About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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"Like all other liturgical functions, like offices and ranks in the Church, indeed like everything else in the world, the religious service that we call the Mass existed long before it had a special technical name."
— Rev. Adrian Fortescue (1912)

“Veni Sancte Spiritus” • Sing Directly From An Ancient Manuscript!
published 16 May 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

767 Veni Sancte Spiritus OME BELIEVE that when Pope Pius X promulgated the Editio Vaticana, he got rid of ancient variants of Gregorian chant, but that view cannot be maintained. What Pius X did was create an official edition for the Church—which no other publisher could overrule—and anyone aware of the situation during those years realizes what a remarkable action this was.

It’s actually not forbidden to sing from ancient manuscripts—so long as the text is not altered—and this was done by the Sistine Chapel during papacy of Pope Saint Pius X. Moreover, the legislation of Pius X allows modern composers to replace the Vaticana melodies with their own creations, although this should be done only with discretion. 1

The FSSP choir in Los Angeles will be singing the “Golden Sequence” directly from a 13th-century manuscript on Pentecost Sunday:

You can download the musical score, which includes the ancient version, an English translation by Fr. Adrian Fortescue, and a modern notation version:

    * *  PDF Download • Singer’s Score / Ancient & Modern Notation

Teresa Clark has kindly sent another version, in box notation:

    * *  PDF Download • Gregorian Version (Courtesy T. Clark)

You can also download an organ accompaniment I composed earlier this week:

    * *  PDF Download • Organ Accompaniment by Jeff Ostrowski

The priest who taught me Gregorian chant doesn’t care for 2 the Belgian style of accompaniment. Please play through what I’ve written and let me know your thoughts on the CCW Facebook page. I always read the CCW Facebook comments about my articles—although I personally don’t have a Facebook account. I may not read them immediately, but sooner or later I always do. In particular, please tell me what you think of the organ stops I chose for “O Lux Beatissima” (VERSE 5) and “Sine Tuo Numine” (VERSE 6) in that video.


1   Speaking of the Victimae Paschali—another Sequence—Fr. Fortescue wrote: “The clanging melody (like the blare of trumpets) is one of the very finest pieces of plainsong we have. It seems the perfect musical expression of Easter. And its immemorial connection with the words makes it almost incredible that anyone should ever want to replace it by a modern composition.”

2   His precise words were: “De gustibus non est disputandum.”