Midnight Mass Communion Antiphon
  • Hi everybody: I am confused: the Communion antiphon for Midnight Mass (New and old orders) is (I think) 'In splendoribus' (Amidst the heavens); but the Canadian pew missal seems to have 'The Word became flesh'. Am I missing something here?
    thanks and best wishes! William Renwick
  • Missal antiphons vs. GR antiphons.
  • OK, great; so what is the difference between Missal antiphons and ?Graduale Romanum? antiphons? thanks
  • OK, I have found an explanatory article at New Advent; thanks very much!
  • The GR contains the true, ancient, and historical propers of the mass. These antiphons and responories, five of them for every feast, are the true propers. They are always permitted as one of several options laid out in the GIRM. The mere two antiphons in the Roman missal are for the priest to say when there is no music. This hasn't stopped some from setting them to music, publishing them, and calling them 'propers'.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,082
    Pope Paul VI's apostolic constitution "Missale Romanum" (1969) has some explanation about the addition of the missal antiphons, which were intended solely for recitation.
  • chonak - I know we go round this loop repeatedly, but :
    "were intended" is (always) incomplete without knowing who intended it. Bugnini says "The entrance and communion antiphons of the Missal were intended to be recited, not sung, and to inspire the composition of suitable songs in the vernacular " Reform p.891
    The purpose of the distinction about a Missa lecta is evidently the preservation of the ancient Gregorian chants from any neo-gregorian innovations in Latin. The Apostolic Constitution does not even mention the Graduale Simplex. Any vernacular translation of the Missal involves some adaptation, and Paul VI recognizes that :
    While leaving room in the new Missal, ..., "for legitimate variations and adaptations,"
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,173
    The Apostolic Constitution does not even mention the Graduale Simplex.

    Which was the greatest flop imaginable. The only thing that stuck was the idea of singing three-fold Office antiphons in place of the Mass Alleluias; and the only thing of real value in it is the Kyrial.

    And, even if chanting the Missal antiphons isn't part of option 1 in some countries (like it is in the US GIRM), they are the best option for an alius cantus aptus, especially considering that 98% of the Entrance Chants are the Introits from the Graduale.
  • Most of the inventiveness went into "Ordinary Time", where of course there were new readings to be matched. And a lot of that into ferial weekdays where it has little chance of being sung, though Fr Weber seems to have provided for every eventuality, on the web.
    As to GS, it could have played a very useful role in stemming the tide of polluting rubbish, had opposition, and timing of calendar revisions, not derailed it, IMHO.
  • Using the Missal's mere two antiphons instead of the GR propers, whether in the original Latin or in English translation such as Palmer-Burgess or Bruce Ford's The American Gradual, etc., only exacerbates the confusion over what the Mass Proper really is. The meager two missal antiphons and the RP and Alleluia are thought of as two distinct units which have no basic or necessary relationship to each other. The ancient Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion do form a coherent whole, fulfilling all the non ordinary musical needs of the mass (not counting the lectionary, etc). Not so with the current practice by which the RP and Alleluia are commonly published (mostly in unbelievably poor settings) as a distinct unit, and the Missal's mere two antiphons are being treated more and more as another distinct unit. Gone is the patrimonial concept of the five propers as a coherent, unified whole. With this arrangement the offertory antiphon is jettisoned altogether. When we learn to think, remember, and conceive of Entrance (Introit), Resp Ps or gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion as a coherent whole and publish them as such we will again understand what propers really are, and stop treating the missal antiphons versus the RP and Alleluia as if they were separate entities which have no necessary musical, literary, or ritual relationship. As it is, we are participating in a very thoughtless and ritually destructive process.

    In the Ordinariate Use all five of the historic propers appear in English in our missals, and if there is no music the celebrant recites them - all five of them. We alternate at times between singing the proper psalm in directum to Anglican chant, and the grail (gradual) sung as in the Palmer-Burgess Plainsong Gradual or the Anglican Use Gradual versions.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,173
    Lettest thou not the enemy of the good the perfect be. (Or wordes to that effect.)

    Unfortunately, many of us are not bless'd to be in the milieu of the Latin Extraordinary Form or the Ordinariate, and must make do with what we have---which includes pastors. Latin in many places is all but verboten, and it can take years for The Powers that Be to acquiesce to a simple Communion Antiphon, and that under the stipulation that it be in English, and match one of the Options in the Missalettes. While I agree with you that the Graduale Propers are better, the Missal Antiphon chanted even to a psalm-tone (like in the St. Peter Gradual) is better than nothing at all.

