The Liturgy: September 2007 Archives

More Psalms

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Aside from preparing psalms for the Mass, most of my time has been spent over the last few years creating psalms for my own use in the Liturgy of Hours. That work is far from complete.

I tried out the Mundelein psalter for a while, but I have determined that, aside from the hymns, that book is of little help. It is based on gregorian modes, but it does not use the actual modes for the psalms.

I have finished creating the psalms for Compline. So I have created my own Compline book for my personal use and I can now sing compline every night.

One of these days I may typeset the Salve or other Marian antiphons and add them to the book. Other than that, the book is usable.

Click here for my Compline book. I would love to hear what you think of the melodies for the antiphons.

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Read the article here.

The best part was this:

"In the beauty of the liturgy, [...] wherever we join in singing, praising, exalting and worshipping God, a little bit of heaven will become present on earth. Truly it would not be presumptuous to say that, in a liturgy completely centred on God, we can see, in its rituals and chant, an image of eternity. [...] In all our efforts on behalf of the liturgy, the determining factor must always be our looking to God. We stand before God – he speaks to us and we speak to him. Whenever in our thinking we are only concerned about making the liturgy attractive, interesting and beautiful, the battle is already lost. Either it is Opus Dei, with God as its specific subject, or it is not. In the light of this, I ask you to celebrate the sacred liturgy with your gaze fixed on God within the communion of saints, the living Church of every time and place, so that it will truly be an expression of the sublime beauty of the God who has called men and women to be his friends."

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Ever since a marvelous presentation on the Responsorial Psalm given by Dr. Mahrt at the CMAA Colloquium, I have been wrestling with ideas about what to do here at St. Edward.

For the past few years we have had a steady diet of Respond and Acclaim psalms by Owen Alstott. To be fair, his psalm refrains are singable. They are functional and accessible for the assembly. Our choir has done a marvelous job with the verses at the choir Mass, yet still, for me, they lack a certain beauty. And beauty is the point Dr. Mahrt was trying to make.

Still, the Graduals from each Sunday are a bit beyond the expertise of the local musicians. So what do we find that is somewhere in between the Roman Gradual and the tired old Respond and Acclaim?

Well, one morning, while I was chanting Morning Prayer, I came upon an idea. Often I will chant the psalms from Lauds using the antiphons and the Gregorian tones from the Psalterium Monasticum from Solesmes. Occasionally I can make the English text (my own translation) fit the music.

So, I wondered if some of the lectionary texts could be made to fit the tones associated with those psalms in the Psalterium. Then, later that morning, I was concelebrating Mass at St. Mary's in Norwalk, CT, and their marvelous musician, David Hughes, chanted a capella the Responsorial Psalm to a simple Gregorian tone. It was beautiful!

So I was inspired and off to work. So, here is the result. I would love to see what fellow musicans out there think of these. Some are better than others, and in one you will see I got a bit adventurous and then thought better of it. Comments most appreciated.

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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This page is a archive of entries in the The Liturgy category from September 2007.

The Liturgy: August 2007 is the previous archive.

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