Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dominican Chant and Liturgy for Christmas Time

It does seem like Christmas already, so many people are sending me news and links about Dominican music and liturgy. So here goes:


At 11:00 a.m. on Christmas Day, Fr. Anthony Patalano, O.P., pastor of Holy Rosary Church, 375 NE Clackamas Street, Portland, OR 97232 (tel: 503-235-3163) will celebrate the parish Day Mass of Christmas ("Puer Natus") as a Missa Cantata according to the traditional Dominican Rite. Music will be provided by the well-know Cantores in Ecclesia under the direction of Dean Applegate. It will include: the Missa "O Magnum Mysterium" by Tomas Luis de Victoria and Propers from the Dominican Gradual. These propers will include the famous Sequence Laetabundus proper to our rite. Fr. Anthony says that any readers of N.L.M. who happen to be there should introduce themselves after Mass--and share photos if they take any!


If you do not know this medieval sequence, which is also approved for use in the Novus Ordo Mass by Dominicans at Christmas and Candlemas, the Dominican Friars of Oxford, England, have posted a lovely Christmas Video which has as its audio that chant. Here is the link:


As most readers already know, this is the Season of the Great O Antiphons of Vespers. They are the origin of the verses of the popular hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." The Dominican chant of these Antiphons is slightly more elaborate than the version used in the Roman liturgy. Fr. Dominic Legge, O.P., of the American Eastern Province, has called our attention to a posting at their web site ( --scroll down) giving a little history of the Antiphons and a downloadable booklet in pdf format with the chants and translations. The Oxford Dominicans have posted a video with the music of all the antiphons along with the texts and music at UTube: ( Those who want to learn them can practice by singing along. Tip of the capuce to Fra' Lawrence Lew, O.P.
The image at the begining of this post shows the Great O Antiphons from the Poissy Antiphonal (XIV century).


Since my last posting kind readers have called my attention to additional recordings of Domincan chant that have been made available in recent years. The Friars of the Polish Province have recorded six CDs of Dominican chant focused on the Mass and Office of various feasts: In Assumptione (Assumption); In Nativitate Domini (Christmas); In Epiphania Domini (Ephiphany); the Requiem; Veni Lumen Cordium (Easter); and Alma Redemptoris (Marian). I have spoken with members of the province about providing an order page in English. For now, you will have to have your music store order these for you using information found at the site: In addition, Antonio Bambini of Florence has called my attention to the recording O Spem Miram of the Domincan chants for the Mass and Office of St. Dominic. Done by the Ensemble Cantilena Antiqua founded by Stefano Albarello of Bologna. You can get information about this recording here: Unfortunately, the disk is out of print, but you should be able find it on the used market or in university music library collections. The image to the above right is the cover of the O Spem recording.


Finally, I have been in contact with Philip Carl Smith, who posted the pdf files of the Dominican Antiphonal and Processional on the site of the Church Music Association of America. He is a graduate student in music at Notre-Dame, writing a thesis on the medieval Dominican hymnal for Office, as well as planning to enter the American Eastern Dominican Province next fall. He informs me that work is indeed underway to post pdf files of the Dominican Gradual, the [Incomplete] 1936 Nocturnal, the 1965 Regulae Cantus, and finally the great 1867 Jandel Antiphonal itself. When these have been posted, there will be available on the web (and downloadable) virtually the entire corpus of music for the Dominican Mass and Office. I will keep you informed as these new items go up.

Finally, a blessed and joyful Christmas to all.

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