VERYBODY TALKS about the Rossini Propers, but I’m a trained musician and I find them horribly-formatted and nearly impossible to sing. (example page)
Did you know many other composers created easy versions of the complete Mass Proper? Not long ago, we provided a complete organ edition of Propers created in Kansas. Today, we have Propers from England and San Antonio, Texas!
Here’s the collection from Texas, which was very nicely formatted by Fr. Theodore Labouré, and is extremely easy to sing:
The ones from England (originally published in 1905, not 1934) are choral arrangements, and struck me as very “Protestant-sounding” — which makes sense, I guess, since A. Edmonds Tozer (†1910) was formerly an Anglican:
Just like the Kansas Propers, these books have never been made available online before today!
I ALWAYS ENJOY SEEING what each composer does with the Sequences. In both cases, they strike me as more difficult than the authentic plainsong versions!
A few quotes from the introductions:
REV. THEODORE LABOURÉ in 1922 : The law of the Church plainly declares that, whenever High Mass is celebrated, the Proper of the Mass must be sung or at least recited. The reason for this is obvious: for it is the Proper and the Proper alone that differentiates one Mass from another — the sadness of Advent and Lent from the joy of Christmas and the triumph of Easter.
AUGUSTUS EDMONDS TOZER in 1905 : This arrangement of the Proprium Missæ for Sundays and Holidays is intended for those choirs who find the plain-chant from the Graduale beyond their powers of execution; and secondarily that those who regularly sing the prescribed melodies, but who may not be able to master everything set down for any particular Mass, may have something at hand which is easily learnt, and of greater musical interest than a mere recitation of the words on a monotone, or even to a psalmtone. It is of obligation to sing the proper Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion at every High Mass or Missa Cantata. It is better, then, in the writers opinion, to do well some such simple settings as these, than to labor indifferently through plain-chant, which is often very difficult.
For the record, the Solesmes simple arrangements (Chants Abrégés) are 1,000x more professional than the Rossini Propers, and both editions—1926 & 1955—are available online.