Here is a quick recording which I have just made, in order to demonstrate sung 2nd Vespers of Trinity Sunday, as done according to the Liber Usualis:
The flipping around necessary to get through this would be:
p. 250 – the Solemn Tone of the verse “Deus in adjutorium.” can be used ad libitum on Solemn feasts, so I used it; otherwise the Festal Tone (given on this same page) is always used at vespers.
p. 914 – 1st Antiphon
p. 128 – 1st Psalm, Dixit Dominus, 1. f
p. 914 – repeat 1st Antiphon, then sing 2nd Antiphon
p. 134 – 2nd Psalm, Confitebor, 2. D
p. 914 – repeat 2nd Antiphon, sing 3rd Antiphon
p. 143 – 3rd Psalm, Beatus vir. 3 a2
p. 914 – repeat 3rd Antiphon, sing 4th Antiphon
p. 150 – 4th Psalm, Laudate pueri, 4. E
p. 914 – repeat 4th Antiphon, sing 5th Antiphon
p. 156 – 5th Psalm, In exitu, 5. a
p. 914 – repeat 5th Antiphon, then sing the Chapter
p. 123 – the tone for the Chapter is on this page; also note that the Chapter always ends with the response “Deo gratias.”, which is missing from p. 914.
p. 915 – the Hymn, “Jam sol recedit igneus”; then sing the verse “Benedictus es.”
p. 118 – the tone for the verse is on this page; for Sundays or feasts, you use the first option, or else the second option, “according to a more recent custom”; I went with the first option, as its rather more common.
p. 916 – the Antiphon at the Magnificat, “Te Deum Patrem.”
p. 216 – the Magnificat, 4. E; I used the “Solemn Tone”, which has uses a more elaborate form of the middle cadence, because this is an option that can be used on 1st and 2nd class feasts; otherwise, the regular version of the tone 4. E would be used, as on p. 210.
p. 916 – repeat the Magnificat Antiphon
p. 101 – the verse “Domine exaudi” and the “Oremus” are said before the collect. I used the Ancient solemn tone found on this page; the other option for this would be the Festal Tone, found on p. 98. (The explanation of which tones can be used for the collect may be found on p. 124, if you are curious about these things.)
p. 916 – the collect is then sung; note that the flex † which is marked is in the right place for the Ancient solemn tone which I used (whereas, this would not be the case if I had used the Festal tone); however, as this tone has no metrum, the * does not really signify anything for us, except the existence of a good place for a pause. However, with the Ancient solemn tone, the instructions on p. 101 specify that “after any pause, the first syllable of the following word starts a tone lower than the dominant”; thus, I observed this as often as necessary.
p. 100 – the conclusion “Per Dominum.” can be read in full here.
p. 101 – the verse “Domine exaudi” is sung again after the collect.
At this point, p. 916 has an Antiphon / Verse / Collect for the commemoration of the first Sunday after Pentecost. However, on p. LXXX, it is noted that this is omitted (i.e., the rubrics no longer call for this commemoration to be made.)
p. 125 – the verse “Benedicamus Domino” is sung to one of the tones given for use at 2nd vespers of 1st class feasts; I went with the second option.
p. 261 – the very last thing is the verse “Fidelium animae”, which is said recto tono in a low voice.
And that’s how today’s Vespers are meant to be sung, to the best of my knowledge.
“The year hath twelve months, comprising fifty-two weeks, and one day : indeed, it has three hundred and sixty-five days, and nearly six hours ; for in such an interval of time the sun traverses the zodiac. However, in the course of four years, four times six hours constitutes an extra day ; hence that year is called intercalary, bissextus, or bissextile.”
– De anno et ejus partibus (my working translation)
Well folks, this is such a year, and today is the day, liturgically speaking.
“In a bissextile year, the month of February is 29 days long, and the feast of St. Matthias [note: usually on the 24th] is celebrated on the 25th day of February, and the feast of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows [note: usually on the 27th] on the 28th day of February, and the Sixth Kalends are said twice, that is, on the 24th day and on the 25th day ; and the dominical letter, which was taken up in the month of January, is changed into the preceding one : as for example, if in January the dominical letter was A, it is changed into the preceding one, which is g, etc., and the letter f serves twice, on the 24th and on the 25th.”
