29 April 2017

New book: Gradual, by Berkely and Scotland

From the Moretus Gradual, 1598
I've just purchased a read an intriguing, short book on the restoration of rare, late-16th century printed Gradual: a collection of chants for the Church's liturgical year. The Gradual in question was beautifully printed in the Spanish Netherlands, using hand-copied monastic chant books as its sources.

The chant notation (shown, left) looks very like that used in the editions most singers use today, though it used five staves and lacks some of the specialised note-shapes (singers will note that there don't seem to be any quilismas or liquescents). Again, it (obviously) doesn't include the editorial marks added by the monks of Solesmes to most modern editions.

Although the melodies are somewhat different from the ones used today, which have been restored by reference to the oldest available manuscripts, they are quite different from the simplified and clunkily-printed chant used immediately before the Solesmes-influenced 1907 Graduale Romanum, upon which later editions have been based, exemplified by the 1870 Pustet edition shown below.