AWRENCE RUTHERFORD is to be congratulated for his new publication: English Psalm-Tone Propers for the Ordinary Form of the Mass. He has carefully set the Introits, Responsorial Psalms, Alleluias, Offertories, and Communions to the traditional Gregorian psalm tones, also providing organ accompaniments. I had concerns about his unique notational style, but, having carefully examined his books, I see that my concerns were unfounded. Moreover, the thoughtful way he fits English texts to the Psalm Tones—which were designed for the Latin language—is remarkable.
Anyone interested in restoring the Propers to a vernacular Mass ought to pick up a copy of this two-volume set. The settings are very simple: even a single cantor can tackle them. The editor has included a few Latin verses for the more famous Introits, but less than 1% of the entire book is in Latin. He has also included nice artwork with reflections.
As with any publication, there are a few typos which need to be corrected in subsequent editions. Good Friday lacks a page number in the index. A header in the Preface is incorrect. The page numbers overlap in some instances. Such minor errors happen in almost every publishing project.
DURING A REVIEW, it’s normal for the reviewer to mention one “flaw.” I have to say that I wish Mr. Rutherford had set the Sung Propers (which come from the Revised 1974 Gradual) instead of setting the Spoken Propers (which come from the Sacramentary). Obviously, he had no choice about the Offertories, which do not exist in the Sacramentary, and needed to be taken from the Gradual.
If a congregation is following the Mass by means of a printed Order of Worship, such as the Jogues Illuminated Missal, they will be looking at the Sung Propers. That means their texts will match Mr. Rutherford’s almost perfectly, except for the Communion antiphons. Therefore, either the congregation will be confused by hearing the Spoken Text Communion (a.k.a. “Sacramentary Text Communion”) or the musician should use some other collection, such as the Simple English Propers (CMAA, 2011) for the Communion.
MY REVIEW IS FINISHED but I would like to say I’m really glad Aquinas & More is still running. (A few years ago, they announced they would be closing.) Also, I would like to know if Mr. Lawrence M. Rutherford is related to Ian Rutherford, who runs Aquinas & More. If not, that’s some coincidence!