Monday, May 05, 2008

A couple of Office/chant books in English

First, a fairly new book published by Lancelot Andrewes Press: the Monastic Diurnal Noted. 50 bucks for 800 pages, and it does look pretty great:
The Monastic Diurnal Noted is a complete Gregorian Antiphonal in English, containing all the Antiphons, Hymn Tunes, and Responsories of the Day Hours of the Benedictine Divine Office (the seven canonical Hours, excluding the midnight office of Matins).

This high quality reprint combines the two original volumes into one single volume. The first volume includes the music of Vespers, the Little Hours and Lauds of Great Feasts. The second volume includes the music of Sunday and Ferial Lauds, with Matins of the Sacred Triduum and Matins of the Dead.

The Monastic Diurnal Noted is the brilliant work of the Reverend Canon Winfred Douglas, the renowned English church musician and pioneer of adapting Gregorian plainchant to English. Both volumes were prepared posthumously by the Sisters of the Community of Saint Mary. This reprint is a photographic reproduction of the original editions of 1952 and 1960.

Second, the St. Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter to go with the MDN:
SAINT Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter is the culmination of three full years of research, compilation, and proofreading. It is the first traditional English plainchant publication to be in print for many decades. Moreover, it is the first publication of its kind to include all elements necessary for the recitation of the Daily Offices of the classic Book of Common Prayer according to the ancient Gregorian chant tradition. Saint Dunstan's Plainsong Psalter was produced jointly by Western Rite Orthodox and traditional Anglican scholars and editors, and it may also be of interest to Roman Catholics (especially of the "Anglican Use") as well as by Protestants who appreciate the classic English biblical texts and the plainchant tradition.

I have this one; it's only $30. Here are a couple of pages from the Compline section:

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And here are two pages from the Canticles section:

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Fr Chris said...

The MDN is fantastic -- I use it to sing the Office every day now. All the work that went into this family of books more than a half-century ago -- the Diurnal, the MDN, Monastic Matins, etc. -- is breathtaking. (Good on Andrewes Press for reprinting it all, too -- these books used to be rare and absurdly expensive.)

Incidentally, the St Dunstan's Psalter is wonderful but only kinda-sorta "goes with" the MDN. For example, one would expect the mode of the Psalms of the day hours to match something obvious in the MDN (like the mode of the antiphon it's sung under in the weekly Psalter). This is not the case. I'm not sure what scheme was used to choose the tones, but I've gone to just learning to match the tones to the text in my head. Also, the Diurnal uses the 1662 Psalms like the Anglican Breviary, whereas the St Dunstan book uses a modification of the 1928 Psalms. (These are not damning criticisms -- just oddities that occasionally cause little problems.)

It has a decent selection of canticles and other stuff, though, which is nice. Since I don't think there is really any music in English for the night office, I typically use the Venite settings and antiphons in the St Dunstan book for Matins. I also sing the Te Deum from there (it may very well just be the 1940 Hymnal setting, for all I know -- my copy of that has gone AWOL).

Anyhow, our traditional liturgy apostolate uses the Diurnal for Monday night Vespers/Compline by phone. You're welcome to join us anytime if you'd like! We'll be singing the Office from the MDN at our gathering later this year.

Derek B said...

Thanks to both of you for your helpful comments. bls, you're right, I was thinking about the older version of the MDN, although I have read the post you listed about the Revised version. Is it good? Right now I'm sticking with the traditional office because I'd been flipping back and forth between Rites I and II and needed some stability. Still, it would be nice to have access to a decent Rite II diurnal one day.

I assumed the MDN from Lancelot Andrewes Press has the hymns because the ad on their site lists it as having them. Also, I've seen posts on the MDN "vs." the Anglican Breviary on various threads that suggest the MDN has the more original forms of the hymns, which is attractive to me. But perhaps Fr Chris could verify this?

Also, thanks for the helpful commentary, Fr Chris, about the disjunctures between MDN and the SDP. Just checking, I'm not sure I understand clearly, are you saying the Psalm tones in the SDP don't match the antiphons in the MDN, or that the Psalm tones in the *MDN* don't match the antiphon tones in the same book?? (that would be odd, and perhaps it's not what you meant, but you used the term "day hours" so I'm not sure to which book you were referring). I *had* been hoping that the antiphon tones would match the psalm tones in the SDP, but perhaps as you say, the conversion is not difficult when you get the hang of it. I'm used to transposing tones anyhow, I just like having a chant Psalter to make sure I have variety because offhand I can never remember all the various endings.

