear" or "Spare Your People, Lord" have made it in as well? The translations we have in OCP (you should see what they did to Adoro te) are just too awful, and we need better ones.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, all four-line notation.

    Clearly, if English plainchant in modern notation is what you desire, this is not the book for you. There are many books that do that now, so there would be no point in entering this market. This is 100% Latin with translations of every word, all in traditional notation. There is no other book on the market that fills this need.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    Wonderful news (about the bulk preorders)! Thanks, Jeffrey.

    To celebrate, and with thanks to Mary Jane Ballou for encouragement, there's a new schola starting up in Radford, Virginia: Novum Flumen (yes, there's some reason behind the eccentricity there, hopefully).
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Ok, we now have a page up about this, with samples of sections from the book, and a form that permits pre-orders of 100 or more books.

    Here is the page.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    (By the way, massive traffic increases are taxing our server this morning. Not the best day for performance here, so we'll probably wait to release this)
  • Skitalets
    Posts: 25
    Jeffrey --

    I'm sorry, but it's not true that English is hard to fit to Gregorian chant. I hear this canard from Roman Catholic liturgists all the time, and it's completely false and very frustrating to those of us who value good liturgy in English.

    As someone who sings the Office every single day from the Monastic Diurnal Noted, I can say with certainty that if one does the work (as Canon Douglas and the sisters of the Community of St Mary did in the early 20th century), it can be done, and done well.

    As Geri notes, the Mundelein Psalter has singable translations of the Office hymns. A lot of them are adaptations of translations made by Anglicans of the Oxford Movement in the 19th century. I am editing an Office hymnal using those translations (from the Anglican Breviary) right now. It should be available online for free in the next few months -- I'll post about it when it's done.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    The Mundelein does a good job with strophic hymns and Psalms tones. Melismatic material is a different matter. But I'm not interested in an argument here. I was just giving my own impressions. All attempts and editions are hugely welcome!
  • Skitalets
    Posts: 25
    Jeffrey --

    I'm not trying to pick at something and start an argument, but this belief that Gregorian chant is hard to fit to English is brought up over and over again, here in this forum, on the NLM blog, and in other venues. It scares people away from the wealth of material available, and it also scares them away from working to adapt chants of their own. I find that unfortunate -- and I think the fact that this belief is orthodoxy in Roman Catholic liturgical circles but is rejected among Anglicans explains why there is so much Gregorian chant in English in Anglican sources and practically none in Roman Catholic circles. (The Anglicans have done a great job with melismatic, non-metrical chants, too, BTW. That forms the bulk of the chants in the Office, and I find the MDN more than adequate.)

    Given that many Roman Catholics are now committed to liturgy in English, it would be advantageous for RC liturgists to start looking at Gregorian chant in English seriously. Because the only other option is to abandon chant for that majority of RCs who want to worship in English -- and as a non-RC who loves chant and wants to see the Roman church thrive, I find that a very sad prospect indeed.

    So I'm not trying to pick a fight, but this is not an unimportant issue where the personal impressions of a few liturgists should be allowed to determine the prevailing attitude of a whole liturgical movement.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Well, it is remarkable actually that RCs haven't looked to the Anglican tradition here. One might expect that this would have begun 40 years ago. I'm only speculating here but I suspect that bias is somehow at work here. Catholics are glad to learn from all traditions except the Anglican one. I have no basis for suspecting this other than intuition.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    Re the anglican English Hymnal:

    http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2008/03/office-hymns.html

    The EH has, for example:

    317
    Laud O Zion thy salvation
    Thomas Aquinas tr/ad by The English Hymnal
    326
    Of the glorious Body telling O my tongue
    Thomas Aquinas tr/ad by John Mason Neale & others
    330
    The word of God proceeding forth
    Thomas Aquinas tr/ad by John Mason Neale & others
    331
    Thee we adore O hidden Saviour Thee
    Thomas Aquinas tr/ad by James Russell Woodford

    One of these is missing, as I recall, from the New English Hymnal revision. But then, they're ALL missed from Glory&Praise :)
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    "this belief that Gregorian chant is hard to fit to English is brought up over and over again"
    I came across, when first exploring the great abyss that is our choir room, an edition of English Propers from the early '60s edited (and perhaps entirely done by,) Fr Larry Heiman, CPPS.
    It looked very promising, but was misplaced during a time when I didn't have access to the store room.
    I'll come across it again one of these days, on an archaeological dig...
    But it's astounding to me that the need for many of the liturgical solutions we are still seeking was discerned in the early days after the council but were run over by the juggernaut of popular music.
    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    English vs. Latin. Latin vs. English. In the immortal words of a non-expert in chant, "It's deja vue all over again." One point I would note is that translating the propers for use during Mass would be tied to approved translations of liturgical text. And I can imagine many a pastor who might not mind "Shepherd Me, O God" suddenly becoming a rigorist over an Englished chant. Of course, I may just be feeling uncharitable.

