Friday, November 26, 2010

Chabanel Psalms Now in Print

A guest article by Watershed composer Jeff Ostrowski

I'm very grateful to Mr. Tribe for allowing me to share some information about a brand new Sacred music publication that comes just in time for Year A.

Corpus Christi Watershed has a special division dedicated to Liturgical music, and all our Liturgical projects are named in honor of the saintly Jesuit Martyrs of North America. Our projects embrace the full gamut, from scholarly pursuits like the St. Jean de Lalande Library of Rare Books to sites for Church musicians "in the trenches" like the St. Charles Garnier Gospel Acclamations.

As of November 2010, one can purchase a complete set of Year A Responsorial Psalms based on Gregorian chant, with modal organ accompaniment, and (of course) our collection scrupulously adheres to the Church's official text. has all the information.

Here is an example of the more than eighty refrains included in this collection:

My organ harmonizations are based on the modal theories of Gregorian accompaniment developed by the Lemmens Institute in Belgium (whose faculty included such legendary Catholic composers as Flor Peeters and Msgr. Jules Van Nuffel). Catholic musicians will greatly appreciate the fact that every single verse is written out with a careful accompaniment, and numerous harmonizations are provided for the Refrains.

One reason I did this is that, based on my six years experience working in the Ordinary Form, I realized that our Catholic organists often act as cantors (out of necessity). Also, the accompaniments are rather simple, because so many of our Catholic choir directors are volunteers hard pressed for practice time. For those who do not desire organ, the Chabanel Psalms can also be done a cappella.

Visiting, one can view all 180 pages of the organist book, all 90 pages of the vocalist book, and even download both versions of the congregational book (in modern & Gregorian notation). Each of these psalms is available for free and instant download at, where one can also find alternate Psalm options (by composers like Richard Rice, Aristotle Esguerra, Fr. Samuel Weber, Arlene Oost-Zinner, and many more) as well as hundreds of practice Mp3's and training videos for each Psalm.

Some may ask, "Shouldn't we be encouraging choirs to sing the Gradual chant, in place of the Responsorial Psalm?" Well, Watershed is a leader in this area, too. Free sites like and provide scores, MP3's, and training videos on how to chant the Gradual, and these sites have already received many hundreds of thousands of visitors.

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