Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sung Masses in Holy Week

A few posts back I blogged about GIA's serviceable book on Passion narratives in English - a wonderful book.

But let's say you are in a parish where more is possible: Latin, ideally. Well, resources have been scarce until now. Thanks to the Lenten sacrifice of a reader of NLM, a book with the full Holy Week chants in Latin with music is now back in print, all 533 pages of it. The nearly impossible-to-find 1922 book was scanned in high quality and is now available in book form.

This book saves readers and singers vast amounts of work in pointing the text. And while the Ratisbone neumes are not as beautiful as Solesmes, one person who bought this book praised the typeface because of its supreme readability. The blocky old-style neumes serve a purpose in this case: mitigating against errors. All the Gospels are here, along with the propers and all chants of the week.

The book is Officium Majoris Hebdomadae, et Octavae Paschae, Cum Cantu. It offers far more detail and much larger typeface than the Liber Cantualis. It was the kind of book that was a staple in any cathedral in the past, and it is a great pleasure to see it available again, not just for someone lucky enough to find it in some dusty old shop but in a shiny new edition. Old treasures, for new times.

Our parish is not ready for this step yet, but owning it provides a ideal to which we can look forward - someday.

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