Palmer/Burgess Gradual
  • I asked the director of music here what they use for propers. The director wrote back that they use G. H. Palmer and Francis Burgess (eds.), The Plainchant Gradual (Wantage, St. Mary’s Press, rev. ed.1965) and THE ENGLISH GRADUAL - PART II THE PROPER FOR THE LITURGICAL YEAR", edited by Francis W Burgess (published by the Plainchant Publications Committee, Hyde Park Gate, London).

    I checked and it seems to be banished from commercial existence. The Anglican Use comes closest.
  • Along similar lines, I have in my hand a good resource called Complete English Propers for the High Mass edited by Paul Arbogast (WLSM, 1964). Because of the year it was published, it is still under some sort of protection, probably belonging to the editor.

    Anyway know the fate of this or its editor?
  • I have copies of most (and possibly) all of the major traditional-language English chant books, all produced by Anglicans but with very careful attention to Solesmes. The Plainsong and Medieval Music Society was very closely connected with Solesmes beginning with the monks' sojourn in the Green and Pleasant Land. Would it be useful for them to be made available in some way?
  • If I don't get an answer soon on something, I'm just going to post all this stuff.
  • Isn't that what academics now say, "Post or perish?"
  • It might be post and perish, but we'll never know until we try!
  • The Wantage PLAINCHANT GRADUAL is a gem to have, is rather rare, and is worth almost any price. It is an example of what Anglicans have been doing for generations, and begs, astonishingly, the question: why is the need for such a resource only now being addressed amongst Catholic musicians. And why, among many, is there such disdain for outstanding scholarship which happens to be of Anglican provenance. I shall go no further, lest I rant; which I do not wish to do. Both the Wantage GRADUAL (two vols.) and the ENGLISH GRADUAL, which you mention, are out of print and are translations of the Latin propers according to the old lectionary. The current ANGLICAN USE GRADUAL is essentially a new edition, in 'sqaure notes', of the ENGLISH GRADUAL with some re-arrangement of certain chants to more closely accomodate the new lectionary. The beauty of Burgess' Wantage books is that they contain the full historical Gregorian chant artfully set to English. This is, of course, anathema to many chant scholars with whose views I am not altogether opposed. However, when one wishes to perform the English version with sober artistry, the results can be surprisingly beautiful. The propers of the AUG, like those of its predecessor EG, are set to solemn psalm tones. It would be wonderful if a new edition of the Wantage books were to be made. Palmer and Burgess also made fine scholarly editions of many other liturgical chants, such as those of Holy Week, tenebrae, various rituals and the Divine Office. Some old copies of these may still be had from Lois Fyfe, in Atlanta.
  • Very exciting exciting exciting. We are on the verge of having this online! I can't believe it. So exciting.
  • Are you excited, Jeffrey?
  • The English Gradial - Volume One (blue book) and Volume Two (red book) are still in print and can be had. I will look for the website and post here. I found them after much searching. An organization is reprinting them.
  • (original edition)

    The RSCM (Royal School of Church Music) is re-print and saling the newer packaged versions.
  • Also, you may contact the Anglican Bibliopole Bookstore here in the USA.
  • oh wow so these are available. I could have bought and scanned all along. In any case, they are open source at this point and they are going on Musica.

    Thank goodness there are no official translations of the sung propers (right Adam? ;) )
  • oh and no offense but the site of that reprint company as to be the most pathetic looking thing on the entire web. yikes.
  • What re-print company is pathetic?
  • The English Gradual of which Ken speaks contains nothing that is not in the Anglican Use Gradual, which essentially replaces it with square notes. It is the same text and the same music. The chief difference is the rearranging of some chants here and there in order to accomodate the new lectionary. Still it is nice to have, if only as an archival exemplar of widespread Anglo-Catholic practice. The set for which one should give one's eye teeth if found is The Plainchant Gradual by St Mary's, Wantage.
  • Correct M. Jackson Osborn!

    In case anyone is interested, here is the RSCM - UK website with lots of materials for sale.
  • "Thank goodness there are no official translations of the sung propers (right Adam? ;) )"

    Nice, Jeffrey :) I'm not quite ready to go on record with an answer yet, but you have surely given me a few more enlightening factors to consider on this subject.
  • The Plainchant Gradual (Wantage) is not to be confused with the English Gradual. The latter contains psalm-tone settings of the proper. (The Anglican Use Gradual is a derivative work.) The Plainchant Gradual employs the melodies in the Graduale Romanum.

