New Translation Reproaches (Improperia)
  • Hi, everyone. Last night I was discussing with my parish music director, a good friend of mine, about adding chant (something rarely used until now in my parish) into the Triduum this year. We agreed on adding a good deal of chants, one of them being the sung Reproaches for Good Friday.

    I was just wondering if anyone knows of any chant settings of the new Translation of the Reproaches as of the 3rd Missal, or if anyone is planning on setting them to music. I myself am thinking of possibly adapting the 1985 Sacramentary edition to the new translation (although I'm not at all experienced in such things), unless others are already working on this.
  • I would love to see that happen. Every year, we get subjected to "Were You
    There" and weird stuff from OCP. At least the Roman Missal now heavily suggests the Stabat Mater. If anyone is doing this, please add me to the list, as I want to suggest it for Good Friday down here.
    Thanked by 1ContraBombarde
  • Ally
    Posts: 227
    I too was hoping to use a chant setting of the Reproaches. I might adapt the one from "By Flowing Waters" to the new translation if no one has a better idea. Or the 1985 like Joel said.

    We are *just* starting to chant at my parish (SEP only a couple of times) and I have 4 guys interested in a men's schola, so I was thinking it would be wonderful to have them chant the Reproaches. It would be wonderful to do the Stabat Mater too, and Crux fidelis. Mostly I have pressure to do that "big publisher" stuff too. We will see, I'm new in my position so I'll have to suggest these changes slowly.

    It would be wonderful to hear other ideas!

    (Also, I'm new to the forum, and very thankful to hear other ideas so I don't feel so alone out here at my new parish. So "Hi" everyone!)
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    I'm working on a setting of the Reproaches and of the 10 Intercessions for this year. My pastor has enough on his plate during Holy Week without those, so I told him we would relieve him of some of the burden by singing the intercessions. When I am reasonably satisfied, I'll post it here for anyone to use.
  • There is an ICEL setting of the Crux Fidelis, on their site. This would be proper to the Adoration of the Cross if you cannot get the reproaches ready. As well they have the litany of Saints, The "Ubi Caritas" and the "Gloria Laus" for Palm Sunday. Well done on the part of ICEL.
  • It’s not the new translation, but The Plainchant Gradual of Burgess & Palmer has a nice adaptation into traditional English prose.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,402
    Jonathan, were you able to do this yet? Or has a version been published elsewhere, does anyone know?
  • Joel K.
    Posts: 5
    The one that I've ended up using is Fr. Weber's. There are two versions; one being pretty ornate (adapted from the Gregorian original), the other being a simple psalm-tone setting.

    I kinda wish there was a more intermediate version (like the one from the old sacramentary), but I'm confident that my parish can pull off the ornate version.
    Thanked by 1Ioannes Andreades
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Kathy, I'm still slaving away on it. I am also writing a setting of Crux Fidelis that rhymes "rely on," "iron," and "scion." The Crux Fidelis is a lot closer to reality than the Improperia.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Sorry. Duplicate post.
  • JDE
    Posts: 586
    Triplicate post. I'm too impatient to wait for it to load, apparently.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,402
    Jonathan, I've rhymed "choir" with "aspire," making the last syllable of each word cover two syllables. So I hear ya. I'm going to look at Fr. Weber's Reproaches, thanks!
  • If only I had known about Fr. Weber's version 7 days ago! At the risk of sounding like a Dodger's fan (I am)--there's always next year! I don't know how it slipped by me. We'll be using the Latin version in the Grad. Simplex, but there's no Greek in there.
  • I am willing to set the new translation of the Reproaches and will do so during the next week. I'll post a .pdf here.

