YSTERICALLY UGLY. Those would probably be the best words to describe the organ accompaniment booklet I cobbled together for the First Sunday of Advent. But this season is tough, because Vespers changes each week during Advent. Our entire congregation sings Vespers each Sunday. I accompany most of the ceremony on the organ, but I always make sure that at least one psalm is sung without accompaniment—so the people can hear what “pure” choral music sounds like when they make it by themselves!
This may be an ugly booklet, but it got the job done yesterday:
* PDF Download • Vespers for the 1st Sunday of Advent (Organ Accomp.)
—This is a very ugly booklet, but it got the job done!
Strange Irony: People have commented how weird it seems that the “Extraordinary Form” communities—i.e. those who use the Missále Antíquius of 1962—are the only ones actually following what Vatican II mandated. After all, the Second Vatican Council declared: “the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office” (SC §101). And how many parishes know that? Furthermore, how many parishes realize that Vatican II solemnly declared:
“It is, moreover, fitting that the office, both in choir and in common, be sung when possible. Pastors of souls should see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. And the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.”
—The Second Vatican Council (SC §100)
Nerd Note: When it comes to the 2nd Psalm—remember we are speaking here of Second Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent—some folks have started adding Tone 8G* to each verse of the psalm, instead of just the very last verse. This is very confusing. Perhaps somebody who is really smart could email me and explain this? As far as I can tell, 100% of the older books have tone 8G*—but only add the “extra note” on the very last verse before the antiphon is repeated. I am speaking of books such as: Nóva órgani harmónia ad graduále júxta editiónem vaticánam (Volume VIII); Proprium De Tempore (Julius Bas); Vesperale romanum d’aprés l’édition vaticane (Dr. Peter Wagner); Vesperale Romanum (Paris, 8 dec 1912); and so forth.
What Does It Sound Like? If you want to hear what it sounds like when our parish sings Vespers, I provide a video below. If you desire to follow the video with a PDF score, click on this article; both booklets (Congregation + Organist) are provided there. When you listen to this video, remember that these are not trained singers. It’s just “regular” people from our five Sunday Masses who decide to show up on a particular day and sing:
By the way, organists can do really cool things with Vespers; e.g. here is a “Counter Melody” Video.