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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“I should not like to be too harsh on this commission’s labors. It numbered a certain number of genuine scholars and more than one experienced and judicious pastor. Under different circumstances, they might have accomplished excellent work. Unfortunately, on the one hand, a deadly error in judgment placed the official leadership of this committee in the hands of a man who—though generous and brave—was not very knowledgeable: Cardinal Larcaro. He was utterly incapable of resisting the maneuvers of the mealy-mouthed scoundrel that the Neapolitan Vincentian, Annibale, a man as bereft of culture as he was of basic honesty, soon revealed himself to be.”
— Fr. Bouyer, a liturgical expert appointed by Pope Paul VI

OFFERTORY: Chant Propers in Three Parts for Sundays & Feasts
published 14 June 2015 by Fr. David Friel

629 Naples MONG THE MOST neglected of the propers is the offertorium. The Gregorian propers assigned to this moment of the liturgy are exceedingly rarely heard, yet so many of them are exquisitely beautiful.

There are numerous reasons why they are so often ignored, including their relative complexity. Many choirs & scholae do not have the time to practice these chants week to week, or they simply choose to focus their efforts elsewhere. The offertory chants have also been somewhat overlooked in the revolution of new vernacular resources we have seen in the world of sacred music over the last decade.

The need for more quality resources for the offertory has now been supplied.

Today, I would like to introduce to our readership a unique resource: Offertory, a new publication by Dr. Jon Naples. Offertory is a volume of choral chant propers in three parts for Sundays and feasts (complete). The project utilizes the Revised Grail Psalm texts for the verses and takes the antiphon texts from the Graduale.

Here are two audio samples (sung by Matthew Curtis) to give you a sense of the compositional style:

    * *  Audio Sample • EASTER SUNDAY OFFERTORY

    * *  Audio Sample • PALM SUNDAY OFFERTORY

There are several strengths worth highlighting about this collection. First, it is well organized and cleanly engraved, making it very user-friendly. Additionally, the composition is limited to only three voices, making each antiphon & verse accessible to a wide range of choirs. These voices are easily invertible, such that the various parts may be sung variously by men or women.

Moreover, this volume shows great respect for the unmetricality of English vocabulary and syntax. The employment of Psalm tones by Fr. Samuel Weber & Adam Bartlett make this a useful book for easily singing propers in English. For most Sundays and feasts, the composer has provided two disparate settings of the antiphon. In both, the melody remains the same, but the harmonization has been changed, lending greater musical interest when these options are used in alternatim.

Finally, these settings were developed by a parish musician in the context of his own parish choir, so they are practical in addition to being beautiful. I would recommend this work for parish & seminary use. It draws its inspiration from the chant tradition, and it offers beautiful settings of proper English texts.

Offertory was released earlier this year and is now available for purchase HERE. A few sample pages are available HERE.

R. JON NAPLES holds his D.M.A. in Music Composition from the University of Southern California (1995), where he studied under Morten Lauridsen. He has a background in several instruments and voice. His compositions have placed in major competitions, and he has work published through CanticaNOVA Publications. He is now in his 11th year as Director of Sacred Music at St. Margaret Parish in Oceanside, CA. Dr. Naples was also involved in the Adventus Dona conference that I covered HERE back in November.