    I included the a setting of my own translation in The American Gradual.
  • Attached is my adaptation of the Improperia chant to the new ICEL translation of the Reproaches, as given in the 2010 English translation of the Roman Missal
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,402
    Bruce, this is the most amazing gift, thank you! May I use it this year?
  • Please do.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,402
    Bruce, I've sent you a message through the forum (inbox) in case you don't see it. Thanks again! I just love this. It's so very different from the tune in the old sacramentary and is just like the Latin chant. Incredibly, soberly moving.
  • I received your e-mail message as well as another, but the address of origin was "no reply," and I didn't know how to respond. Thank you for writing.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,498
    I've made a page with Victoria's polyphony.
    Thanked by 1benedictgal
  • Did you adapt the Victoria setting to the translation in the 2010 missal, or did you just retain Burgess's adaptation?
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Mr. Ford, would you mind (or welcome) a square note version of your setting? Because I'd like to do one.
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Here is another version of the Reproaches from Fr. Weber.
  • WJA: I would be pleased if you were to set my adaptation in square notes; but would you please let me see what you've done before you post it?

    See the comment you are about to add before you start.
  • Because Holy Week is approaching, I posted my adaptation of the Improperia chant to the new ICEL translation hastily. Subsequently I had second thoughts. Then Kathy wrote that she wanted to post it in the Chant Café, and I told her that I wanted to revise my work before she did.

    I said I wouldn't annoy people by posting the revised version here only one day after I had posted the original version; but having completed the revision, I cannot resist the temptation.

    Here it is.
  • WJA:

    When I wrote, "See the comment you are about to add before you start," I meant to write "See the comment I am about to add..."

    The comment to which I was referring is the one above. Please use the revised version as the basis for you square note transcription.
  • Richard Mix:

    I apologize for my stupid question. I failed to notice that your fine adaptation of the Victoria was attached.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    Bruce, thank you—from another Bruce. Richard, thanks as well: it's nice to have the Victoria on one page.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Ah - I posted this under a separate thread, not having seen this one. It's chant-based (which covers a multitude of sins, I know ...)
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 330
    Mr. Ford, thank you so much for posting these. Are you the self-same composer of the plainsong in the '1982' ?
  • Yes, I contributed to H82.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I will echo my choirmaster-organist, Felipe Gasper, at Walsingham, who above commended the Plainchant Gradual with complete mass and ritual propers by Palmer and Burgess. We, in fact, will be using the impropreria, the mandatum antiphons, and all chants from The plainchant Gradual for all of Holy Week. The Plainchant Gradual is available from CMAA. While the translation is not the modern one (It is Elizabethan English) it may be quite licitly done, and add some needed gravity to the various rites of Holy Week. The original plainchant melodies are preserved with their texts put into Anglican English. Every Parish should have copies of The Plainchant Gradual by Palmer and Burgess, which may be had from the CMAA by special arrangement with the Anglican nuns at St Mary's, Wantage, who are the copyright owners.

    There are those, though, who object that these chant repertories are poorly matched to English words. They aren't. English has different vowels and consonants than does Latin, but there is nothing inherently artless or malapropos in matching them up to chant. If one is determined to sing chant as artfully in English to chant music as he does in singing Latin to chant, the result will be different artfulnesses applied to chant, yielding two equally artful performances. In brief: If one is as careful of English vowels and consonants as he is of Latin ones, the English version will be quite as admirably artful as the Latin. Producers of Catholic chant books, actually, would perform for the Church a Great Service if they provided English translations of all texts - translations which, having been fashioned with care and musical sensitivity such that they could be sung to their respective chants with an artfulness so fine that one would not have guessed that it wasn't the original language. This way we would have a sensitively written body of chant that would work in English or in Latin to the same historic chants. For this we need literary scholars, chant scholars, poets, and musicians all working together to produce all the chant repertory that could be performed (while being recognised as really good stuff) in the language that was best in a given parish at a given time. This would be an unimaginable boost and commendation for a really widespread and well received Chant Revival. We have one now... but it needs to be more directed, focused, more aggressive, and less identified (perhaps inaccurately) with an oft-percieved narrow ultramontanism
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Many who do not oppose adaptation of the melodies to English words would question your assessment of the Palmer/Burgess Gradual.