– Calendarium romanum (my working translation)
In the Roman method of reckoning, days are counted backwards from certain set points in each month: the Kalends, the Nones, and the Ides.
Since the Kalends are always the first day of the month, the first day of March is called “the Kalends of March”;
The last day of February is called “the day before the Kalends of March”;
The second last day of February is called “the Third Kalends of March”;
The third last day of February is called “the Fourth Kalends of March”;
And so on.
(By the way, this numbering system is an example of what is called “inclusive counting”.)
Now, counting backwards like this, the “Sixth Kalends of March” is February 24th in most years, but in leap-year when you add an extra day to the end of the month, the Sixth Kalends suddenly becomes February 25th.
Since we are talking about the Roman calendar, it should not surprise us to find that the feast of St. Matthias is affixed to the Roman-style date, the Sixth Kalends, and not to February 24th.
This goes for the other (later) feast that occurs near the end of the month, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, as well.
So where’s the leap-day?
As it happens, when an extra day was to be inserted into the Roman calendar, their method of doing this was to have two days which were both “the Sixth Kalends of March”; these correspond to our February 24th and 25th.
Since the feast of St. Matthias is to be celebrated on the 25th, we may therefore deduce that the intercalary (that is, “inserted”) day, the bissextile (that is, “twice-sixth”) day, is in fact February 24th.
In fact, in an English version of the Roman Martyrology which I have, the direction in this regard is:
But in Leap Year on February 24 is read only:
The commemoration of many holy martyrs and confessors and holy virgins. R. Thanks be to God.
So, there you have it.
Happy Bissextile day!
Now for Easter, one of those random chants in honor of Our Lady:
Concordi laetitia (Rhythmus paschalis ad B. Mariam V.)
The handy annotations section of Cantus selecti gives the date for this as 13th century, with the melody being from a prosa Orientis partibus and the more proximate source for the chant being Variae Preces (1892). Interestingly, this latter book starts the chant on “Do”, whereas more recent editions put it on “Fa” to be more correct for mode 6.
We sang this at Offertory on Easter morning this year.
Here is another chant put into easy piano form:
Vexilla Regis prodeunt (the vespers hymn for Passiontide)
Which is also used on September 14th for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, as well as (formerly) on May 3rd for the finding of the same. This hymns also shows up in the movie The War of the Vendée; incidentally, if I remember correctly, in both its Monastic and Roman versions.
Chant notation for this hymn can be found in the Liber Usualis, p. 575.
Oh, and one last use: in older chant books, such as the 1954 Liber Brevior, one may see that this chant was also formerly sung on Good Friday for the procession bearing the Blessed Sacrament to the altar.
I had it in mind to start some kind of novena today, as it is the proper date to end on the March 19th feast of St. Joseph. When I found a what seemed a suitable one in Fr. Lasance’s Prayerbook for Religious, I decided that it would be a good idea to typeset it; here it is.
For printing it, you can do whatever you like; however, what I meant to do with it is to print pages (1, 1, 1) with the options multiple, custom, 3 x 1 horizantal, landscape, and print page border.
(Three in a row makes them come out a nice size; also, the option for the printer to draw a border around each “page” is surprisingly useful for this sort of application.)
If I wanted these real nice, I’d take them to the copy shop, where the resolution would be higher, do them on cream-colored card-stock, and then have them laminated.
And another easy piano printout:
Stabat Mater (Hymn of the Compassion of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
I’ve left the fingering up to y’all. The divisions represent the sections which serve as the hymns for Vespers, Matins, & Lauds (respectively) for the Feast of the Seven Sorrows, (the one that is the Friday after Passion Sunday, which is now just a commemoration; not the one in September, which seems to have a different set of hymns). Keep this in mind for those times when you need a shorter version; these are the verses to excerpt, or good places to stop.
Here is another chant put into easy piano form:
Audi benigne Conditor (the vespers hymn for Lent)
A point of advantage with this hymn is that it only uses five notes. I typed this up for a student who can read letter names, knowing that when I wrote in the letter names, he would be able to get through it with no trouble at all. Fingering would do the trick just as well for a different student.
Chant notation for this hymn can be found in the Liber Usualis, p. 539.
This hymn is first sung at vespers of the Saturday before the first Sunday of Lent; it is replaced by Vexilla Regis prodeunt starting with vespers of the Saturday before Passion Sunday.