ONSIGNOR Ronald Knox (d. 1957) translated six verses of “Ave Vivens Hostia”—and the full version will be included in the St. Jean de Brébeuf Hymnal. The original hymn (by Iohannes Pecham, Archbishop of Canturbury, who died in 1292AD) has fifteen verses, and was discussed during the 2017 Sacred Music Symposium. The choir sang the Knox version, conducted by Dr. Alfred Calabrese.
A different translation was made by Msgr. H. T. Henry (d. 1946), who taught Gregorian chant at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania: 1
I declare to you: No microphone can capture choral sound.
Consider the rehearsal video we recorded yesterday:
REHEARSAL VIDEOS for each individual voice await you at #4148.
It’s okay, but let me assure you it’s absolutely nothing compared to what I heard when it was sung at the 2017 Symposium. I sat in front while Dr. Calabrese was conducting, and I was (quite literally) shaking. I’d never heard anything so beautiful. I came close to tears—the sounds were out of this world.
For the second time: No microphone can capture choral sound.
Now listen to a recording from the 2017 Symposium, using the version by Msgr. Ronald Knox. What comes through on the microphone doesn’t come close to an accurate reproduction of the choral sound:
A third time I proclaim: No microphone can capture choral sound.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Read the literal translation at the top of the score (by Fr. Valentine Young, OFM) and notice how skillfully Msgr. Henry matches the meaning. Bravo!