Chants for St. Joseph the Worker
  • In one of my choirs, we briefly discussed how the chants for this Sunday seem a little unusual, and there was speculation that they were later (very late) compositions: perhaps 19th or 20th Century. Does anyone know their history?


  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,349
    I believe they are neo-gregorian, and Solesmes did not want to produce them... Fortunately my books do not have them, so we can't sing them.
    Thanked by 1amindthatsuits
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,865
    The feast was instituted in 1955, so yes, very new. And they don't seem to crib as much from previous chants as most new chants do. That said, when we rehearsed them Tuesday night, they did not seem as weird as the last time we did them, the 2nd Alleluia excepted, which is quite tricky.

    For those who use the Preserving Christian Publications reprint of the Liber Brevior (temporarily out of print, though more are expected any week now), St. Joseph Workman is actually in there, as part of an unpaginated grouping of new feasts and feasts proper to the USA, at the very end of the book. AND the two Alleluias are also found in the (old) solemnity of St. Joseph (Weds. of the 3rd Week of Easter) on p. 250 of LB, so they have simplified counterparts in the "Bracket section" ([30])
    Thanked by 1amindthatsuits
  • We thought they were very unusual but beautiful. “Neo-Gregorian” is an interesting term, as there was no one period when they were all composed, was there? So just “recent” to my thinking, in a long line of composition. And these are very beautiful.
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,068
    In the spirit of historically informed performance, should one sing these propers in a carefully old Solesmes chant style? Because that's the idiom they were composed for?
  • JonathanKKJonathanKK
    Posts: 536
    Andrew - you are right on about that.
  • Do we know who composed them? He may have been a student of Cardine’s—or even been Cardine. I love knowing the history but I could only suggest that the rule might be “do what you normally do.” That choir where we talked about this does a strict Solesmes style and it sounded awesome in rehearsal.
  • I just sang them again this morning and that comment about the second Alleluia was correct. It is tricky.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Yes, they are in the supplemented parts at the end of my Liber Brevior, though there is a misplaced horizontal episema between the LB and CCW in the offertory chant. That was a bit confusing, since I sing from my Liber and others sing from printed CCW pages.

    I didn’t particularly care for these chanted Alleluias.
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 23
    Royce Nickel identifies the following sources for these chants in his edition:
    In. Ego clamavi
    Of. Populum humilem
    Co. Domine quis habitabit
    See Johner's commentary for the Alleluias, which were used for the former solemnity.
    The introit is also reminiscent of Dum sanctificatus and Dignus est Agnus.

    Regarding historically informed performance practice for the so-called neo-Gregorian chants, I will simply quote what I posted on the matter in another thread:
    Many of the rhythmic indications of the ancient manuscripts were misinterpreted by the monks that edited the Solesmes editions. This is old news, now well known, and should no longer be a controversial statement in 2022, but here we are! Considering that they crafted these chants from other chants found in those manuscripts, it seems reasonable to interpret the rhythm according to those sources, not the 20th-century misinterpretation of them.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw madorganist