    First, it is a compilation that includes adaptations of several persons. G.H. Palmer was a serious student of chant composition. He employed the techniques of chant composition that were employed during the "golden age" to fit the melodies to the words, or (with less impressive results) adjusted the texts to the music, achieving concord between the two. Francis Burgess and R. L. Shields obviously were not students of chant composition. They simply took the notes out of the Vatican edition of the chant and strung English words. They sometimes padded the texts so as to produce an adequate number of syllables, but they largely ignored accentuation. Furthermore, they failed to recognize "set-forms" in the Latin chants they were adapting. ("Set-forms" are musical formulas that undergo predictable changes in response to changes in the length and accentuation of texts. Psalm tones are set-forms; but so are many ornate melodic formulas.)

    Now that we have the results of Cardine's research at hand, we are more aware than ever that chant is sung speech, the are of ars recte loaquendi. Burgess's adaptations often constitute ars male loquendi. Rather than serving as vehicles for the declamation of the texts, they impede it badly.

    Good English adaptations exist--Palmer's and Winfred Douglas's, for example. Burgess's are not among them.

    For a highly-informed discussion of the issues involved in adapting chant to English words, see John Boe's dissertation, The Ordinary in English (Ph.D. Northwestern University), which is available from ProQuest (formerly University Microfilms).
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • Let me try again. I am a hopelessly careless typist.
    ++++++
    Many who do not oppose adaptation of chant melodies to English words question your assessment of the Palmer/Burgess Gradual.

    First, it is a compilation that includes adaptations of several persons. G.H. Palmer was a serious student of chant composition. He employed the compositional techniques that were employed during the "golden age" to fit chant melodies to words, or (sometimes regrettably) adjusted the texts to the music, and in by one method or the other usually achieved concord between the two. Francis Burgess and R. L. Shields obviously were not students of chant composition. They simply took the notes out of the Vatican edition of the chant and strung English words under them. They sometimes padded the texts so as to produce an adequate number of syllables, but they largely ignored accentuation. Furthermore, they failed to recognize and make proper use of "set-forms" in the Latin chants they were adapting. ("Set-forms" are musical formulas that undergo predictable changes in response to changes in the length and accentuation of texts. Psalm tones are set-forms; but so are many ornate melodic formulas.)

    Now that we have the results of Cardine's research at hand, we are more aware than ever that chant is sung speech, ars recte loaquendi. Burgess's adaptations often constitute ars male loquendi. Rather than serving as vehicles for the declamation of the texts, they distort the texts badly.

    Good English adaptations exist--Palmer's and Winfred Douglas's, for example. Burgess's are not among them.

    For a highly-informed discussion of the issues involved in adapting chant to English words, see John Boe's dissertation, The Ordinary in English (Ph.D., Northwestern University), which is available from ProQuest (formerly University Microfilms).
    Thanked by 1marymezzo
  • WJA expressed an interest in transcribing my setting of the Reproaches into conventional chant ("square") notation. I had the time; so I did the job myself. The transcribed version is attached.

    I made further editorial changes in the adaptation as I made the transcription; so this version does not exactly match the "modern" notation version that I posted here yesterday. Both are serviceable, I think, but this version is slightly improved.
    Thanked by 1Earl_Grey
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Thanks for doing this! I hadn't had the chance to try myself.
  • Late in the game for most, but here's my setting of the 2010 to the 1985 Sacramentary tone.
  • CGM
    Posts: 558
    Personally, I think that nothing beats the amazing setting by John Sanders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1_t37ERHYc

    Yes, it's for eight-part choir (SSAATTBB), but like any setting of the Reproaches, it has just a few brief sections that all get many repeats. It's astoundingly effective for Good Friday. Having done it 11 years in a row with my volunteer choir (sometimes in the six-voice reduced scoring, depending on who was around in a given year), various congregants would approach me as Good Friday drew near, and say, "are you going to do that scary Good Friday piece again? Yes? Good..."

