Thursday, February 16, 2012

A New Exultet and Its Mighty Significance

This year we will experience a new Exultet Easter Proclamation. The words are much better, much clearer, less abbreviated, closer to the Latin. As part of this, I want to draw your attention to a new book published by the Liturgical Press. It is called The Easter Proclamation.

It is a pretty book, very elegant, with all original artwork that nicely draws from tradition to present something new and contemporary. It doesn't look like the official music books of the preconcilar times but it does not depart from them too far either. The production values are absolutely wonderful. In fact, this book is so nice that i wonder why it has received so little attention.

You can actually look at samples here.

The notation is on a 5-line staff, with the same methods used in the Missal. It is a very singable setting. And I really like the way the pages turn and the pictures jump off the page. It is just ideal for any parish.

But let's not miss the significance here. This is an official book for Catholic liturgy, approved by ICEL and the U.S. Bishops, that contains only music. This is huge. I'm not aware of another official book for liturgy in the modern Roman Rite that contains only music. Again, this is not a "study edition" but an official liturgical book. Is it the first one to appear since the promulgation of the ordinary form of Mass? I'm not entirely sure about that but it is surely rare, regardless.

Whether you are drawn to the style of this work or not, its existence alone is a great cause for hope. It means that the Bishops are more and more seeing the need to approve the publication of books that are only music books. This dramatically elevates the place of music in the current liturgical priorities of the Catholic faith. It is a beginning and a very strong one.