    Confusion between the two books stems from the fact that Francis Brugess was sole editor of The English Gradual and one of the editors of the Plainchant Gradual.

    The Plainchant Gradual is actually an amalgam. It contains adaptations of many introits, graduals, and alleluias made by G.H. Palmer, who understood chant composition. His adaptations are quite good, although he based them on the melodic readings of the Sarum Gradual (quite late) and often "padded" the texts to make them fit the music. The other chants in this gradual were the work of Francis Burgess and R.L. Shields, who appear to have understood nothing about chant composition. They merely strung English words under melodies composed for Latin texts, violating the "Gregorian esthetic" (cf. Ferretti) at almost every turn.

    The Plainchant Gradual is now, apparently, available on CD-ROM. The following notice appears on the Web Page of the Community of St. Mary, Wantage:

    "You can order a CD Rom from us which contains the plainchant
    in PDF format of our Plainchant Graduals in English for Eucharistic Music

    S Mary’s Press
    S Mary’s Convent
    Challow Road
    OX12 9DJ

    No price is given.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    I contacted the Sisters and asked about the charge. Their reply: there is no charge, they will mail the whole Plainchant Gradual to anyone free of charge (they didn't even ask for postage), but they do hope people requesting the work will consider making a donation to their order. Naturally, I requested one and will be sending a donation.

    I wonder if the Sisters might be persuaded to make this work available for download on, perhaps if there was a donation button next to it?
  • Glad to do so. I'm still interested to find out the difference between all these editions. I can hardly keep up! The Palmer/Burgess should be back sometime next week and I'll drop everything to bookmark it
  • Wantage has posted downloadable (free) versions of the Plainchant Gradual Parts 1&2 and Parts 3&4 on their website They also have, for the moment, the Tenebrae Responds downloadable. The former are under the heading 'Join us online postings', and the latter under 'News' then 'Tenebrae'. CD Rom of some material is, or was, available too. Alas, not the revised Vespers nor all of the revised Tenebrae, though there are the final V&R for Tenebrae also posted in the same place as the Responds.
    Sr. Bernadette,OSB
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    this is thrilling in every way. After all these years, these books are finally free to all.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I don't need to once again rehearse my admiration for these books, which are treasures in every way, and a great resource for any Catholic parish seeking to sing the propers.

    The text of the music is English but the music itself is Gregorian. They have been in use in Anglo-Catholic parishes for a very long time but they have been absolutely unavailable for decades. The chants are arranged by the old calendar but are easily adapted to the new.

    Not too long ago, people reported paying many hundreds of dollars, even a thousand dollars for them. Now they are $19 each.


  • Immensely useful materials: a result of the cultivation of the chant over many years.
    I wonder if the sisters will be taking up the Holy Father's invitation to Anglicans to become part of the Catholic Church, as did the All Saints Sisters in Baltimore.
  • I am fortunate to have owned for many years copies of both books of these propers. Having just ordered another copy of each from CMAA I see that I have been billed for 4 copies of volumes 2&3 instead of only one copy. I have tried in vain to alter this order and will never order again from Lulu, the people through whom you seem to have arranged to sell these books.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,639
    Sr. Bernadette.

    I cannot seem to be able to find where to download the digital files.
  • Chris AllenChris Allen
    Posts: 150
    Francis--I checked on Google and found the website:
  • francis
    Posts: 10,639
    Thnx Chris

    I found that site but not the link to download the file.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    One button over on
  • francis
    Posts: 10,639
    OK... I finally found it.

    And as Jeffrey mentioned, they are also on the home page in the chant resources column. (wish I had known that sooner!)
  • The propers for Christmas Day at Dawn are missing (AD SECUNDAM MISSAM In Aurora). They would start on page 27 in volume 1/2. Was this a mistake?
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Jeffrey C., I'm grateful that you bumped this thread. I had downloaded these volumes from the MusicaSacra "chant books" page some time ago, but am only now discovering what a treasure this is. (Unfortunately, though, I don't have an answer to your question!)
  • I'm sorry I just don't know. I scanned what I had.

    I continue to believe that this is a brilliant and under used resource.
  • That's okay. I haven't noticed any others missing, though, so I'm sure it was an accident.

    And yes, it is very brilliant and definitely underused. To think we've had these English-Gregorian propers for four decades, even longer than some commercial hymnals that are still out today ...
  • It's amazing, absolutely. talk about missed opportunities. Stunning.
  • We're certainly using them at Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore! While the choir now sings from enlarged copies set up from the PDF files (with Solesmes signs added), the choir library has full sets of all of the predecessor editions of the complete edition online here. We use the English Gradual (the English-language 'Rossini propers') during the summer. The tradition of singing propers had been lost here during the 1970s and '80s, but has been restored full-force during recent years, partly through the leadership of a pastor with two degrees in musicology. We're expanding this chant tradition to include Evensong sung to chant every Sunday afternoon beginning in October. Our source for the chants will be the 'Manual of Plainsong' published by the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,639

    I am jealous
  • Just sent mod note editions of those chant, courtesy of WG stoops
  • @Jeffrey Coggins--for IN AURORA, the Sarum Introits available here at MusicaSacra have Palmer's transcription of the Sarum tone Introit--it's a start!
  • Correction to the above--my mistake, Jeffrey, the In Aurora (Cock-crow :-) Introit in the Sarum Introits is Dominus Dixit, which is the Introit for Christmas Eve in the Liber. For some reason there is no Christmas Eve Introit in that Sarum set except the "Christmas Eve on Sunday" one, Hodie scietis. The Christmas Day Mass (Third Mass of Christmas) is the same in both.

    In the Palmer/Burgess English Gradual, all of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day propers are present in their correct places. They are the psalm-tones rather than the direct transcription of the Gregorian tones.

    If you want the Gregorian tone but in English, my suggestion would be to print the Introit from the NOH and write in the English yourself, unless anyone else has a suggestion.
  • At my work church (Anglicans) we use The English Gradual (Palmer/Burgess) every Sunday, followed by a hymn as appropriate (Introit, Offertory, Communion--we do the Anthem after the Communion chant, not at Offertory, and then followed by two Communion hymns). The choir has been doing these for 40+ years, and if the administrator prints the wrong text, we can make it up on the spot by 'pointing' the bulletin with arrows (the pastor prefers that what the choir does matches the bulletin and I am obedient). The choir will also sing longer chants such as the Sarum Introits and The Plainchant Gradual and the Advent chants in "Advent to Christmas for Choirs" as long as they are in modern notation (the Ascension Offertory is a favorite); my eldest singers (and best readers) are simply flummoxed by neumes. We also use Anglican chant for the psalm during the 'year' (Holy Cross to Pentecost) and plainsong with a refrain some summers, and the congregation sings very well. At a minimum, they will join the Gloria Patri of the Introit and psalm, and belt out the Alleluia (with jubilus). They sing most Ordinaries with gusto as well. And--the congregation is very appreciative when we sing longer versions of the chants. And there is no time pressure either, even with an altar rail, Communion kneeling (in the hand or by intinction), and all the littles who go up for a blessing.

    It is just what they have been taught is 'meet and right' and they expect it. It's the only Episcopal parish for miles around with both exceedingly 'catholic' worship and 'catholic' preaching. But culturally, they are not ready for the Ordinariate, which is such a shame. (I pray daily...)

    I would be happy to see any Catholic parish that presently does not use the Propers use the English Gradual and Anglican chant, or the SEP and like settings--anything to reintroduce the Propers.
  • Just received the psalm tone propers from The English Gradual Part II by Francis Burgess - from JT from William G. Stoops - for the Christmas Day Dawn/Daybreak propers.

    Will e-mail to anyone else interested.

    Thank you!
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    I was excited about this because I realized that for the Graduals at least, and perhaps for the Alleluia chants too, the melodies are nearly exactly the same as the Gregorian originals… therefore, I very well might be able to sing them with NOH accompaniment, with only small adaptations needed. Cool.

    (That is, if Father would permit me to do so in place of the Responsorial Psalm!)
  • It's like they took the 1961 Graduale Romanum propers, erased the Latin, and then typed in the English translation - with only a few melodic modifications here and there.

    and yes - using it with the NOH is perfect.

    Add Richard Rice's English verses to the communion antiphons, and it's even better.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,498
    The Plainchant Gradual is wonderful! ! Sing authentic (often very very ancient) Gregorian melodies without having to overcome the language barrier.