    Also, I wrote a paper for a Master's Level course a couple years back on the history of the Reproaches and their recent seeming-disappearance from the liturgy, which I'd be happy to send to anyone interested.

    Last year, when I had even fewer people, I wrote my own four-voice setting. I like it very much - but I employed the same text as Sanders, which seems to be neither the 1985 nor the 2010 text. (I suppose it's an Anglican variant, though I have not sourced it.)
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Hello! I would like to continue this discussion, especially regarding polyphonic versions of the reproaches. Last Good Friday, we did the entire Reproaches "as it should be done", in Gregorian Chant, during the veneration of the Cross.
    This year, I am thinking of using some polyphony as well, either inter-spaced in with the chant, or afterwards. (We typically have a very long Veneration).

    What I would like opinions on from you wonderful forum members is:
    1. Victoria vs. Sanders (I wonder if the Victoria is too "gentle", and it's in a major key...)

    2. Is Sanders liturgically appropriate for use in a Catholic Mass, since the translation is not accurate? Are there other factors to consider...is it too much a concert piece, and not really suited for the Good Friday Liturgy?

    3. Are there any other polyphonic versions worth considering?

    4. Would it be "strange" or "uncouth" to intersperse chant with polyphony?

    We have choirs that can handle either version.

    Thanks for all opinions and help!

    Stephanie B.
  • 4. Would it be "strange" or "uncouth" to intersperse chant with polyphony?


    Absolutely not. In fact, it's pretty common practice to alternate chant and polyphony when singing psalms and other canticles; I can't see why it would be odd to do the same with the Reproaches.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,402
    Just wanted to re-endorse Bruce Ford's "englishing" of the Reproaches!
    Thanked by 2Spriggo hilluminar
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    We're doing the terrifying Sanders Reproaches.
  • My adaptation of the traditional chant to the new English translation is attached, which you are free to use.
  • CGM
    Posts: 558
    Sanders's setting is terrifyingly awesome!
  • AMAJ
    Posts: 26
    Thanks to all who have shared their adaptations on this thread - much appreciated.
    We are working on Victoria's Popule Meus this year for the first time, but I would like to chant the verses in English. Has anyone ever had great success with this using a specific setting above (or elsewhere)?
    Thanks!
  • Richard Mix (and anyone else who uses the ICEL translation):

    First, let me complement you on your adaptation. Rarely do those who intend text and chant in English succeed in making the melody fit convincingly with the text and vice versa.

    That said.....

    How do you justify using a text which, while accurate, takes all the poetry out of the original?
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,615
    We are still using the "Tonus Peregrinus" setting from Worship II edited by W.A.B. - whoever that was - and R.J.B. which I am thinking is Robert J. Batastini. It differs a bit from the new translation, but we like it, it works for us and the cantor who sings it, and don't plan to change.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,876
    edited by W.A.B. - whoever that was

    Just checked. W.A.B. = William A. Bauman. I was so wanting it to be something like Wolfgang Amadeus Bozart.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,498
    Thank you for the complement, Chris. It's not my place to justify our parish's bilingual tradition as to celebrate it, assuming you're talking about Latin. Before ICEL we did a couple of years of Burgess (or was it Palmer?), an 'original' that had altogether too much poetry for my own taste.
  • Richard,

    I'm pleased to offer compliments when they are bestowable for merit.

    My problem with the ICEL translation is not that it's English, but that it takes intentional word play and neutralizes it.

    Examples of what I mean, not using the Reproaches...

    The prayers for the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola make use of Igne -- fire.
    The propers for the Feast of St. Margaret of Scotland include the "pearl of great price", which is margarita in Latin.


    many other examples could be cited.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,498
    I myself have no trouble getting margarita from English "Margaret" and suppose other listeners who might understand Latin are capable of the same jump.

    But no example from the Reproaches? Is "all the poetry" a bit of hyperbole then? ;-)