Chants of Roman Missal – NPM recording

Here at NPM’s website you can hear the presidential-congregational chants of the upcoming Roman missal, some of them in either high or low pitch. A few things have to be re-recorded yet (eg. the doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer with its recent rewording), but most of it is here. Give a listen, tell us what you think. We hope to complete the recordings this next January.

Pray Tell reported earlier on this recording project.

15 comments

  1. The chants are done well. I just wish the person doing the presiding priest’s chants would have sung “Spir-IT” instead of “Spir-UT.”

    And I’ve always had a problem with the notation of the chants in the Missale Romanum, going back to at least the 1962 edition. (I do not possess an earlier edition.) The Liber Usualis makes liberal use of the dotted punctum on the last one or two notes of a cadence, while MR does not. In the recording the great majority of these cadential notes are sung as doubled or nearly doubled in duration. Yet the notation given with the new 2010 English translation gives no indication of this doubling, as the ill-fated 1998 translation did. Fr. Anthony, is this another indication of the CDWDS’s insistance on a correspondence between the Latin MR3 and the 2010 English translation?

    Fr. Ron Krisman

    1. Fr. Ron – no, there was no ruling from Rome on this. I think the idea is that people should just follow the text, and if that means approximately doubling, that’s just fine. The German language books and hymnals have not used signs for several decades. I think probably no one wants to use dots to indicate doubling today because that whole system (Mocquereau, old Solesmes) is discredited. Dots are no longer used to indicate doubling in any chant books since 1981. For all those reasons I would be leery of using dots at the cadence any more – but I grant that a certain practicality is lost thereby, and if the natural thing is for everyone to (approximately) double, some would say, why not indicate this? But I hope I’ve given the reason why dots aren’t used any more.
      awr

  2. These are rather beautiful and simple enough to commit to memory. It would seem that these parts of the ordinary are indeed singable. After listening to these and the CMAA recordings, it would seem that we will have the potential for a strikingly beautiful English “High Mass” marked by noble simplicity that is still accessible to congregations.

  3. It sounds like someone in the congregation started singing “And also with you” after the sign of the cross and greeting, but caught himself at the last minute. Did anyone else hear this?

  4. Hearing the new missal chanted helped to remind me that liturgy is more than the text alone. I have been skeptical of the new translation, but these chant settings have helped me to appreciate it better.

  5. Father Anthony,
    As a teacher and interpreter of chant, would you welcome some sort of “rhythmic” (I almost shudder to use that term in this context!) signs? For instance, both the English and Latin renditions of the Sanctus seem to double all three notes of the first two words–to good effect, I might add. But how are people new to chant to understand this? And while unaccompanied performance would be recommended and preferred by me, accompaniments will be desired (or even demanded) by many. How can this be calibrated with the unwritten rhythmic interpretation?
    On another issue, I find the slurs, especially when slurring only pairs, ugly and unnecessary. With the noteheads placed so close together, they resemble neumes and function that way. I also don’t like the look of the noteheads overlapping in descending figures. Gives the subconscious impression that they should be sung faster than ascending pairs. I realize this has something to do with the oblique axis of the noteheads, but think that a vertically symmetrical notehead might create a more consistent and beautiful look.
    Also not sure how I feel about no indication of the lengthening of last notes–or pairs of notes–of phrases. It could be argued that the various barlines indicate this, but that makes them have a retroactive function, which always seems unfair to me!
    For chant to become popular, notation must be informative and hospitable to those who have never encountered this genre.

    1. Hi Tom,
      I’m not a purist, since there was no notation for c. a milennium, then notation changed a lot throughout the next millennium. My preferences aren’t absolute. I agree, some rhythmic signs would help many people, but I suppose there is a fear that the producers would look uninformed about the last 60 years of continental chant interp if they dared to include them. And perhaps the sign-less Roman editions (only Solesmes editions have them) played a role. I guess all the people new to chant will have to go to the NPM website!

      I’m OK with no slurs – like the German-language Catholic national hymnals from the mid 70s have. Some say, though, that slurs make it clearer what is a unit, or that it looks ‘wrong’ not to have them. I don’t feel strongly either way, but I slightly prefer no slurs because this better suggests the (good) possibility of repercussing repeated notes on the same pitch. I don’t think the slurs look bad.

      Well if people would speed up on note groups, that would be a good thing! In general (this is over-simplifying), the more notes over a syllable, the quicker they go. But I take your point, visually it’s happening proportionately more on the descending groups. Maybe this is a weak defense, but 4-line doesn’t always have notes in proportionate distance. I don’t think it’s a big issue.

      Anyone is free to publish accompaniments. I know a monk who published daily Mass pss with LitPress which has accomp. with this notational style.

      awr

  6. Am I correct in believing that Solesmes developed the interpretive (rhythmic) markings in Gregorian Chant notation, including the occasional ictus indications? I think that the Vatican, historically, has never included them. Remember Paul VI’s Jubilate Deo? There were no interpretive markings. I’m guessing that the new Missal uses modern notation in the same manner: no interpretive markings.

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