Monday, April 30, 2007

The Ordo cantus Missæ

I recently acquired a copy from Rome of the Ordo cantus Missæ (OCM). This is the book from which the Graduale Romanum was made; as the Lectionary comes from the Order of Readings (Ordo lectionum Missæ - which I also just obtained), the Gradual comes from the OCM, or “Order of Chants”.

A few observations:

  • The book dates from 1986, while the most recent Graduale Romanum dates from 1974.

  • The OCM is from Rome, not Solesmes. In fact, the OCM seems to ignore Solesmes completely, deferring not to the 1961 Graduale, but to the 1908 edition, which is, I believe, the last edition that Rome published.

  • The OCM’s 1986 revision added tones for the Prayer of the Faithful, which are not part of the 1974 Graduale (but are, I believe, in the Graduale Simplex).

  • The OCM gives (optional) uses for the “neo-Gregorian” chants that Solesmes omitted from the 1974 Graduale Romanum. Most notable, I think, are the Introit and Offertory propers for Transfiguration and the propers for nuptial Masses. Interestingly, the only seasonal propers appointed are for a couple of Christmas Masses, including Holy Family - which was a new celebration post-V2. Unfortunately, there are no communion verses given.

  • Another addition to the OCM were propers for feasts of St. Maximilian Kolbe and the plethora of saints now celebrated on 20 September. Strangely, the 1974 Graduale Romanum does have propers for St. Maximilian Kolbe, but they are different from those in the OCM, and they are “tacked on” at the end of August - apparently, Solesmes didn’t want to do a new typesetting.

  • The OCM contains notation for several chants that apparently were unknown in 1908; these are, of course, given appointments in the liturgy.

  • Propers for Ordinary Time, with the exception of chants matched to readings, are basically transplanted from the pre-V2 Proper; thus, the relationships of the chants to each other during OT are more or less preserved.

This begins to make me question - what is Solesmes’s role in all this? How “official” is the 1974 Graduale, and does anything prevent someone armed with the OCM and a 1908 Graduale from making another edition of the Graduale?


At Monday, April 30, 2007 3:51:00 PM, Blogger HilbertAstronaut said...

Cantor said: "How 'official' is the 1974 Graduale, and does anything prevent someone armed with the OCM and a 1908 Graduale from making another edition of the Graduale?"

To me, the term "official edition" should be reserved for academia, and is better named "critical edition." It is a resource for academic study and probably cannot be in a form usable by parish music directors. Remember that Solesmes' editions are just compilations anyway; they give the illusion of a unified liturgical music practice, when the actual practice during the Age of Chant was largely the opposite.

It could be said that the very notion of an "official edition" is an artifact of the Pre-Internet Age! ;-)

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