    To raise one's spirits about the Parish Book of Chant, one need only contrast its appearance to the current cover of Breaking Bread. I've got aesthetics on the brain today and if you believe as you sing, perhaps you are what you see.
  • Skitalets
    Posts: 25
    tdunbar --

    Yes, it's funny how often the New English Hymnal gets trashed by Anglican traditionalists. They don't know how good they have it. ;-)

    I'm excited about this Parish Book of Chant resource, though -- especially since it's so cheap! I will definitely buy several copies when it comes out.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Making it this cheap was not easy -- and not profitable! But anyway, that's what we are here for.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Looking at the examples -- which are beautifully done -- I now realize that it would look silly to have a singing English text underlay as well as a literal English one at the bottom. And no matter how good the poetic translation is, it is not a substitute for a literal one. It's true that there is not a volume like this on the market,and we do need it. When I mentioned singing translations, I meant for metrical hymns. Latin doesn't "fit" a metrical hymn any more than English does. As a singer, I often have to inflect Latin texts to make the grammar and textual accent sound right. The same is true in English. Text painting is also not a consideration in strophic hymns. So while "Godhead here in hiding" or "Zion praise thy Savior" work fine for me, I'm not as keen on "O Queen of Heaven, be joyful." The latter text, as I mentioned before, is also short. I guess in the meantime I will have to continue searching out, typesetting, and reprinting singing translations in the bulletin.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    See what you think of this audio explanation of the PBC? I'm wondering if I've addressed all the usual questions that could come up.

    Click here
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    A gentle reminder to myself and others that we should be promoting this fantastic resource on our blogs, in workshop hand-outs, anywhere (well, maybe not in flyers on telephone poles). I just surveyed the various publications from Solesmes, etc. for a handout I'm doing. And boy, the Parish Book of Chant is something unique and cost-effective.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I'm fielding so many phonecalls for this right now. Everyone is so disappointed that it won't be available until June!
  • Jeff, This is an excellent presentation and introduction to the Parish Book of Chant. Well done. A number of things I like about your talk:
    PBC includes both forms of the Roman Mass—This is a very big deal.
    Chant is a point of continuity between the two forms.
    These are the songs of the Catholic people. Very nice phrase.
    The translations promote understanding of the Latin.
    Use by small (prayer?) groups, families, individuals, beginning scholas. The more these chants live in the hearts and souls of the Catholic people in various venues, the more effect they will have. You might emphasize their use as prayer.
    You gently guide people toward the ideal: Sung Propers.
    The tutorial is a big plus—RR did a great job on this.

    Minor suggestions:
    I wouldn’t list the Mass Ordinaries by number. Just say: “Includes 11 different settings of the Mass Ordinary plus 4 Credos.”
    Maybe shorten the list of Marian antiphons by title. I like the mention of beloved Holy Week chants. The general hymns you name are the right ones.
    If this talk is geared mainly for the CMAA web site, you might mention that the full table of contents, sample pages, and tutorial are on the site.

    Of course, I don’t know how hard it is to revise. If you have to record the whole talk perfectly again, I wouldn't change it.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Ok, this is exactly what I was looking for. ok. I think I will do it again, and this time not be so stumbly in the opening. I think I might have repeated some things too. Also, this is my regular voice but some people say that I sound oddly affected--i have to affect a sound of lacking affectation--so i might try to sound more like a normal person, not so alarming, in the next try.

    thank you!
  • Why “Creator alme siderum”, not “Conditor alme siderum”?

    From what I hear, the former is a lesser-quality attempt to “improve” upon the original “Conditor”...but, I can’t say that myself.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    There was some controversy on this point and very strong opinions in favor of the one that was chosen--and congratulations to all from others who followed the controversy--but the details are lost on me at this point. I certainly felt unqualified to weigh in. In any case, it was well considered. I think Michael Lawrence may know more.
  • I have gotten some great feedback about your April 08 article in Adoremus, Jeffrey... I have also posted your link and promoted the PBC on my blog... just a question... are you still offering the special pre-order price for 100+? I don't find that on the Aquinas and More site... (don't want to advertise it if it isn't available)

    Thx.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Oh I just now saw that! i didn't recall having sent them that. All to the good. Too bad I did include a pitch for the Colloq.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Oh and the 100+ deal ended yesterday because we had to finally sign contracts and print.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Ok, I recorded it again with all suggestions incorporated. For the life of me, I could not manage to say "inestimable" this time whereas the last time it sounded like I use the word all the time. I even stopped the tape and practiced it but I still couldn't get it! So I had to change the word to "immense" or something like that. My English is bad enough; my Latin is worse.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    "For the life of me, I could not manage to say 'inestimable' this time whereas the last time it sounded like I use the word all the time. I even stopped the tape and practiced it but I still couldn't get it!"

    Too funny!
    I'm sure we've all been there. At a liturgy committee meeting recently, (yes, I must attend the dread LitCom...) I couldn't get out the word "diocesan," tried several times and just quit, I probably sounded stoned, (of course, the plural of "diocese" DOES sound like a word invented by someone three sheets to the wind...)

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Oh, and as per usual, for the technidiots among us, (I'm beginning to believe I am the only one on the forum..,) could someone post the code that I need to c & p into a post in order to put that picture of the cover on my blog?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    It's a big picture but