ISTORY. Some consider it boring. For myself, I find it riveting. For example, consider the history of ULYSSES S. GRANT. He would win the Civil War and serve two terms as president. Yet when the Civil War began, having failed at everything he ever attempted, Grant was working for his younger brothers, selling hats to farmers’ wives! He and his wife were slave owners. Indeed, Grant used slave-labor to construct a house he dubbed “Hardscrabble.” John Wilkes Booth would have murdered Ulysses S. Grant alongside Abe Lincoln, but Grant’s wife hated Lincoln’s wife. Therefore, Grant made up an excuse not to attend that famous performance of Our American Cousin (where Lincoln was assassinated). At the Battle of Cold Harbor, both Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee exhibited unspeakable cruelty, allowing their wounded soldiers to die horribly—wailing in the June hot sun—rather than admit defeat. (Once the white flag was raised, medics were allowed to collect the wounded.) In spite of all that, Grant wrote this letter to his young daughter.
More History! • Regarding the following book by Father Weinmann, one could easily write multiple doctoral dissertations on the history surrounding it. One could discuss the marvelous abilities of printers in those days. One could discuss the tensions of the Pontifical Committee for Gregorian Chant (1904-1913)—tensions which resulted in rival publications (French Vs. German). One could discuss what it was like to be a musician in those days: No electricity; Bad plumbing; No email; No airplanes; No cars; No air-conditioning; No modern medicine; and so forth. One could discuss the effect of WW1 on church music. One could discuss monastic life in France, at a time when French anti-clerical laws were banishing citizens from their own country—although the very same banished clerics came back to fight for their country! I could go on…
* PDF Download • FR. WEINMANN’S VESPERALE (651 Pages)
—Published in 1915, with chord symbols, on five lines (but with Gregorian notation).
Karl Weinmann (1873-1929) • Father Weinmann (d. 1929) was a Catholic priest who obtained his doctorate—his dissertation (1905) was “Das Hymnarium Parisiense”—under Dr. Peter Wagner (d. 1931), director of the Gregorian Academy in Freiburg (Switzerland). Dr. Peter Wagner was a member of the Pontifical Commission on Gregorian Chant established by Pope Pius X for the creation of the Editio Vaticana. In the German PREFACE to the book (see above), Father Weinmann explains the little chord symbols.
A Good Use • This book by Father Weinmann is extremely helpful for those who (like myself) accompany plainsong on the pipe organ directly from the Gregorian notation. Try one of the more challenging Magnificat antiphons and see if you agree.
Explanation Video • How to read the “pure” Editio Vaticana (a.k.a. the “untouched” Vatican Edition), which is still the official rhythm of the Catholic Church: