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 resides with his wife and children.
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“By a decree of the synod of the diocese of Exeter in 1284, no one should claim any seat in a church; but whoever first entered a church for the purpose of devotion, might choose at his pleasure a place for praying.”
— A work by Fr. Husenbeth (d. 1872)

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Is The Brébeuf Hymnal Too Scrupulous?
published 31 May 2018 by Jeff Ostrowski

HE SAINT Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal project has been underway for five years, and will soon be released. You would not believe the amount of research even one hymn requires. Creating even one table 1 can take an entire week. I recall one instance where the committee argued about a single word for more than a week. Sometimes the mind can play tricks. Sometimes our committee asks: “Are we being too scrupulous? Why so much deliberation over every choice? Why so much discussion about a single stanza, or even a single word?”

We took as our models the most beautiful and meticulously produced books of all time. Many were produced at Solesmes, and it can be a great consolation to find mistakes even in the most respected books. For example, a famous (and fantastic) book produced by Solesmes Abbey in 1885 has this glaring mistake:

88789 Homer Nods SOLESMES


(They corrected this in later books.)

Can you spot the egregious error in this 1913 book by Fr. Adrian Fortescue?

Hint: It has to do with an accent mark.

88787 FORTESCUE ERROR ACCENT


No matter how much effort our committee exerts, I’m sure there will be typos. We also have a group of proofreaders who have promised to assist—which is awesome. Remembering that someone as great as Fortescue made errors is a consolation.

Even Homer nods.



NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1   When I reference “tables,” I’m referring to huge sheets of paper containing as many as 24 different translations. As part of the editorial process, we assemble every translation ever made for each Breviary hymn. Only by this process can the best translations be chosen. In some instances, we have commissioned translations by modern experts.