    Also, in the Ordinary Form we have 60+ years of "The Music Must Match the 'Theme' of the Lectionary" baggage that has to be stripped away before certain things are welcomed. Nearly every Catholic Hymnal that I have seen, with very few exceptions--like the Adoremus--have an index of hymns cross referenced to particular Sundays, not just a scriptural index, so that the Hymns can "Match the Readings". The Ordinary Form wing of the Church is, in the main, hardly ready for the chanting of the Missal's Communion Antiphon "The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us" at Midnight Mass, let alone the Gradual "Tecum principium" for the same or, heaven forbid, "Vir erat"--the Job offertory--on Ordinary Time XXVII. There is also a bias against "Ye Olde Englishe" that needs to be dealt with, too. I once had a parishioner register an objection to (wait for it!) "Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing, Who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King" because: 'People don't talk like that'.

    As much as I wish it were n't so, One cannot simply foist The Plainchant Gradual on an unsuspecting Novus Ordo Parish. The people would be more revolting than they already are. (Or something like that.)
  • Salieri -
    Too painfully well do I understand what most are up against in the ordinary Roman rite parish. The propers, though, do not necessarily have to be in Latin, nor in chant. They may be put into modern English by anyone who has the imagination to do so, and set to any of a number of musical idioms - Introit, gradual OR Resp Ps, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion. I cannot imagine what would be unpalatble in this - all five of the propers in modern English set to your choice of musical idiom - all five published together in the same book. This would be a beginning, a starting place. Who could object to modern English and a modern (though not a so-called 'contemporary') musical idiom? And, always, the proper Resp Ps is an option in place of the gradual, but it is, nonetheless, a 'proper'. I believe that we are really missing the boat. I do not see that anyone is really giving creative attention to this matter, which cries out for cure. If no one proposes a better way, if we settle for being silenced and put down, nothing will ever happen. Debussy once said 'we shall all die, and we will die smothered by an all-pervasive mediocrity'. We shouldn't let that happen to us - or to the mass.

  • Let us not elevate the Propers so high, though, that one would prefer their text sung recto tono or to a psalm tone (destroying the balance of text and music so intrinsic to the idiom) to a real, musical, and textually apt composition that is not necessarily prescribed. The Proper texts themselves are nothing special - it is their union with supreme and unique melodies, above all the melismatic Gregorian repertoire, that grants them perennial status. Let us settle for nothing less.

    I would far rather hear Howells' A spotless rose at Christmas than some half-hearted recto tono rendition of Laetentur coeli, superior though the Gregorian melody would be to both (though I would never want to live without Howells). In my view, robbing the texts of their unique context just to have them "sung" in some way, shape, or form is pure rubricism and will likely be received horribly by those individuals opposed to Propers in the first place.

    I echo Jackson's desire to see collections in a properly modern (no pun intended) idiom.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • Schonbergian makes a cogent point about the quality of music. I hope that I was clear that any musical settings of the propers should necessarily be ritually fitting hieratic music. Too, I must disagree with him that 'the ...texts themselves are nothing special'. They are special enough to have been integral parts of the mass for over fifteen hundred years, whether sung to ritual chant or to organum, or to polyphonic treatments. Whether in Latin or English translation, the mass (not to mention our people) is impoverished without them and their rich scriptural content. Is it not strange indeed that Lutherans to this day know a number of Sundays by the Latin incipits of their introits whilst Catholics don't even know that there is such a thing as an introit - and would have a fit if its incipit were given in Latin. A great and heinous travesty has been done to the mass and to astonishingly ill-catechised Catholics themselves. It is a wrong that cries out for redress. If we don't climb our mountains we will never get anywhere. If I were half as good a composer as some of our Forum members or some of the very few living Catholic composers of note I would be composing a book of the five propers for every Sunday and Solemnity myself. But, alas...

    (Schongergian mentions his love of Howells - Hmmm, I'm wondering what a Howells setting of certain propers would sound like!)
  • I should qualify my remarks. As texts, the Propers are wonderful, luminous selections, uniquely apt for the weekly cycle. However, specifically musical selections in the Mass cannot solely rest on the text to carry an otherwise unrelated musical form like a psalm tone or recto tono. Compare the relatively simple tones for the Lectionary readings to the ornate tones for the shorter Proper texts, a very specific, intended, and appropriate difference in setting. To mix and match these forms because the Proper chant for the day is "too difficult" or any other excuse does a dis-service to the very idea of musical Propers and amounts to pure legalism in many circumstances. That is what I meant by the texts being "nothing special" - in and of themselves, they neither save an inappropriate musical form (witness the OCP Antiphons collection of late) nor, without the union of an admirable musical setting, are what the Church really intends or deserves.

    Spoken/recited Propers are a different matter entirely as the musical aspect is entirely absent, and they can stand in their own right as majestic and uniquely suited readings.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I would rather hear the proper texts -- all of them -- chanted even recto tono, than art music to a different text or which is out of place.