So many options...
  • Hello again, Hivemind.

    I would like to get your feedback, what you have used, what is working for you, etc...

    I am getting tired of the continued cost (to my budget and to my time) of making copies of various chants for my choir to use for the Communio. There is not a standard set that has been used at this parish before me, though there is a diocesan recommended set of propers. I will go through the various sets of propers I've dabbled in and ask for your thoughts on the matter, and if you have used anything else besides what I have here mentioned. My intention is to find a set that I can use between schola, solo cantor, and musicians at many different levels of skill and levels of opinion (some of whom love chant, some who tolerate it, and some who really don't like it...).

    Liber Usuals (I.E. Graduale Romanum): This is simply not practical for week in week out at my N.O. parish. I do pull from these for various feasts for my schola only, but they are not practical for my cantors and would simply not be overly welcome at my parish at this point. (I pray they are more well-received as I am able to teach, but now is not the time.)

    Graduale Simplex (in English): This is a huge project that I and a friend have undertaken in our (cough, cough) "COPIOUS FREE TIME." Taking a cue from Aristotle Esguerra, we are working to translate and transcribe the entirety (including psalms and alleluia psalms) of the GS into english for practical use in a parish where Latin is not as friendly. This idea, while EXCEPTIONALLY time consuming, I think is a great balance for it focuses on a very few propers. It would allow Schola, various other choirs, and cantors alike to focus their time and efforts on a few chants, learning them well and internalizing them. The issue here, again, is time and effort. I have only managed to transcribe a few of the communio's and, to do them well, they take alot of time to get ready for my singers.

    Fr. Samuel Weber, Proper of the Mass: I LOVE THIS SET. The only reason I have not implimented this (or any of the next few entries of this list) is due to the cost. I know that I need to commit to a way forward, but before I buy 30-40+ copies for all of my various choir members and cantors, I want to be fully convinced that it is the best way forward. I like the offering of 2-3 settings that vary in difficulty. Regardless, I know that I will receive pushback from the various "progressives" in my choirs and cantors regarding the 4-line notation. They are simply against anything that doesn't pass the "traditionalist sniff test." Small thing to worry about, I know, but still a consideration for me at this point, sadly.

    Simple English Propers: I also adore this collection. They seem to me to be a bit in their own world of modalities, but maybe that's just me. They repeat melodic themes quite a bit, which I think is advantageous. I'm not always a fan of some of the translations and how they are set to the melodies... but that's a VERY MINOR personal qualm (I'm thinking about the Introit for the 4th Sunday of Advent as an example.

    English Proper Chants: I had never heard of this set by John Ainsle until I arrived at my current parish/diocese, where it is listed as one option as the Diocesan-recommended set (in combination with the "Let Us All Rejoice" collection published by OCP. This set, as published by Liturgical Press out of Collegeville seems workable enough, but as they also seem to be in their own little world. They seem to abandon some general practices of chant, though they are in modern notation. Regardless of all of this, they don't seem overly beautiful to me. They are very practical and sing as such. They also only include Introits and Communios. If anyone knows this set or has used it, what was your experience?

    St. Meinrad Propers by Fr. Columba Kelly: This set (also published by OCP) is by far the most expensive set of all of these. However, I also feel that it is as flexible as the Fr. Samuel Weber set. In modern notation, Fr. Columba Kelly has offered the full propers in conjunction with a "Congregational Refrain" that is exceptionally simple. Having used these very little so far, I have found them to be realistic in matching the various levels I am encountering between my Schola, my cantors, etc. The other thing I really enjoy about them is that they use the Meinrad psalm tones, which are quite favored in my region. My only complaint is that they are like the Ainsle, they only include Introits and Communios - not the end of the world; just a personal complaint.

    Lalemant Propers (CCW): I have actually gotten to really appreciate this set, but I do not feel that it truly acts as any more than a stepping stone.

    Lumen Christi Simple Gradual: A strong competitor in all of this. I like it quite alot, and I equate it as a simplified "Simple English Propers." I think it is very effective, though I have never had a chance to use it at Mass or with other singers, therefore I'm not sure how well it compares with the others on this list. Thoughts on this set?



    There is nothing saying I can't use a mish-mash of any and all the above, but I'm looking for ease of use, limited to no printing if possible, and a good all-around option. (Sacrifices will have to be made, I know.)

    What is your experience with any or all of these? Have you used something else in addition to these? Not looking for a final answer here - just using this as research to consider in my ongoing search!

    Thank you all for you help. May God be with you as we all serve our respective parishes, and I pray you all have a most prayerful and rejuvenating Lent!

