Thursday, November 01, 2012

Responsorial Psalms Notated for Organists and Cantors

The following was sent into NLM recently by the folks over at Corpus Christi Watershed:

For the first time in history, a complete collection of Responsorial Psalms has been published with each verse fully notated for Organist and Cantor. The book adheres strictly to the current USA Lectionary, which will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future (according to recent pronouncements of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship), and does not alter in any way the wording of the official Antiphons or Psalms.
The 387-page book contains Liturgical Years A, B, C, and ABC. All the information is clearly listed on the website:

Though this collection uses the English language, the Psalms are based on Gregorian chant, without exception using "free rhythm" and adhering strictly to the the eight Gregorian modes.

As alluded to above, each and every verse has been carefully and painstakingly written out for Cantor & Organist, allowing the modal harmonizations to perfectly suit each verse ("fitting like a glove") in a way that has never been done until now. This allows for perfect performance with an absolute minimum of rehearsal time, even for musicians who are not professionals.

Many Church musicians are already familiar with the St. Noël Chabanel Psalms, all of which are available free online, and include hundreds of compositions by composers such as Arlene Oost-Zinner, Richard Rice, Bruce E. Ford, Royce Nickel, Sam Schmitt, and many others. Those who wish to explore these should visit the Chabanel Psalms website, which also has hundreds of free practice videos and mp3's.

However, many Catholic choirmasters will prefer to have the printed book, since printing out hundreds of sheets of paper can be costly and confusing. Incidentally, for those who desire Responsorial Psalms without organ accompaniment, composer Aristotle E. Esguerra has published a complete set, which uses Gregorian notation:

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