TEVEN VAN ROODE—the master who typeset the entire book of “Simple English Propers”—has pointed out that an interesting series of articles was published by The Tablet in the 1920s about Mass Propers:
* * 15 November 1924 • 636-638
* * 22 November 1924 • 666-670
* * 29 November 1924 • 702-703
They had wanted to give a monetary prize to the author of the best article, but the judges felt the essays were horrendous:
NE WRITER, instead of telling us how to sing the Proper, pleads for the abrogation of the Church’s law requiring the sacred words to be enounced by the choir at every High Mass or Missa Cantata. Another essayist, the holder of a musical degree, has astounded us by writing nineteen pages, in which neither Introit nor Gradual, neither Offertory nor Communion is so much as mentioned, the whole paper being devoted to the proper way of singing the Ordinary rather than to some good ordinary way of singing the Proper.
After conscientiously perusing and comparing all the papers whose authors have more or less complied with the terms of reference, the adjudicators have come to the conclusion that the batch does not contain an essay which could be properly given the prestige of “The Tablet’s Prize Essay on Voluntary Choirs and the Proper of the Mass.” Therefore, nobody has gained the modest prize of ten guineas which was offered. We have, however, increased the prize-money, and we are dividing it, as honoraria, among the writers of certain papers which will forthwith be printed, either abridged or in extenso.