OCTOR FRANZ KARL PRASSL has sent us a wonderful gift: the 1904 Kyriale of Dr. Peter Wagner. But first, a bit of history, so I can “build this up.” I’ve had the honor to speak about the “mora vocis” of the Editio Vatican in a series of video lectures here. I donated a rare book called Our Position to the CMAA, and this was subsequently printed in Sacred Music. The author of the book, Fr. Raphael Molitor, was a monk at the Abbey of Beuron and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the creation of the Vatican Edition. Watershed’s Lalande Online Library was the first to make available online both Graduals by Peter Wagner’s teacher, Fr. Hermesdorff. My copy of Dr. Peter Wagner’s 1904 Kyriale has been part of the Lalande Library for years, but that version is modern notation, not Gregorian.
The Preface contains much important information, but perhaps most significant is image (upper right). Remember that Dom Molitor had written of Peter Wagner’s “good little book” as follows:
In other places, owing to the varying width of the space between the note-groups, it remains doubtful whether the editor really desired a mora or not. He seems to have felt this uncertainty himself when he wrote on p. VIII: De his omnibus rebus utile erit, transcriptionem in notas musicas modernas hujus libelli consulere. But what singer will buy a Kyriale when he finds he must purchase a second book as a key to the first? Even a choirmaster would scarcely do so. Finally, Professor Wagner’s Kyriale is not so rich in melodies as that of the Solesmes fathers.
I suppose 100 years later, the choirmaster could say, “I can download the modern notation edition freely at the Lalande Library.”
Here is the excerpt from Peter Wagner translated:
Hic non solum ultima nota ante finem partis cantus, sed etiam duae aliae * assignatae prolongandae sunt; ita divisio melodiae clarissima apparet et linea melodica minime dissecatur.
De his omnibus rebus utile erit, transcriptionem in notas musicas hodiernas huius libelli consulere.
Here not only the last note before the end of this part of the chant is to be lengthened, but the two other assigned *(starred) are to be lengthened so that the division of the melody becomes very clear and the melody line is in no way interrupted.
It will be helpful in all these matters to consult what this booklet says about transcribing music into modern notation.