I wasn’t hesitant to request this item for a review, as I had read some very great things regarding the Simple English Propers, such as their faithfulness to true plainchant and clear layouts. Apparently, the propers are an effort the bring true sacred music back to the vernacular Mass. Well, if every Parish had this book, we wouldn’t have a problem with bad hymns. The Simple English Propers are published by the same people who publish the “Vatican II Hymnal”, which I haven’t looked at but also have heard good things about it. When I opened the box which held the book, I was surprised to see that the cover was tastefully designed with a picture of an old breviary: and it was HARDCOVER too! The book opens nicely, and it stays open. The paper is higher-quality novel paper, and not too heavy.
The pages are designed very nicely. The text is very clear, easy to read, and a nice font. The music, staffed in Gregorian notation is easy to follow and the words are positioned beneath the bars in such a manner that congregational singing would be more than possible.
Settings for the Funeral and Nuptial Masses are included, and that for me is an extra selling-point.
What I loved, and was my favourite feature of these propers is that the tunes the Psalms are set to are splendidly reverent, and serve two main purposes. 1, the main purpose, is to Praise God. The second, is ease of use.
More than just propers are included, there are a view other chants as well, but nothing too extensive. There aren’t many cons that I can blame this book for, except maybe they could publish an edition that is one solid colour with maybe a white/thinner bible-like paper common in hymnbooks, just as an extra edition. But that’s only minor, and a non-issue in regards to the content. In my opinion, every parish that offers the Ordinary Form should have, and use the Simple English propers alongside Gregorian chant. The Propers are an excellent key in restoring the traditions of sacred music BACK to the Church! I would graciously like to thank Tiber River for sending me a copy of this book!
The book is of course an amazing hit even without conventional reviews in the usual places. But I’m very pleased to see this.