Thursday, August 31, 2006

The English Gradual

One way that contemporary music made huge strides in the early seventies was by free distribution of music. Parishes and musicians were thrilled to be able to acquire new and fresh music at no charge, so they didn't have to bug the pastor for a budget--and it must have been great to feel a sense of liberation from publishers and their ways. (Of course that was before the publishers got interested in CCM, and, well, you know the rest.)

In any case, today the tables have turned. Glorious music is available for choirs for free. Just click, print, and sing. Most people know about CPDL, which is amazing, among many other resources.

One of the most spectacular resources I've seen, that is also not very well known, is the online English Gradual. It is marked as Anglican Use but it corresponds exactly to the 1974 Graduale, so it can be used in every Catholic parish. In fact, I don't entirely understand why we haven't heard more about this.

This resource permits any choir to do English-language, Psalm-tone versions of all the Propers of the year. If your pastor worries about Latin or there are troubles with singing the full Gregorian settings, this is the answer.

It is also beautiful done. Please take a look.

This small image doesn't do it justice, but here is a sample of the communion antiphon for this weekend. It also strikes me that it gives a choir excellent practice in reading simple neumes:

With this Gradual only a click away, and all issues of Latin etc., out of the way, I don't see any reason why a choir couldn't get busy this weekend with singing the Mass as it should be. At least this provide an excellent first step.

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