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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Much of the beauty of the older forms was lost and the hymns did not really become classical. We have reason to hope that the present reform of the breviary will also give us back the old form of the hymns. But meanwhile it seems necessary to keep the later text. This is the one best known, it is given in all hymnbooks and is still the only authorized form. Only in one case have we printed the older text of a hymn, number 57, “Urbs Jerusalem.” The modern form of this begins: “Caelestis urbs Jerusalem.” But in this case the people who changed it in the seventeenth century did not even keep its metre; so the later version cannot be sung to the old, exceedingly beautiful tune.
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (1913)

“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.”