HOSE WHO ATTENDED the very first Sacred Music Symposium will remember how the entire thing was based upon a particular hymn melody. These days, the melody (“Jesu Redemptor Omnium”) is normally associated with the Christmas season. However, anyone who has studied the color pages section of the Brébeuf hymnal will realize the actual history of this hymn tune is more complicated. Indeed, the plainsong melody was used for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity (in Guerrero’s time), as well as for Christmas, Epiphany, the Feast of All Saints (November 1st), and several other feasts. Click here to see the melody used for Salutis Aeterne Dator. Or, you can see how it looks when this melody is used for Exsultet Orbis Gaudiis. We sang this hymn for Vespers yesterday—the entire congregation—and it was marvelous. Nonetheless, I wasn’t quite happy with the NOH harmonization, so I took the liberty of creating my own:
You can compare my accompaniment to that found in the NOH:
You can also compare it to an accompaniment by Achille P. Bragers:
You can also compare it to an accompaniment by the famous Gregorianist, Dr. Peter Wagner, who studied with Father Michael Hermesdorff at the Cathedral school in Trier:
Let’s do one more. This is from the “Laudate Catholic Hymnal,” published in Kansas in the 1940s:
The Brébeuf hymnal contains more information about this ancient Catholic hymn (“Jesu Redemptor Omnium”) than any other hymnal—so much info! For more information, cf. pages 278-279 of the Brébeuf pew edition.
Can you see what Bragers did here?
(Those familiar with “common melodies” in the Brébeuf hymnal will not be surprised by this!)