Hymnal In Christian Prayer

This summer my wife and I began praying Compline with our respective volumes of Christian Prayer. We take turns mostly looking for a hymn after the examination of conscience. When I pray the hours, I confess I don’t sing a hymn to myself. But it’s been kind of neat looking through pages 1502 t0 1784–not an insignificant collection of music. Lots of German and British and Irish tunes. Not so much plainsong. Lots of texts from a Jesuit, James Quinn.

I found many surprises in this eclectic collection of texts and tunes: an early text from the Benedictine Ralph Wright, a few contemporary songs from a guy named Enrico Garzilli (who is he?), a 1965 hymn text from Gabe Huck (how young was he?), a 1968 song from Tom Parker, three verses for Wachet Auf, a NALR contribution from Huijbers-Oosterhuis, all seven verses for “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” but only two for “All Creatures,” an early Weston Priory selection, and lots of other interesting little gems.

We usually invent our own psalm tones for the liturgy. If I start and Anita doesn’t like it, she’ll just chant the next stanza to a different tone. I noticed the other night they give a lot of tones and suggestions for chanting. I’ll have to look that over and get a few ideas.

Speaking of Christian Prayer, an interesting review on Amazon:

The MAJOR flaw with Christian Prayer is that it is the “official” ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy) translation. ICEL is notorious for dishonest translations. Unfortunately, ICEL has a monopoly on liturgical texts in the U.S. If possible, try to find a British/Irish version.

Last time I checked the Brits and Irish are part of ICEL. And dishonest? What, does ICEL come and skim 2% off the top of your Sunday collection in the middle of the night? Haven’t these dudes ever heard of the Vatican document Comme Le Prevoit?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Hymnal In Christian Prayer

  1. Liam says:

    The UK/Irish texts for the Divine Office don’t rely on ICEL. At least the older editions; I picked up an older abridged edition (just morning and evening prayer) when I was in the UK in the late 1980s, and it was the only edition I could pray in for long. The ICEL text we have here in the US is so unmusical; it’s a barrier to praying it for me.

  2. Dennis says:

    Enrico Garzilli is the music director at a Congregational Church in Kingston, RI. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Providence. He served on the college seminary faculty in RI in the mid sixties through the mid seventies. I’m not sure exactly hen he resigned. He hs written several musicals performed here in RI.

  3. Jono says:

    I would strongly recommend the Mundelein Psalter over Christian Prayer. It has English translations of the official hymns of the Liturgia Horarum (Christian Prayer mostly replaces them with the hymns you mentioned). It also has music (square note notation) for all those hymns for the Season Through the Year (Ordinary Time). There are hymn texts (and sometimes tunes) for the rest of the Seasons and Feasts with proper hymns. Also, every psalm has a psalm tone (no proper melodies for antiphons, however).

    If you have trouble reading the square notes, there is a website providing singing of the psalm tones and verses from the hymns. The music is for Lauds, Vespers, and compline only (Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer). I personally find the hymns much richer.

  4. Todd says:

    Thanks for the referral, Jono. I’ll have to get a copy of it. I’ve heard good and bad about the MS. My own experience was pre-publication at a workshop of musicians and liturgists. I was unimpressed, though the fault was largely with the meeting organizers.

    I saw some a few Latin texts side by side with English renderings, and I wasn’t impressed with the translations.

    I’m aware of GIA’s Hymnal of the Hours, which has some nice texts and tunes.

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