    Bombarde16
  • CGM
    Posts: 664
    One more to add to the mix: Richard Rice's English chant adaptations, which he just posted about here.
  • The Lumen Christi propers are great. They're a step up from SEP but they're still easy to learn and sing on a weekly basis. Also, they're antiphons from the gradual and not settings of the spoken texts from the missal, so that's an added plus.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,289
    Simple English Propers are my go-to.
  • My parish has used the Lumen Christi settings for nearly 10 years and the congregation could probably hum along with them by now (so the choirs have no issues singing them). I personally enjoy the more melismatic Fr. Weber chants though.
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,147
    If you want the Simplex in English why not use Paul Ford's By Flowing Waters? Or at least mention it? Highly recommended.
  • @Andrew_Malton I have Paul Ford's By Flowing Waters . While I respect the work he has done, and I have found it quite useful on an individual basis, I believe it to be more a work of his own doing inspired by the simplex.

    The translations aren't as faithful to the Latin as I would prefer them to be, especially considering how the others are more faithful to the given texts of the Mass. I would not feel good using the work as a whole, but would be happy to be selective. As such, I don't feel that it makes the list as something that I would feel good buying 30-40+ copies.

    Too picky? Perhaps. Elitist? I pray not. Erring on the side of caution for the sake of the propers of the Mass given to us by Holy Mother Church? Most definitely.
  • @CGM thank you! Just purchased last night to add to the collection! Using them this morning for the introit, as a matter of fact!
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,011
    Both of Fr. Columba Kelly's sets of entrance and communion antiphons with verses may be downloaded as pdfs for free at the following CMAA website:
    https://musicasacra.com/music/english-propers/

    Scroll through the list to find each set. However, they are written in neumes in the pdf versions.

    I don't know whether those melodies are the same as the modern notation versions published by OCP.

    Did you know that you can download Fr. Weber's chants in modern notation for free at the following website?

    https://sacredmusicus.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/the-proper-of-the-mass-organ-accompaniment-complete/

    I have used Fr. Weber's chants, usually the easier ii or iii settings, and some from The Lumen Christi Gradual. Both have worked well to introduce vernacular chant to my formerly (before I arrived) exclusively OCP Breaking Bread dependent parish.

    The Lumen Christi Gradual is no longer being printed. It's been replaced by Adam Bartlett's Source and Summit subscription program, where you could get the chants in modern notaton:

    https://www.sourceandsummit.com/

    You can get a free trial of the service, if you wish.

    I think the fact that it's a subscription service is a drawback. Not cheap.
    Thanked by 2LauraKaz CHGiffen
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,131
    Another option: Communio with English verses, which has Latin antiphons and vernacular psalm verses.
    Besides the PDF version, the book is available as a book: https://shop.musicasacra.com/product/communio-with-english-verses/
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,697
    I have both versions of the communio and love them. In fact, I had one of them cut and spiral bound.
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • Having had the same experience as you in this regard when I came here to the monastery I'm currently at helping out, I went for the Weber only. I'm not a fan of English adaptations but at present it is the way to go for this community. We mostly use the 2nd version which I think works better with English than the 1st more melismatic version. During the week we mostly use one of the chant tone settings although sometimes we use the last refrain/verse/refrain settings. Sometimes I feel like there are TOO many options!
    I found that the Lulu printings too cheap and poorly made so I used Barnes and Noble press and printed them for our own use. Better quality binding, paper, etc.
  • Humbly submitted: http://www.communionantiphons.org

    The cost is free, though if you wanted to purchase a copy of the SATB book for copies, that's still inexpensive overall.

    They also don't preclude the use of the Graduale, since they are meant to be sung either instead of or in conjunction with the Gregorian proper.
    Thanked by 3irishtenor CharlesW Bri
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,289
    I have made use of @Andrew's antiphons in the past when I was a seminary music director, and they were very useful and well-received.
    Thanked by 1Andrew Motyka
  • @Andrew_Malton I have Paul Ford's By Flowing Waters . While I respect the work he has done, and I have found it quite useful on an individual basis, I believe it to be more a work of his own doing inspired by the simplex.

    The translations aren't as faithful to the Latin as I would prefer them to be, especially considering how the others are more faithful to the given texts of the Mass. I would not feel good using the work as a whole, but would be happy to be selective. As such, I don't feel that it makes the list as something that I would feel good buying 30-40+ copies.

    Too picky? Perhaps. Elitist? I pray not. Erring on the side of caution for the sake of the propers of the Mass given to us by Holy Mother Church? Most definitely.


    Good day, Bombarde16. I'd like to reply to just some of your observations about By Flowing Waters. You might favor me with further questions and observations. If I satisfy your concerns, you may wish to ask for the special bulk discount for The Liturgical Press of $7/copy.

    I undertook the task of marrying the official ICEL translation of the Graduale Simplex to its chant tunes to make the beauty of this official source more available to the English-reading world.

    The translation was very rarely mine, and only for the materials added by Solesmes for the second typical edition (Numbers 108, 113, 175, 281, 294, 302, 306, 529, 532, 538, 542, 543, 553, 635, 636, 637, 638, 639, 640, 641, 641, 642, 651, 656, 657, 658, 659, 660, 661, and 662). I believe Father Stephen Somerville translated the texts for ICEL.

