Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Liber hymnarius

I am trying to get into the Liturgy of the Hours a bit more, at least to familiarize myself with it.

For a chant enthusiast, the Liber hymnarius is indispensible for the Liturgy of the Hours. Though GIA etc. seem to sell it as basically a collection of hymns, it also contains invitatories and proper antiphons throughout the Church year.

One possible use of this, I am thinking, is as short, manageable chunks of (real) Gregorian chant - yes, communions often fill this slot, but the antiphons just give additional options (and thematic ideas).

Thankfully, CMAA provides a publicly available edition of an old Antiphonale that (correct me if I’m wrong?) should have most of what’s in the LH, if not more?


At Wednesday, December 27, 2006 10:37:00 PM, Anonymous moconnor said...

I had the opportunity to program 3 nights of Vespers this fall and in the process, learned a bit about the Vat2 liturgy of the hours that I did not know. I've studied the Tridentine Vespers for years and even have attended a few services, but I did not even know that Vat2 changed everything. IMO it was not for the better. The new LOH offers more texts from the bible, but sacrifices the focus on the psalms. The Tridentine Office had such a beauty and marvelous architecture. The new LOH seems much less formal. The biggest problem is that one must really work to set it to music. The antiphons have no melodies assigned to them and there is no standard setting of the Revelation Canticle. Obviously the LOH no longer holds the importance that it once did.


At Monday, January 01, 2007 5:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am NOT absolutely sure of this, but I do not think the Latin Hymns are offically seen as Gregorian chant. They are in Latin, and use chant notation, but hymns are different from Gregorian chant.

At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 2:47:00 PM, Anonymous moconnor said...

Anon is right. Hymns are probably best considered "Ambrosian" in that St Ambrose is credited for promoting their use as defense against heretical groups that used simpler music to attract people to their beliefs. Sound familiar? Although Ambrose did not write many, if any, hymns, his connection is no less secure than Gregory's to the chant that bears his name.


At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 6:25:00 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

BTW, check out the dates of the hymns in the index in the back of the LH. Some are recent compositions, and inferior. But the more ancient texts have been restored to their pre-reform splendor.

At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 7:15:00 PM, Blogger Northland Al said...

For your Ambrose trivia of the day:

I believe there may be four hymns directly attributed to Ambrose through the writings of Augustine. Those hymns would be:

Aeterne rerum conditor
Deus creator omnium
Jam surgit hora tertia
Veni redemptor gentium

Feel free to correct me if necessary. At least one source for this was:

Lenti, Vincent “Saint Ambrose, the Father of Western Hymnody.” The Hymn 48, no. 4 (October 1997): 44-48.

And yes, I thoroughly agree, Ambrose's hymns were written in part to counter heresy... especially the Arians.


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