Thursday, May 31, 2007

Communio: It's Here

It was less than a year ago when Richard Rice first started posting his newly typeset versions of the official Gregorian communion antiphons together with the full Psalm verses in musical notation. He began the project in response to a crying need for music that would allow these communion antiphons to be sung the way they are intended to be sung.

It was a special gift to our schola because we had tremendous struggles in finding these. They are not even listed in the Gregorian Missal, and though they are given in the Graduale, they are not printed out, so you had to go to the Vulgate to find them, and that still left the problem of actually pointing them correctly, which is no easy task for new singers. So Richard's editions filled a gap in the existing liturgical books.

Since he began posting the full sheet music, we've used them every week in our parish. Many others have too. Indeed, I've heard from parishes in France, Germany, Brazil, China, and all over North America who have benefited from his work. It allows scholas to sing the antiphon precisely according to rubrics in place since the 8th century (or earlier). It is also a great place for beginning scholas to start using the propers of the Mass.

In any case, the CMAA has announced that the full communion antiphons with Psalms are now available in print, in a 315-page book, beautifully bound and easy to use: Communio: Communion Antiphons with Psalm Verses, as prepared by Richard Rice and with an instructional forward by him. You can purchase it for $19.50, and it will be delivered in 7-10 days.

This wonderfully useful book covers the Sundays and Solemnities of the Church Year for both the current Roman Missal, using the modern calendar with its three year cycle, and the 1962 Roman Missal, following the traditional calendar.

These 110 chants are pristine, verbatim recreations of those in the Solesmes editions, and cover Masses that are most likely to be sung during the year, including major feasts (under both old and new liturgical disciplines), and the more important seasonal and ritual Masses (Ash Wednesday, Nuptial Mass, etc.).

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