Also, just to clarify, the MDN Psalter is organized according to the Benedictine hours, right? Aren't there a number of Psalms that are left out of that scheme and are only used on feasts? Are these psalms included in the Propers for those feasts? I love the Breviary format of having Psalms keyed to specific hours, but at this point there is no way I can do seven or eight offices plus all the festal variations (if I'm lucky I can squeeze in Midday and Compline, and sing the hymns for major feasts!). I want to make sure I cover all the Psalms in a reasonable period, so for the time being Cranmer's scheme is the only workable one I know of. Perhaps someday a breviary Psalter will be viable for me, but at this point what I mainly want from a book like the MDN are antiphons and hymns with chant scores.

bls, your suggestions make sense, and I'll check out those sites as well before making a decision. The reason I'd like a book, though, is because I've already been flipping around, combining texts from TPL and tunes from this site or from a Latin Antiphonale that I have a .pdf of. It works, but it would be nice to have it all in one handy reference, if such a thing exists. I'll be interested to see what Derek is putting together.

I've also very much appreciated the work you are doing at this site. Thanks to both of you for your responses.

Derek B

bls said...

Fr. Chris can certainly answer all these questions, I'm sure; I wish I could, but just don't know.

Now that you've asked this question, though, I realize I really ought to have the Monastic Diurnal, but I think I am going to go with the MD Revised; I've pretty much settled into a Rite II frame of mind (although I do like Rite I MP and EP from the BCP itself, especially when prayed in a parish setting). So thanks for bringing it up!

It would be nice, now that I think of it, to have a Plainsong Psalter for modern-language Psalms and Canticles, too. (Of course, IMO several of these need a re-write! I guess that'll be the next task. ;-) )

I do like the Google Books hymns, I have to say, because all of them are included, and because they are sort of a jumping-off place for further investigation. I'm very interested in hymnody in general and I like to learn about regional variations, and etc. I'm especially delighted by finding those Sequence Hymns.

bls said...

BTW, Derek: there is a review of the SDP at Full Homely Divinity, on this page at the bottom; I think they mentioned some of the same issues Fr. Chris talked about.

Derek B said...

You probably already know this, but the Diurnal Revised does not yet have a noted version. Or rather CSM says that the chants exist, but have not been published yet. Then again, if you are chanting right out of the BCP, you probably don't need the chant tones for daily use. I'm hoping to get to that stage one day myself...

I have had good experiences using the Order of Julian of Norwich's Psalter. It is in Rite II. Have you used it? If so, what are your thoughts? Admitted, they only have a few canticles, but it's not hard to set the BCP canticles to Psalm tones oneself.

bls said...

You're right, Derek; I've been confusing these two books in my head for awhile now, I think.

The Revised does have some chant in it, though; I do remember seeing it when I was there and using it.

I haven't used the OJN materials yet; actually I tend to just "wing it" more often than not, when singing the Offices. I don't use antiphons most of the time, either, although I do find them really interesting. (My problem, I think, is that I'm as much intellectually interested in most of these things as I am in organizing them for singing - if not more!)

Thanks again for your recommendations.

Fr Chris said...

Derek --

The tones in SDP don't match the antiphons in the MDN in any discernable way, is what I meant. So the Psalms appointed for Monday Lauds in the MDN, for instance, will not be in the right tone in the SDP such that you can just sing them with the antiphon. Sometimes it matches up, sometimes not.

A couple things about the MDN -- it is not a standalone book. So the Psalms are the ones set by the traditional Benedictine Office, yes -- but the text is nowhere in the MDN. You have to get the Psalm texts out of the Diurnal itself.

The same goes for hymns, actually. The tunes are printed with no words at all. You have to juggle the MDN and the Diurnal to sing the hymns.

