Friday, September 30, 2011

Vir erat on the 27th Sunday of the Year

The offertory proper for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Vir erat, poses a special problem for scholas because of the length of the text and the intense drama associated with the story of Job that that it covers. The text itself is tied to the readings of the day, which include this from Philippians: "Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God."

This has been a text that has inspired polyphonic composers for hundreds of years. Here is a sample from G.A. Palestrina, as sung by the Florida Schola Cantorum. One of the singers is Edward Schaefer himself, the world-renown chant scholar who is also a practitioner of the Renaissance polyphonic form. This was sung in a concert setting.

The Gregorian chant setting in Latin is very long and rather difficult. I'm sure that it is being sung in various places in the English-speaking world by experienced scholas. But what about parishes that are only now working toward embracing the propers of the Mass?

This is the reason for the Simple English Propers. It make it possible to sing the propers of the Mass rather than replace them with a text and song of our own choosing.

Here are practice videos for the entrance, offertory, and communion chants.

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