Monday, February 09, 2009

More English Propers (1964)

Here is a fascinating book from 1964: Complete English Propers for the High Mass edited by Paul Arbogast. It is yet another example of the outstanding work done between 1963 (Sacrosanctum) and 1970 (new Mass) that has been oddly lost to history.

I can only imagine 1) the shock that musicians faced when they realized that the propers would be translated to English in the American Use, thereby scrapping the greatest treasures of the Gregorian repertoire, and 2) the shock that further befell them in 1970 when new propers were written that departed from the Graduale translations they had worked so hard to set for 6 years.

What an amazing period of turmoil!

In any case, these are probably useful today for most parishes that are looking for good chant settings of English propers. The Gradual propers are strongly recommended by the GIRM, so these are just as useful now as then, and remember that there is no official translation of the Gradual propers, so these are perfectly fine for use in any parish (but not within the Extraordinary Form; they would be useful for the 1965 Mass but I don't believe that this Missal is licit in any venue).

You will see that the proper settings are very beautiful.

Now, a necessary note on copyright. The date is 1964, which means that by law they fall into that period which binds them by copyright for as much as another 100 years depending on if they were renewed. In any case, at best we are talking about another 20 something years before they are available for distribution.

Note that if they had been published a few months earlier, they would now be public domain. But thanks to a massive land grab by the Disney Corporation, these were retroactively included in the copyright protected category in the 1980s. Thus is the sheer arbitrariness of legislation!

I'm posting these "without permission" because I could not find a claimant to give permission, and I spent a long time looking. They are of course long out of print, so posting them can't possibly be said to be pulling revenue away from anyone. I say all this to announce openly that if a real claimant is out there somewhere on the planet--someone with a real stake in these, some publisher or individual who believes they should be locked up for another few decades, and I don't mean some copyright troll making trouble--please let me know and I'll take them down. Or if you know how I could contact someone, great. (Don't suggest some IP attorney unless you are willing to pay the fee.)

Without someone to make that claim, it would be a tragedy to see these continue to gather dust in library shelves solely due to some arbitrary legislation that had nothing to do with the Catholic Church and her liturgical needs. I'm regarding these as orphaned in the hope of bringing to life the hard work of those who dedicated so much of their lives to this project.

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