I can't really speak to the hymns in the AB vs. the Diurnal from a scholarly standpoint — I'm not an academic expert on the Office, though sometimes I play one on blogs. ;-)

I have been putting together a noted hymnal for the Anglican Breviary in recent months, and it's about 3/4 done. That can be used with the Diurnal as a more user-friendly option, and in fact that's what we do for our Vespers conference calls on Monday nights. Anyhow, in the course of compiling this I can say that a lot of the hymns are pretty similar. There are subtle differences, but not big ones. One of the biggest differences is that the AB has some Commons not found in the secular or monastic breviary that have hymns from other sources, including the (ack!) Paris Breviary.

There are big differences between the Anglican translations of the breviary hymns as found in both the AB and the Diurnal on the one hand and the secular Roman breviary on the other, however. The former are usually not tainted with the humanistic "reforms" that shredded the traditional hymns in the secular breviary. The pre-reform hymns were actually returned to the Liturgy of the Hours by the Second Vatican Council for the most part, but they also introduced a zillion novel hymns as well.

But to answer your concerns, you can pray the full, traditional monastic Office in English with just three books now — the Monastic Diurnal, the Monastic Diurnal Noted, and Monastic Breviary Matins. That will give you music for all but Matins, and the SDP contains some rudimentary music for that. This is basically what I do.

In case either of you is interested, here is a sneak peak at the hymnal I'm working on. There are a number of errors that need correcting, and it's not very pretty. But it's workable. The sources for the tunes, in order of precedence, are the 1912 Antiphonale Romanum, the Sarum Hymner, the Dominican Antiphonary, the Nocturnale Romanum, and the Carthusian Hymner.

I hope to have it complete and ready for wider consumption by the end of the summer, in published (Lulu) form a bit after that.

Fr Chris said...

Oh, and I definitely agree with Derek on the OJN materials -- they are very nice. If/when I find myself unable to keep most of the traditional monastic Office (a lot of days Compline is the only one of the little hours I get to), I would probably switch to their stuff with Cranmer's 30-day Psalm rotation and keeping using the MDN for responsories, canticle antiphons, etc. The OJN Psalter definitely is informed by monastic liturgy (the plain tone for Ps 67, tone VIII for the Compline Psalms, etc.) I'm really glad Fr John-Julian and Derek got them up on the web.

bls said...

Fr. Chris, that hymnal is fantastic! Are you getting the tunes out of the "Sarum Hymn Melodies" book at Google Books? And how are you choosing the translation?

It's great! Is it OK if I point the other Derek to it? I think you've done all the work he was thinking about doing; no use in duplication.

Wow, again! I'm speechless; very, very nice job. It's exactly what I've been hoping to see - all the hymns in one place.

bls said...

(Ooops, sorry - I missed that you'd posted the hymn tune sources....)

Fr Chris said...

Definitely link Derek to the file if you'd like -- I offered by email but I think it got lost in the shuffle as we were both busy.

The translations are all from the Anglican Breviary. I intend for pray-ers of lots of different traditional English Offices (Anglican Breviary, Diurnal, English Office, 28 BCP, even 79 BCP) to be able to use the book, but the basic structure is that I've set (almost) all the Anglican Breviary hymns to some kind of music.

The only exceptions are the weird Commons I note above that take hymns from the Paris Breviary. I'm not actually convinced tunes for those even exist — the Paris Breviary was a modernist "priest's prayerbook" kind of liturgy and I'm not positive that a supplemental antiphoner ever existed for the innovative stuff they threw in. So stuff like the hymns from the Common of Doctors and the Common of Abbots are missing, because these don't exist in either the secular Roman Office or the monastic Office.

Fr Chris said...

BTW, this was all set using OpusTeX, but I wrote the files in gabc and used that gregorio software you posted about to convert them into TeX. It has made very fast work of this project.

The other really nice thing about that gabc format is I *think* it should be trivial to convert the whole huge directory of chant files into midis in one fell swoop. So hopefully on top of the book we'll have audio files, once I get around to that!

Derek B said...

Fr Chris, I have to second bls's comment, that hymnal is stunning. It is *exactly* what I have been looking for as a hymn source. I am guessing that this will be a much appreciated publication when it is finished. Thanks for the great work, and please let us all know when a complete copy is available!

Derek B said...

