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The Vatican Gradual cheered our hearts by restoring the authentic form of the hymns therein. But there are very few hymns in the Gradual. We looked forward to the continuation of the same work, where it was so much more needed, in the Vesperal, and then in the new Breviary. Alas, the movement, for the present, has stopped. The new Vesperal and then the Breviary contain Urban VIII’s versions. So at present we have the odd situation that in the Gradual the old form of the hymns is restored; but when the same hymn (for instance “Vexilia regis”) comes again in the Vesperal, we must sing the seventeenth-century mangling.
— Adrian Fortescue (25 March 1916)

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Important Resources for Liturgical Reform (5 of 7)
published 12 August 2014 by Guest Author

EVERAL MONTHS AGO, VCL readers may recall, I posted about my work, the Simple English Choral Propers which uses the offertories from the “Simple English Propers” by Adam Bartlett (unaltered) as cantus firmi. The aim of these pieces: parish choirs of all sizes and skill levels who desire chant-based polyphony for their offertory Mass propers. They also propose a good stepping stone for the beginning choir to approach polyphony.

The strong response to my earlier post introducing these pieces shows 1) the enduring quality of the SEP themselves, 2) a desire on the part of parish choirs to choose a chant-based polyphonic setting of the offertory propers, 3) parish choirs preferring to eliminate the necessity of a second offertory song after a ‘compulsory’ propers chant exposition – as I have witnessed several parish choirs do since embracing the propers chants, and 4) the attractiveness of psalm tones proclaimed in choral harmony.

In the not too far off future, the entire cycle will be posted and a complete book will be available. At present, I am introducing a limited selection of the pieces that they may continue to get the ball rolling for parish choirs who find the SEP attractive and wish to explore more deeply the chant’s harmonic and rhythmic implications.

      * *  Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary — Free PDF

      * *  20th Sunday in Ordinary Time — Free PDF

      * *  23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time — Free PDF

      * *  28th Sunday in Ordinary Time — Free PDF

      * *  33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time — Free PDF

      * *  Christ the King Sunday — Free PDF

      * *  1st Sunday of Advent — Free PDF

      * *  2nd Sunday of Advent — Free PDF

      * *  3rd Sunday of Advent — Free PDF

      * *  4th Sunday of Advent — Free PDF

      * *  Christmas (vigil) — Free PDF

      * *  Christmas (midnight mass) — Free PDF

      * *  Christmas (daytime mass) — Free PDF

      * *  Epiphany — Free PDF

Assumed is a basic knowledge of the Simple English Propers as these pieces follow the same modus operandi. For those unfamiliar with SEP, they may want to look at this practical guide. A tutorial on SE Choral versions may be found here.


We hope you enjoyed this guest post by Jon Naples.



7-part series:   “Important Resources for Liturgical Reform”

FIRST PART • Richard Clark

SECOND PART • Veronica Brandt

THIRD PART • Fr. David Friel

FOURTH PART • Jeff Ostrowski

FIFTH PART • Jon Naples

SIXTH PART • Andrew Motyka

SEVENTH PART • Peter Kwasniewski