Saturday, September 24, 2011

Simple Antiphons for the Feast the Archangels

Because this Thursday's Feast of Michael, Gabriel and Raphel, Archangels was not covered in the Simple English Propers, I am offereing here a set of simple antiphon settings for free download.


In particular, the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word in Birmingham, Alabama have asked for these since they have begun to sing the SEP regularly in their community and were in need of propers for this Feast that is so dear to them.

Please note in these settings (which are a draft from a forthcoming project soon to be announced) that the antiphons specifically are crafted for congregational singing. The texts are short, usually two lines, and rarely three or four, which allows for the congregation to respond easily after the intonation of a cantor. The cantor can then sing verses from a psalm with all responding at each repetition of the antiphon, very much like our common practice of Responsorial Psalm singing.

Because the topic of GIRM 48 and 87 so often appears in comment box conversations at the Chant Café, it will be of interest to note that this method of singing the propers allows, perhaps to the greatest degree possible, the most literal fidelity to these rubrics. While the singing of the propers by the choir alone is very much allowed here, and even implied by the fact that the chants of the Graduale Romanum are in the first option (which has never been congregational music), in the rubric on how the chants of the Entrance and Offertory are to be sung the people are encouraged to sing 3 of the 4 times: "This chant is sung alternately by the choir and the people or similarly by a cantor and the people, or entirely by the people, or by the choir alone."

It should be noted that the above rubric only applies to the Entrance and Offertory chants, while GIRM 87, pertaining to the Communion Chant, gives a much greater responsibility to the choir alone: "This is sung either by the choir alone or by the choir or a cantor with the people."

So I would ask you to consider these antiphons and consider if they, and others like them, both proper and often seasonal, would help your congregation sing the antiphons of the liturgical books in dialogue with the choir or cantor. Many desire to achieve this in their parishes. Perhaps we are close to having more resources that will help make this achievable (i.e. STAY TUNED!).
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