I want to alert interested readers to the release of the first volume of a new monastic Liber Antiphonarius (aka Antiphonale, providing the chants and other texts for the day hours of the Office).
The Liber Antiphonarius will mainly be of interest to monasteries and Oblates using the Novus Ordo calendar, but the work on chant reflected in it may also be of broader interest.
In addition it may be of interest to those looking for a shorter version of the Liturgy of the Hours than the traditional monastic one, as it uses an arrangement of the psalms over a week but with no repetitions. Note however that the book is Latin only.
The book is the product of twenty years of research by monks from Praglia Abbey, in collaboration with the nuns of the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, who undertook the encoding and typesetting.
Volume 1 of the Liber Antiphonarius provides the texts for the proper of times and daily texts of the Office, including the hymns. It includes the psalter (using the neo-Vulgate), proper of time (including Sunday canticles for years A, B and C of the new calendar), and texts for feasts of Our Lord. In total it comes in at around 900 pages.
The second volume, scheduled for the end of 2019, will provide the texts for the feasts of saints, as well as the Office of the Dead.
Liber Antiphonarius pro Diurnis horis
The Liber Antiphonarius is printed in red and black print on 50 grams ivory paper with gold cut, and is available with either a canvass or leather cover.
It has three particular features:
- it is aligned with the modern Benedictine Confederation Schema B (rather than St Benedict's own psalm cursus as set out in the Rule and used in the Monastic Diurnal), which is used by a large proportion of modern (Benedictine) monasteries;
- it provides more than one set of antiphons for Vespers and Lauds each day, and for some major feasts, in order to increase variety; and
- it includes Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons aligned with the new calendar.
Overall the governing principle for the chants has been to:
- include rhythmical signs (episemes and puncti mora) in squared notation;
- source chants from a particular manuscript source, with no interpolations (such as taking one antiphon from different manuscripts making a sort of "common version");
- use the traditional chant tones;
- minimise the use of newly-composed melodies, privileging medieval compositions; and
- use the original texts of hymns, not the versions 'corrected' and 'mitigated' in the twentieth century.
You can read more details on the approach taken here.
Ordering a copy
It can be ordered by mailing or emailing the monastery:
Praglia Abbey - Shipping
Via Abbazia di Praglia, 16
I-35037 Teolo PD - Italy
Orders will be processed from 2 October 2017.
Return to tradition?
Regular readers will know that my hope and prayers are for a return to the traditional Benedictine Office, using the psalm cursus set out in the Benedictine Rule (and the Vulgate rather than the neo-Vulgate), and this blog is dedicated to that purpose. While it is true that St Benedictine allows for the use of other weekly arrangements of the psalms, I think his particular one embodies a particular spirituality reflecting the Rule, and so is an important element of the Benedictine charism and patrimony.
Unfortunately the traditional Office was largely abandoned (voluntarily and otherwise!) in the wake of Vatican II, with most monasteries following the Roman Office in suppressing Prime, and seeking to eliminate some or all of the repetitions of psalms in the Office. This antiphonale obviously reflects this, in my view, unfortunate direction.
Nonetheless, every step in the direction of tradition is to be applauded, and so the development of a new monastic Antiphonale utilising the original chants wherever possible, and thus allowing Schema B to be readily sung in Latin and chant, is at least a step in the right direction!