Looking for some chants in English
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 198
    I'm looking for the following Gregorian chant in English, and wondered if anyone already knows of a version available before I do any of my own translating. I've looked through the CMAA site and St. Meinrad's site but didn't see these:

    Te Deum
    Christus Vincit
    Litany of Loreto (and/or All Saints)
    O Panis dulcissime
    Jesu nostra refectio
    Jesu dulcis memoria
    (these are all from my Cantus Selecti)


    Any good classic Catholic hymns for Saint Joseph and Our Lady you could recommend? I pulled some Christmas carols from the CMAA downloads, and Hail Holy Queen and Let All Mortal Flesh Be Silent, just because I recognized those. What else might be good?

    I'm looking for songs that are hearty and singable and traditional, to use in the English class at the seminary when I do my monthly "sing-along-in-English" visits to the English class.

    I'm working on an English Anima Christi - I'll post it when I'm done for critique, correction and sharing.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 313
    Good Our Lady hymns
    O purest of creatures
    Mary immaculate, star of the morning
    I'll sing a hymn to Mary
    Holy Virgin, by God's decree
    Immaculate Mary (the Lourdes hymn)
    these last two are very singable
    Tell out, my soul (the Magnificat)
    St Joseph
    Dear husband of Mary
    Also note Dear St Joseph pure and gentle, guardian of the Saviour child.
    this was known as the hymn for a happy death, because the chorus is 'Teach O teach us how to die'
    When I was at school we used to sing 'Teach our teachers how to die' so maybe one to avoid?
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 184
    Litany of Loreto in this thread. https://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/2061/litany-of-loreto-litany-of-the-b.m.v.#Item_9

    Litany of Saints (as on Easter Vigil) is in the Roman Missal.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    Te Deum is available in the official translation in Paul Ford's book "By Flowing Waters", at p. 394.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,437
    Jesu dulcis is found in translation set to its proper tune at no. 650 in The Hymnal 1982
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 6,814
    Salieri beat me to it.
    Actually, there are quite a number of Englished Latin office hymns in the 1940 and the 1982.
    Also in The English Hymnal of 1906.
    The ones in The English Hymnal appear with real square notes, too!

    Also, if you can find one, Sir Sidney H. Nicholson's A Plainsong Hymnbook is a collection of Englished office and other hymns, set with square notes.*
    This book is out of print and rare, but is a collector's treasure.
    I you can find a copy, snatch it up.
    (I see that there is one available from Amazon for 58 pounds.)
    It was published in the 30's under the auspices of Hymns A & M.

    Also, you could invest less than $20 in the Lumen Christi Hymnal, which has several hundred translated office hymns with their historic plainchant tunes (in addition to several hundred very fine SATB hymns).

    Another really fine source for English chant is Canticum novum, by Fr Anthony Ruff, which may be had from GIA. This little book has many psalms, antiphons, hymns, and other English chants which would be ideal for novices.

    Not to be overlooked is the Palmer-Burgess Plainchant Gradual, a reprint being available from the CMAA.
    This, as most know, is the Graduale Romanum translated into Old Church English.

    Finally, Chonak just above suggested Dr Paul Ford's By Flowing Waters. I would second this as a superb source of English chant for novices as well as more experienced chanters.

    *Contents of Sir Sidney's hymnbook include English versions of the Lenten and Advent proses, several sequences, Ave verum corpus, and a generous collection of office hymns, devotional hymns, eucharistic hymns, saints' hymns, seasonal hymns, and more.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 198
    The book recommendations are useful. It's expensive and sometimes unreliable to ship books overseas, so I would tend to order only ones which had an abundance of good choices in them. PDFs of old out-of-print hymnals are sometimes helpful if I'm just going to choose a few hymns to print out.
  • It may be a good idea to consistently bring something like Lumen Christi or the 1940 hymnal at some point. Many seminarians' only music training and therefore awareness of musical resources occurs in Seminary. When they get out to parishes and want to sing the things they sang in Seminary, it would be good if they thought "Lumen Christi is the hymnal I want this parish to get"
    Thanked by 1WGS
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 198
    @liampmcdonough - I live in a non-English speaking country south of the equator, so they are unlikely to celebrate in English, ever. But I go to the English grammar class once a month to give them a break from grammar and teach English chant/hymns. These are first and second year seminarians. I am taking advantage of the opportunity to give them an environment in which they can a) sing freely, even if they don't have much skill, since this in itself can help with confidence and ability and b) learn the melodies of common Gregorian chants and good hymn melodies (even if using English text) so they have that in their ears for the future.

    So for instance last semester we worked on the Our Father (English) in the same melody as the Latin chant, Credo III in English (they had never sung a Creed ever, but now they will recognize the melody of Credo III...sneaky!), the Missa de Angelis ordinary.... I thought this semester I'd also bring some traditional hymns, since the texts are pious and the melodies tend to be quite singable and memorable.

    My goals (which are flexible, since I don't know where this might go) are to give them a joyful hour and a half of singing and fun, while planting seeds of useful things....