    I added very little of my own work: the selection of texts for Ordinary Time IX and the tune to 294, and the tune and text of 546.

    Oregon Catholic Press was to be the first publisher of my work and for them I shifted from the square notation to the modern and used the NRSV psalms, which had and has the imprimatur. I took eighteen months to engrave the entire text.

    OCP was forced to cancel the publication of my book and I labored for three years and six petitions to US Bishops Committee on the Liturgy to get them to allow me to print the book. They relented but I was denied the use of the working title A Simple Gradual.; hence BFW.

    As far as my care in my work, you might reread my note for scholars on pp. xxxvi–xxxix.

    Late Lenten blessings,
    Paul
  • hilluminar
    Posts: 118
    It is pathetic and disheartening to learn that OCP was FORCED to cancel publication of BFW, and that the US Bishops Committee on the Liturgy "relented" finally, and allowed BFW to be printed. I understand that some of the melodies predate what is found in the Roman Gradual; and, as I also am an organist at a Maronite rite church, I have discovered several melodies that are exactly the same as the Maronites use. These melodies must be VERY old. I still use #150, #178, and #186 during the Paschal Season. I have been told that this melody alone (which all of the above use, but to different psalms) is worth the price of the book. I agree with the forward to BFW which states that: "The Simple Gradual...is almost like a Rosetta Stone, a missing link or even the golden key which unlocks the mysteries of the intentions of liturgical musical renewal of the Second Vatican Council."
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,339
    the mysteries of the intentions of liturgical musical renewal of the Second Vatican Council
    It shows the driving impulse behind Bugnini, but how generally that was shared is unclear. He encountered ferocious opposition from the musical establishment, and derision from the revolutionaries who largely carried the day while proponents of chant squabbled
    Simple Latin chant was at the heart of Bugnini's vision. Had GS not been delayed by opponents it would have been one of the first fruite of VII. And at the very end of of his opus he has a lament that for the 1975 Holy Year his Congregation drafted a booklet, but CMIS† claimed that task as theirs "with the result, of course, that nothing was done"
    † CMIS the international body which includes CMAA
  • Thank you, hilluminar. You might find helpful this Index of Latin Antiphons, a work-in-progress.

    I too am partial to #150, #178, and #186. Their melody is from the great Easter Vespers, sung in the churches of medieval France. It combines very decorative psalmody in various successive tenors [chanting notes]—mi, fa, sol, la—with double and triple alleluias, in the ancient responsorial style. The Graduale Simplex of Paul VI revived this form of popular psalmody to link aurally and vocally the greatest solemnities of the Easter season: Easter Sunday, the Ascension, and Pentecost.
  • Paul, Thank you so much for the background and your response. I will message you privately, when my schedule allows. Thank you, again, for your response! I am very intrigued.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • Paul, firstly I would like to apologize. I intended no offense toward your great labor of love for the church.

    I have re-read through the front matter of BFW, I realize now that either I did not notice or that I had forgotten that you used the NRSV. While not my favorite translation, there is no doubt that the work is momentous and exceptionally valuable to the church.

    I hope I did not, and I apologize if i did insult you with the post that you referenced above. Thank you for giving me perspective and correcting my misunderstandings.
  • Anthony
    ,

    It shows the driving impulse behind Bugnini, but how generally that was shared is unclear. He encountered ferocious opposition from the musical establishment, and derision from the revolutionaries who largely carried the day while proponents of chant squabbled
    Simple Latin chant was at the heart of Bugnini's vision. Had GS not been delayed by opponents it would have been one of the first fruite of VII. And at the very end of of his opus he has a lament that for the 1975 Holy Year his Congregation drafted a booklet, but CMIS† claimed that task as theirs "with the result, of course, that nothing was done"
    † CMIS the international body which includes CMAA


    It appears that you and I are among the few who know that the Graduale Simplex underwent twelve attacks in its infancy. Msgr Fred McManus was one of my canonical experts who helped me do battle with the USCCB and he loved the Graduale Simplex as it was used throughout the fourth session of Vatican II in 1965. As his request I added the two sung versions of the Apostles' Creed to BFW, #625 and £626.

    I cherish my two copies of this book, and my one copy of the Extraordinary Jubilee Book, which used the Graduale Simplex and the Graduale Romano.

    Blessings,
    Paul

  • Simple Latin chant was at the heart of Bugnini's vision


    Whatever else this is, it's absolute nonsense. I've read Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,339
    You have to remember that for Bugnin;s generation Italian was the the vernacular language of less than half the population. In 1951 more than 10% of the population could not speak it, and less than 40% spoke it regularly.
    The label "dialect" may be understood erroneously to imply that the native languages spoken in Italy are "dialects" of Standard Italian in the prevailing English-language sense of "varieties or variations of a language". This is not the case in Italy, as the country's long-standing linguistic diversity does not actually stem from Standard Italian.