Okay, I have a further question, and bls if this should be fielded by someone else as well, I apologize (maybe Fr Chris or Derek the Aenglican might have an answer for this one), but I may as well post it here since we've been on the topic...

I know that antiphons should be in the mode of the Psalm or canticle they accompany. Are there a set of standard "antiphon tones" to go with the psalm tones? A few Google searches have turned up nothing. I'm wondering if this is the case, or if the antiphons vary widely and are really more like hymns, i.e. you have to learn the tune for each particular antiphon. If there are a set of recurrent antiphon tones, I'd love to see them printed off somewhere.

I was just thinking this because Fr. Chris's hymnal pretty much covers my current hymn needs, and if I had something for seasonal antiphons I'd be set.

bls said...

Derek, in general the antiphons themselves determine the tone in which the Psalm or Canticle will be sung. And as far as I know, they vary widely and are pretty much native to the Community that uses them.

There will usually be a notation above the chant score of the antiphon to indicate this. It might say something like, "iij.4," which would indicate that the Psalm will be sung in tone 3 ("iij," the "j" - for some reason - stands in for the last "i"), using the 4th ending.

Now, how the antiphons and their modes themselves get chosen I do not know; I've never asked that question, and I suppose I really should. As far as I know, this is at the discretion of the community - or, more precisely, the person in charge of music at the community.

I think I've posted images of antiphons, and I'll put one up here if I can find one, just to illustrate this.

bls said...

See this post, Derek, for an example.

It's one of the Great "O" Antiphons, "O Rex Gentium," and you can see the notation I'm talking about in the English version chant score: "ii.2." That means, sing the Magnificat to Tone 2, and use ending 2. (The ending is also given in the last measure of the score itself, where there are, in this case, notes without any words or labels to them.)

Some of these things are pretty standard - I would think the "O"s would be, for instance - but for the ordinary offices on ordinary days, I think which antiphons and tones are used just depends on the history of that particular Community.

Derek B said...

Thanks, bls. I had thought that might be the case. Actually, I have a Latin Antiphonale and had figured that out (about the tones being listed with the antiphon) but did not actually realize that it was the antiphon that set the tone. But it makes sense because then the psalm tones change with seasons and feasts, which is nice. Plus, I really like that structure (in the book you posted that link from, and in the Antiphonale), of giving the number with the EUOUAE ending. Just give the parts that are not easy to memorize, and you have a text that has minimal clutter. Very smart. The Antiphonale I have also has the texts for all Psalms, plus all the hymns and responsories, so I'm guessing you can do the whole office, save Matins, from it without any other texts. Which would be nice, since I hate book flipping! If only someone would print an English version... maybe Fr Chris will do that for us when his hymnal is done!

bls said...

Derek, there is also some office stuff in the Liber Usualis that you might be interested in looking at - if you haven't already, that is. (Warning! That's a 120MB PDF file! Best to download it to your own machine than try to open it online.)

I'm going to find out more about the derivation of antiphons; I really don't know enought about this, so thanks for giving me a push in that direction. ;-)

Derek B said...

I was hoping you'd say that! I thought of doing it myself, but you seem to be on a roll with this blog, and I have too much work already (unfortunately) in completely different fields. I'll look forward to seeing what you find out.

Derek B said...

Oh, BTW, while I'm downloading the Liber (which, funnily enough, I have never consulted), here is the link to the 1912 Antiphonale, which Fr Chris listed as his principal source in the hymnal he is working on: (sorry, I don't know HTML so I can't do that fancy link you guys do!). Unless you already know about it, that is.

Fr Chris said...

Derek --

What version of the Office do you pray currently? The only two English antiphoners I'm aware of are the Monastic Diurnal Noted, which sadly does not have the Psalms in it, necessitating book-juggling, and the Mundelein Psalter, which is sadly not really an antiphoner at all. It's a chant version of the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, but there aren't actually separate antiphon melodies. The antiphons are set to the same tones as the Psalms, and it doesn't use real Psalm tones, just simplified ones. It's a very nice, useful book, but gets repetitive.

I definitely have a ton of other projects to finish before I could even contemplate doing more chant stuff for the Office, though!

Derek B said...

I was just kidding about that!

