Antiphon and psalm from another...collection
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I am compiling a list of chant resources in Latin and English for our diocesan Office of Worship according to the four options for the Entrance, Offertory, and Communion chants in Sing to the Lord (by way of the GIRM). I know there have already been debates here about what is and isn't approved at all, and what is and isn't approved for use at Mass. In the absence of approved translations, I am including translations from "The American Gradual," and "Anglican Use Gradual," as well as Fr. Weber's compositions under "option 1" (antiphon and psalm from the Roman Gradual) since there is no official English translation of the propers. Likewise, "By Flowing Waters" will be considered "option 2" along with the antiphon and psalm from the Graduale Simplex. It seems silly to group these under "option 4" along with everything else that is currently being performed at Mass. Taking this as a given fpr the purposes of this project, what resources would you include under "option 3," another antiphon and psalm from another...collection? For instance, if I were to take an Office antiphon and psalm from the Liber Usualis, it would not not be the proper of the Mass, but it would still be an antiphon and psalm from a similar collection. I would include this under "option 3." What other liturgical sources can be borrowed from in a similar way, and are there any in English?
  • Incantu,

    Consider the unofficial English translations of the chant propers in Solesmes’s “Gregorian Missal”. For that matter, many of the antiphons in the current Sacramentary are indeed translations of the Graduale antiphons, and as I recall, they generally are well-done translations.

    Also, I believe Fr. Weber’s work may have come at least partly from the Missal antiphons rather than from those in the Graduale.

    Additional resources you might consider under “option 1.1” are collections like James Biery’s communion antiphon sets for Advent and Lent, published by Morningstar. (Be aware that he mixes and matches antiphons from the Graduale and Missal.) WLP has a handful of them, too, for the same seasons, by Charles Thatcher.

    Psallite froom The Liturgical Press would go, I believe, under option 3. Also under option 3 would go other Graduale antiphons/psalms from the same season; the rubrics in the Ordo cantus Missæ do allow, as Ruff has pointed out, for the use of, say, any Lenten introit at any Lenten Mass. I personally don’t think this was such a great idea, and they would have done better to designate a handful of seasonal propers from the Graduale Romanum--similar to how they did designate 7 or so communions for use “ad libitum”.
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 797
    Thanks, Felipe, for mentioning Psallite in answer to "Incantu."

    Psallite from The Liturgical Press would go, I believe, under option 3.


    I would add that not only does Psallite fulfill 3, its musical forms for the entrance and communion songs are inspired by the Graduale Simplex, especially the litanic forms.

    Psallite's texts are from the Graduale Romanum where possible, especially the texts of the entrance song.

    Psallite's communion texts are from the Graduale Romanum wherever the Graduale text reflects the deepest theology of the communion song of the ancient Sunday gradual: the gospel communion (because communion is the fruit of the proclaimed word, especially the gospel, the communion song ideally "quotes" the proclaimed word, especially the gospel).

    (1) Of the 163 communion chants of the Roman Gradual only eight chants refer to the Body and Blood of Christ. All of communion chants were realigned as a consequence of our new lectionary so that, as the Ordo Cantus Missae says, "chants closely related to the readings should, of course, be transferred for use with these readings."

    (2) Of the sixty-two communion songs of the Simple Gradual, only four songs refer to the Body and Blood of Christ.

    Why this infrequency? Because communion is about more than the real presence of Christ's Body and Blood. It is about how this Food and Drink is meant to forgive our sins, restore us to community, and to prepare us for life eternal, among many other things. (O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur, recolitur memoria passionis ejus, mens impletur gratia, et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur."O holy banquet in which Christ is consumed, the memory of his passion is recalled, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us." St. Thomas Aquinas, Canticle Antiphon for the Second Vespers of Corpus et Sanguinis Christi.)

    In my opinion, the following section of Sing to the Lord is weak, because it is not traditional enough:

    191. In selecting a Communion song suitable for the Eucharistic banquet in which God’s blessings are bestowed so abundantly, one should look for texts that have themes of joy, wonder, unity, gratitude, and praise. Following ancient Roman liturgical tradition, the Communion song might reflect themes of the Gospel reading of the day. It is also appropriate to select a Communion processional song that reflects the liturgical action, i.e., eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ. [my emphasis]


    So, Felipe, what you propose in your next statement I regard as the floor and not the ceiling of our ultimate aim:

    Also under option 3 would go other Graduale antiphons/psalms from the same season; the rubrics in the Ordo cantus Missæ do allow, as Ruff has pointed out, for the use of, say, any Lenten introit at any Lenten Mass. I personally don't think this was such a great idea, and they would have done better to designate a handful of seasonal propers from the Graduale Romanum--similar to how they did designate 7 or so communions for use "ad libitum".


