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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Saint John Fisher Missale

The other day, the Our Lady of the Rosary Church Choir blog, I saw a post about the Saint John Fisher Missale which is now hosted at Musica Sacra. Today I was prompted by Berthold Kress, art historian and compiler of the Missale to put a notice about it here.

The St John Fisher Missale is a collection of pdfs with the Ordo Missae and Kyriale as well as propers for many of the seasonal Masses and Saints. This is a work in progress and more material is planned.

This might sound a bit "same old same old" given the wealth of materials posted on the internet in recent years in support of the usus antiquior. However, the St John Fisher Missale differs from other resources in some important ways. The Ordo Missae is set up with the sung Mass primarily in mind. This will be useful for people who have the advantage of being able to attend sung Mass regularly since many of the people's booklets available treat sung Mass as an incidental second option to Low Mass.

The collection also includes some extra chants that would have been known to St John Fisher but were not included in the Tridentine Missal. From the website:
The Missals and Graduals printed after the Council of Trent contain only parts of the very rich tradition of medieval plainsong. It seems that many of the chants removed from the books at this time may still be sung (if not as liturgical items, then as motets at a suitable point during Mass), and explicit permission has been given for the use of some of them. Since many of them can enrich the liturgy both theologically and musically, a small selection of them are included here — this makes the St John Fisher Missale probably the first non-academic publication that makes this material accessible to congregations. The additional chant texts fall into three groups:
  • The Offertory Verses, taken from the 1935 Offertoriale Romanum
  • The Sequences, as found in the Sarum Missal, which would have been known by St John Fisher and sung in medieval England
  • The Texts for the Kyrie, likewise from the Sarum Missal and, if not available there, from the Analecta hymnica.
I am rather looking forward to having some Sarum chant at Sunday Mass in due course.

All of the pdfs are well typeset and laid-out ready to print for the congregation. For a longer introduction to the St John Fisher Missale and the thinking behind it, see this Introduction.

Picture credit: Warburg Institute, University of London.
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