I currently pray the office from the SDP, with an RSV Bible. Prior to that I was using Rite II set to OJN chants.

Really, at this point all I'm looking for is repetitive seasonal material to plug into the Anglican offices. In fact, to avoid juggling (beyond Psalter and Bible, that is), I have the ordinary forms memorized and make a sheet with collects and seasonal extras to slip into the book. So what I'd like is basically a resource book, which your hymnal does nicely for hymns, and perhaps the MDN will do for antiphons. Then I can just scan and print the appropriate material and have it all there.

I've been looking at the antiphons in the 1912 Antiphonale and realizing that setting an antiphon tune to English seems much more complicated than setting an 8888 hymn tune to English. I've been trying to do it with the ferial antiphons for the Magnificat, as an exercise, and am realizing how specifically they are adapted to the Latin words and stress patterns. So probably going with the expertise of someone like Canon Douglas might be best. Can you comment on how the MDN does the antiphons--is there any comparison to the Antiphonale settings, or are they completely different? I'll probably buy the book anyway, but it will still take a few weeks to arrive, and I'm curious.

bls said...

Thanks for the link, Derek; that's an interesting book that will take me quite awhile to get through. Once I brush up on my Latin, that is. ;-)

BTW, here's a tantalizing sneak peek abstract of a paper that seems to be just the sort of thing I'll want to be looking for:

"The basic question of the paper is, whether the medieval institutions can be identified by the means of musical analysis. Two series of examples are documented, variants with clear characteristics. In the first series the same antiphon text is associated with two or more tunes; in the second series the same antiphon tune is managed in different tonal interpretations linked to regions. At last, one single example shows that even small melodic variants may emerge consequently in the use of individual dioceses or religious orders. The elements defined this way, identify, of course, the given centre not in their singularity but only in conjunction."

Fr Chris said...

Derek --

The MDN antiphons will be different in some cases from the Antiphonale, because the monastic antiphoner has traditionally been different from the secular one. There's less variation in the antiphons on the Magnificat and Benedictus, but I couldn't really hazard a guess as to how often they are the same.

You're right, though -- adapting an antiphon is much harder than the hymn work I've done, because usually there aren't even the same number of syllables in English as in Latin. Canon Douglas seems to have preserved the tunes as best he can -- for instance, the great "O antiphon" melodies are absolutely recognizable in English in the MDN. In fact, they're very, very close to the Latin melodies. How close other antiphons are to the Latin originals, I dunno.

bls said...

(I did also read somewhere that there were 47 different melodies for antiphons, that all antiphon tunes were variations based on them.

But now I can't find that reference, and it is sort of a strange number, anyway, isn't it? I can't seem to believe it, myself - and anyway "all" is just going to be a heck of a lot. There are certainly many regional variations I know of already, including in the tunes of the Great "O"s themselves. And then there are Byzantine Catholic Chants which have started to get very different also, leading into the Eastern Orthodox stuff, eventually.

It's really an interesting topic, but very wide-ranging, I think.)

Derek B said...

bls, I was interested to note in that post you put up on the Codex Calixtinus, how the structure of Cathedral Matins nocturns is described as consisting of "nine antiphons with their corresponding psalms and nine lessons with their responsories," compared with the monastic version which has "twelve antiphons and twelve responsories." Is this bizarre to anyone else? I understand that in terms of the order of events in the office, the antiphon does precede the Psalm (as the lesson precedes the responsorium)--but which is the central element, in this writer's view? Shouldn't it be the Psalm text? Isn't the purpose of an antiphon to highlight a meaning in the Psalm, or to make a link between the Psalm and the Gospel reading of the day's mass? Still, it does back up what you both were saying, about how, technically speaking, the antiphon governs the Psalm and thus sets the psalm tone. Structurally, in terms of its role in dictating how the office will be chanted, the antiphon is the more important feature.

I am wondering if this had something to do with Cranmer's excision of antiphons, given his concern to foreground the scriptural text he felt was lost under the floridity of the medieval chant.

Fr Chris, thanks very much for your help regarding the Diurnal. I think I will get one, particularly now because I'm curious to see how Douglas dealt with transposing from the Latin!

Also, bls, that article looks interesting. I'll be waiting to hear what you glean from it.


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