GREAT CHURCH MUSICIAN used to ask a question ad infinitum. Whenever names of choir directors came up during conversation, he’d ask: “What does his choir sound like?” You see, it doesn’t matter how eloquent a particular choirmaster might be, whether he has the entire New Grove Dictionary memorized, whether he can pontificate on the internet, or whether he can play a million notes correctly on the pipe organ. Ultimately, the choirmaster will be judged on how his choir sounds. This comes to mind today—when we release an impressive book by FATHER KARL WEINMANN—because I can tell (just by looking at his publication) that Dr. Weinmann must have been an excellent choirmaster.
Our Mission • All our contributors here at Corpus Christi Watershed feel called by God to make a contribution to sacred music. We hope that a new generation of church musicians will be assisted by our humble efforts in their efforts to promote what is Good, True, and Beautiful. When we share various projects and important books, we hope to inspire and encourage readers. And today’s offering is no exception. This book makes it easy for singers who only know TREBLE CLEF. Furthermore, it’s excellent for organists who like to improvise accompaniments (for obvious reasons).
Weinmann Gradual • Father Karl Weinmann (d. 1929) reproduced the Editio Vaticana in quite a remarkable way. His intention was to help church musicians “in the trenches.” He seemed to understand perfectly the challenges at the average Catholic parish. As you can see below, Father Weinmann placed the traditional notation on five (!) musical staves. Except for the major feasts, he provided a simple way to handle the chants between EPISTLE and GOSPEL, because full-blown Solemn Masses have always been relatively rare in parishes.1 How best to handle these so-called “meditation chants” was discussed extensively by the Pontifical Commission on Gregorian Chant, especially by Dom Michael Horn and Dr. Peter Wagner, who taught Father Karl Weinmann at the GREGORIAN ACADEMY of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Gradual Book (1928) • We have scanned Father Weinmann’s entire Gradual—all 692 pages! You can download it completely free of charge. Broadly speaking, this 1928 edition is identical to the first edition, which was published in 1909. The files are large; please be patient as they download:
* PDF Download • “Gradual on Modern Staves” (1 of 4)
—92.2MB • “Introduction” + “Proper of the Time” until Easter Sunday
* PDF Download • “Gradual on Modern Staves” (2 of 4)
—85.3MB • “Proper of the Time” starting at Easter Sunday
* PDF Download • “Gradual on Modern Staves” (3 of 4)
—191MB • “Proper of the Saints” + “Votive Masses”
* PDF Download • “Gradual on Modern Staves” (4 of 4)
—89MB • “Settings for the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyriale)” + “Indices”
Fabulous Features • This book first appeared in 1909. Our modern conveniences were in their infancy: electricity, radio, the phonograph, modern medicine, refrigeration, telephones, airplanes, automobiles, and so forth. Considering what Father Weinmann had at his disposal, I think you’d agree what he produced is remarkable:
Improved Scanning • In 2008, Corpus Christi Watershed had released the 1909 version, but we have scanned the 1928 at a much higher resolution. Click on the following comparison to see how much the quality has been improved:
Melismatic Mora Vocis • The official edition—as our readers already know—uses blank spaces to indicate the MMVs (MELISMATIC MORAE VOCIS). That means for any melisma one must watch carefully for the MMVs, where a slight elongation (“slowing down”) is to be observed. Broadly speaking, the KYRIALE has almost no instances of the MMV. When it comes to the Introits and Communions, MMVs are also quite infrequent. For reference purposes, the MMVs look like this:
A few screenshots:
1 It is sometimes claimed that the plainsong which comes between EPISTLE and GOSPEL (Gradual, Alleluia, Tract, Sequence, and so forth) is sung “for its own sake.” The assertion made is that nothing happens liturgically, therefore those chants exist purely for the sake of meditation. However, those familiar with the traditional liturgy realize this view is difficult to defend, because many actions take place while those chants are being sung. For instance, the Deacon gets a blessing from the priest, the Deacon quietly says a prayer, the Celebrant quietly prays the entire Gospel (before it is sung by the Deacon), incense is blessed, and there is a Gospel procession.