    Blessings,
    Paul
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Thank you for your suggestions, Felipe, but for the purposes of this project, I am looking for chant resources only (ruling out the Biery antiphons as well as Psallite). I wonder if anyone is familiar with the English Gradual v. 2 published by RSCM. I know the Anglican Use Gradual "draws heavily" from this work, but I'm not sure in what way. The latter volume has mostly psalm-tone settings but also contains a handful of full melismatic chants. I don't know if the melismatic versions were taken from the English Gradual or the Plainsong Gradual or if they were newly edited.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Paul,

    I have looked at and listened to the Psallite samples that are provided on the site. I simply don't see the connection between the texts, which seem to have been written as "lyrics" more than prose, and those of the Gradual. I also don't see any connection musically, except perhaps, as you mention, in the response-verse format of the Graduale Simplex. One could say that "Puff the Magic Dragon" has the same form, but that does not mean it was based on the Gradual. I would honestly be interested in using this resource and would like to know if there is actually more to it than the previews suggest. I expected something that resembled By Flowing Waters, but that had propers texts for each Sunday of the year.
  • With some trepidation, I pose the following question:

    Quoth Dr. Ford:
    Psallite's communion texts are from the Graduale Romanum wherever the Graduale text reflects the deepest theology of the communion song of the ancient Sunday gradual: the gospel communion (because communion is the fruit of the proclaimed word, especially the gospel, the communion song ideally "quotes" the proclaimed word, especially the gospel).


    Where I see this concept breaking down is:
    • Aren’t the psalmic communions actually older?
    • Most of the Advent and Christmas communions are from the Old Testament, yet ISTM they stand on an equal footing with the idea of quoting the day’s gospel.
  • I don't know all that is in Psallite, and the method of antiphon and psalm is praiseworthy, but some of the musical and textual material in the online samples makes a mockery of the very idea of ritual song. I don't want to be anywhere near a parish that would use some of that material. Sorry if anyone finds my bluntness offensive but there it is.

    In any case, don't take my word for it. Here is one sample and here is another. Ok, for good measure, here is another .
  • Dan F.Dan F.
    Posts: 205
    Snappy!

    Speaking of Broadway, should the psalm at mass (the second link above) really remind me of this song?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r2xXtSsPV0

    ACK!
  • Well, it's the best song from that musical... Some really would like church music to follow this model, but it's the same old problem. The song is built on a formula that quickly jerks at surface emotions but how would you praise God with this sort of thing? Sure, it makes you feel good or "uplifted" or something, but it requires no work on your part to approach the divine. Now, in a different context, it's great! I've played in a number of CC bands and it's a wonderful experience, but not for Mass.
  • Yes, I agree. I sort of like the piece! It is so much better than the link above it. It has conviction and groove and authencity.

    For Mass? No way.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Why are they singing accompanied music without accompaniment? Singing a popular song without piano or guitar does not make it chant. These examples lack the musical integrity to stand on their own and would be rejected by any freshman theory teacher as incomplete.
  • Jeffrey, thank you for your candor and for praising Psallite's method of antiphon and psalm.

    I'd like to hear further from you about your objections to some of the textual material in the online samples.

    I will also agree with you about some of the musical styles, which don't appeal to me either.

    Perhaps you were working quickly and only found samples that were very much not to your taste.

    May I offer you and our members other samples? (Please remember that the five members of the Collegeville Composers Group are the singers and only Father Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam, is a professional singer.)

    "Seek the Lord," a setting of Psalm 105:1-5 and a version of the Laetetur Cor Quaerentium Dominum. Notice how the translation, "seek/long for/search," delivers the yearning the three uses of quaerere of the original Laetetur cor quaerentium Dominum: quaerite Dominum, et confirmamini: quaerite faciem eius semper. It also provides the semper. This can be used as the entrance song for the 4th Sunday in Years A and B, the 26th Sunday in Year C, the 30th Sunday in Years A, B, and C, and the 2nd Sunday in Lent A, B, and C

    "Lord, cleanse my heart," a setting of Psalm 51, used as a responsorial after the seventh reading at the Easter Vigil and for the 5th Sunday in Lent B, and useful for many other occasions as well.

    "Love bears all things," a setting of 1 Cor 13:7 (with verses from John 15:16-17; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5a, 13, 8a; 14:1a), a communion song for Table for the 4th Sunday in Year C, as well as for Christian Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, and Pastoral Care of the Sick

    "For you my soul is thirsting," a setting of Psalm 63, used as a responsorial for the 22nd and 32nd Sundays of Year A and the 12th Sunday of Year C, and useful for many other occasions as well.
    Blessings,
    Paul
  • incantu asks
    Why are they singing accompanied music without accompaniment? Singing a popular song without piano or guitar does not make it chant.

    The intention of the Psallite Project is to provide essentially vocal music (a music that does not need any accompaniment) that any skilled cantor can use with an eager assembly in an acoustically 'wet' environment. But not every Mass and every church has such advantages, hence the accompaniments.

    incantu then says
    These examples lack the musical integrity to stand on their own and would be rejected by any freshman theory teacher as incomplete.

    I hope it does not sound combative if I ask in all sincerity what, in these examples or the ones I have just posted, "would be rejected by any freshman theory teacher as incomplete"?

    Blessings,
    Paul
  • incantu says
    I have looked at and listened to the Psallite samples that are provided on the site. I simply don't see the connection between the texts, which seem to have been written as "lyrics" more than prose, and those of the Gradual.


    Dear incantu,

    I believe I was careful to explain that the texts of the songs for the week/day, the entrance chants of the Psallite Project, are largely from the Graduale Romanum.

    Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent I will be publishing on The Liturgical Press website a detailed Sunday-by-Sunday, song-by-song commentary referencing, among other things, the sources for the texts and the tunes in Psallite.

    Blessings,
    Paul
  • Felipe said and asked
    Where I see this concept breaking down is:
    Aren’t the psalmic communions actually older?
    Most of the Advent and Christmas communions are from the Old Testament, yet ISTM they stand on an equal footing with the idea of quoting the day’s gospel.

    Only the psalmic communions of the Lenten season are actually older, except for those chosen for the Thursdays of Lent, which are late (eighth century) additions.

    The Advent and Christmas communions are from the Old Testament as fulfilled in the arrival of the Messiah under the appearances of bread and wine.

    Blessings,
    Paul
  • Fr. Ford, I'm pleased at your response of course, which is so magnanimous, a model of how to deal with strong criticism. I'm listening to the first link and I like it very much. I suspected that there is diversity of music here and hence my caveat. That said, It is still not something I'm drawn to simply because I detect too much popular song in here among the rhythms and chords. These days, even hints of this style carries so much baggage of the past when so many have been traumatized by the introduction of far more extreme examples in liturgy. A clean break from this approach seems called for given the current context when so many are aching for links to a more extended aesthetic order along the lines of what plainsong provides.
  • We have been using the Psallite communion antiphons for a couple of months now with good success. The music so far has been solemn and accessible. This is important in our parish where weaning them away from a four hymn sandwich model has been a challenge. Irrespective of the music style of some of the antiphons, the music text does consistently reflect upon the liturgy of the word of the mass. I had initially tried to introduce "By Flowing Waters" but the chant/psalm tone style was not readily accepted. I'm hoping Psallite will eventually lead back to "By Flowing Waters" and perhaps even some Latin antiphons.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Paul,

    Thanks for posting these samples. They give a more complete picture than the ones I was able to find last time I visited the Psallite site. My previous comment about "singing accompanied music without accompaniment" was prompted by the fact that, to my ear, the antiphons sounded as if the accompaniment of a song had simply been removed. Imagine "Here I Am, Lord" without piano or guitar. The vocal line would fall flat during the two measure interludes where the only musical interest lies in chords changing above a bass pedal. The vocal lines of some of the Psallite antiphons not only seemed to have an implied harmony, but they seemed rather to be derived from a chordal harmony, as if they had been composed on a guitar, or at the piano. Without harmonic support they just don't seem to "work."

    In your first example, though, "Seek the Lord," the modal quality gives a feeling of independance to the vocal line, which comes to a satisfying cadence. My only criticism with this one is that the verse seems to consist of an antecendent phrase (made up of two shorter phrases with spontaneous choral interjections) without a consequent phrase. It sounds incomplete.

    The sample given for year A is "Now is the hour," based on the French carol "Berger secoue ton sommeil profond." The tune has been awkwardly truncated, so that the secondary dominant in the third measure is not brought to a satifying close by the two measure phrase that follows it. Even if one doesn't know the original melody, this adaptation still sounds incomplete.

    Although I wouldn't use them personally, I do think the selections you posted would be a step forward for many parishes, and an easy pill to swallow at that. If the collection is successful, I hope it will encourage other composers to provide similar resources. If there is a market for music inspired by the propers, perhaps publishers will start promoting collections of psalms and antiphons instead os hymns and songs. However, if the goal of Psallite is to provide an English alternative to the Roman Gradual (as By Flowing Waters successfully does for the Simple Gradual), I think it misses the mark.