Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/26

This page needs to be proofread.


MASS


MASS


is no Introit on WliiUsuii Kvc, while the customary Gloria Patri after the Introit is omitted during Passian- tidc. In Rc<^uicm Masses the dloria Patri is omitted after the Introit, a Traet and a Seijuonce follow Ihe Gradual. Nor do the texts dilTer for every feast, as is illustrated by the division of the Sanetoralc into the "Proprium de Sanctis" and the "Commune Sanc- torum, this latter division grouping the feasts into classes, such as the feasts of confessors-bishops, eon- fessors-not-bishops, martyrs, \'irgins, etc., in which the texts of the "Proper^' serve for many feasts of the "Propers" in many churches. Tliey are, how- ever, an integral part of the duty of the choir, and must be sung, or at least "recited", in a clear and intelligible voice, the organ meanwhile sustaining appropriate chords.

In a Rescript dated S August, 1906, the S. R. C, answering questions proposed by the Abbot of Santa Maria Maggiore in Naples, declares that in solemn Mass, wlien the organ is used, the Gradual, OlTertory, Communion, when not s\mg, must be recited in a high and intelligible voice, and that the Deo Gratias follow- ing the Ite missa est should receive the same treat- ment (see "Church Music", May, 1907, 229-235). Previous answers of the S. R. C. were of similar tenor. Thus (Coimbra, 14 April, 1753): in a "Community Mass" it is always necessary to sing the Gloria, Credo, all of the Gradual, the Preface, Paternoster; so, too, a question from Chioggia in 1875, as to whether the cus- tom introduced into that diocese of omitting the chant of the Gradual, the Tract, the Sequence, the Offertory, the Benetlictus. the Communion was contrary to the rubrics and decisions of the S. R. C, was answered affir- matively, and the questioner was remitted to the Coim- bra decision. A specific difficulty was offered for solution by a bishop who declared that in his diocese where a single chanter was used, and where the people had to hurry to their daily work, the custom had ob- tained (throughout almost the whole diocese) of omit- ting, in stipendiarj' Masses, the Gloria, Gradual, Tract, Sequence, Credo. He was answered (29 Dec, 1SS4) that the custom was an abuse that must be absolutely eliminated. The spirit of the Church legislation is summed up in the "Motu Proprio" (22 Nov., 1903, No. 8) : " As the texts that may be rendered in music, and the order in which they are to be rendered, are determined for every function, it is not lawful to con- fuse this order or to change the prescribed texts for others collected at will, or to omit them entirely or even in part, except when the rubrics allow that some versicles of the text be supplied with the organ while these versicles are simply recited in choir. It is per- missible, however, according to the custom of the Roman Church, to sing a motet to the Blessed Sacra- ment after the Benedictus in a solemn Mass. It is also permitted after the Offertory prescribed for the Mass has been sung, to execute during the time that remains a brief motet to words approved by the Church."

A practical difficulty is encountered in the fact that many choirs have met the limit of their capacity in preparing the chant or music of the Ordinaiy, whose texts are fixed and repeated frequently. How shall such choirs prepare for a constantly changing series of Proper texts, whether in chant or in music? Several practical solutions of the difficulty have been offered. There is, first of all, the easy device of recitation. For an elaborate discussion of the times when it may be used, the character it should assume, the legal aspects and decisions concerning it, see the Rev. Ludwig Bon- vin's article in "Church .Music, "March, 1900, pp. 14C- 156. Then there is the solution offered in the excel- lent and laborious work of Dr. Edmund Tozer, who prepared simple psalm-like settings which could be easily mastered bv a fairly eciuipped choir. The work "The Proper of the Mass for Sundays and Holidays" (New York, 1907-1908, Vol. II, No. 2926) is reviewed


in "Church Music" Jan., 1907. 127-128; Mar., 1908, 171-178; .see also June, I'.IOli, "One Outcome of the Discussion", 409-415, including a spcciuu'ii-f'i)ur-page of Dr. Tozer's method of I rcalnuMit of the Proper text. A third vohmie wliii-h will comprise various local texts is in course of prcp.irdion. .'Vnother molliod is that undertaken by Marcello Capra, of Turin, Italy, which provides musical settings for the Proper of the princi- pal feasts, for one or two voices, and with easy organ accompaniment. Still another method is that of Giulio Bas, who has compiled a vohmie, "Gradualis, Versus Alleluia tici et Tractus" ( Dtisseldorf , 1910), of plain -song settings from the Ambrosian, Aquileian, Greek, Mozarabic chant, for Sundays and Double Feasts, in order to facilitate the rendering of the more difficult portions of the Proper.

However rendered, these chants of the Proper must not be omitted or curtailed. But apart from this liturgical necessity, they challenge admiration because of their devotional, poetic, a'sthetic perfection: "If we pass in review before our musical eye the wonderful thoughts expressed in the Introits, Graduals, Alleluia Verses, Tracts, Offertories, and Communions of the whole ecclesiastical year, from the first Sunday in Ad- vent to the last Sunday after Pentecost, as well as those of the numerous Masses of the saints, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, we must feel that in the Roman Church we have an anthology worthy of our highest admiration" (Rev. H. Bewerunge, "Address at Lon- don Eucharistic Congress"). It should be a part of a choirmaster's business to translate and explain these texts to his choir, that they may be recited or sung with the imderstanding as well as with the voice. To this end the " Missal for the Laity", with its Latin and parallel English version, might be used. The spirit of the liturgy might also be largely acquired from the volumes of Dom Gu^ranger's " Liturgical Year". As this is, however, such an extensive work, the much briefer and more direct treatments of the texts of the Proper with comment on the spirit, which ran serially through the issues of "Church Music", would prove highly serviceable.

With respect to the plain-song setting, two typical chants should be studied carefully (see Dom Eudine's articles in "Church Music", March, 1906, 222-235, on "the Gradual for Easter", "the Hasc dies", and June, 1906, 360-373, on "the Introit Gaudeamus", which give the plain-song notation with transcription into modern notation, rhythmical and dynamical analyses, etc.). Such a study will encourage the present day musician to acquire a greater familiarity with the plain-song of the Proper which present-day choirs should have: "First, there is the Gregorian Chant. The more one studies these ancient melodies the more one is impressed by their variety and rare beauty. Take the distinctiveness of their forms, the character- istic style which distinguishes an Introit from a Grad- ual, an Offertory from a Communion. Then within each class what variety of expression, what amazing interpretation of the words, and above all what sub- lime beauty and mystical spirit of prayer! Certainly, anyone who has tasted the sweetness of these chants must envy the few privileged places where there is high Mass every day and thus a chance is given of hearing all of these divine strains at least once a year" (Bewerunge).

There is a large body of settings of the classical polyphonic schools, and of modern polyphony, as also much illustration of modern homophonic music, of the proper texts. Care should be taken to see that the texts thus treated are verbally correct. For in the return to the traditional melodies of the chants, the commission found it necessary to restore, in very many instances, omitted portions of text, and in various ways to restore to use the more ancient forms of the texts. In the "Proprium de Tem- pore", for instance, there are about 200 textual