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Liber Brevior
(Latin-English texts)

A review by Louis J. Tofari


Recently I reviewed the 1963 Liber Usualis (with English rubrics) and the Holy Week Gregorian Chant Book, both reprinted by Preserving Christian Publications. Interestingly enough, even before these printing projects were being discussed during my tenure at PCP, there was another one, the Liber Brevior.



This handy compendium of Gregorian Chants was first produced and published by the Monks of Solesmes in 1954 through their printing house of Desclee in Belgium and in cooperation with the Gregorian Institute of America, who supplied the English texts.


The value of the abbreviated Liber Brevior versus the complete Liber Usualis is that it contains basically everything needed for the choir’s needs at a parish or academic institution. Thus not only is the Liber Brevior more compact and lightweight, but a fortiori, economical to purchase in bulk.


In English, the Liber Brevior includes the rules for the proper interpretation of Gregorian chant and various rubrics, but note (as in the Liber Usualis), not the Ordinary parts of the Mass which allows this book to double as a missal.


For the Mass, it provides the:

  • Ordinary portions of the Mass (e.g., the Kyriale as well as the Asperges and Vidi aquam antiphons)

  • Sunday Masses

  • Major feast days of the Proprium Tempore

  • Most important feast days of the Proprium Sanctorum (e.g., the Apostles)

  • Masses of Our Lady on Saturdays

  • Commons of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • Votive Masses

  • Commons of the Saints

  • Requiem Mass, Absolution and Burial Service

  • Psalm (simple) tone versions of Graduals, Alleluias and Tracts for not-so-proficient choirs


Preserving Christian Publications took their 3rd printing a step further by including some feasts not in the original 1954 edition. This “Supplement: New Feasts and Feasts Proper to the United States” includes the Masses for:

  • St. Pius X

  • St. Joseph the Workman

  • North American Martyrs

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe


Another valuable addition that PCP made to their third printing was the insertion of the Tract and Alleluia chants for the Votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary during Lent and Paschal time and an updated Table of Moveable feasts that makes it current to 2041.


For the chanted Divine Office, the Liber Brevior includes:

  • Sunday Vespers (the ordinary parts but not the proper antiphons, etc.)

  • Sunday Compline (completely)


The Liber Brevior also provides additional chants often used, such as the:

  • Solemn Reception of a Bishop

  • Administration of Confirmation

  • Invocation of Holy Ghost

  • Te Deum

  • Litanies

  • Chants for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

  • Anthems to the Blessed Virgin Mary, For Various Seasons and Feasts (Advent, Lent, etc.)


Originally printed in 1954, the Liber Brevior does not feature the 1955 Holy Week Reform of Pope Pius XII. So the fine folks at Boonville compiled the stand-alone Holy Week Gregorian Chants book and printed it to match the size of the Liber Brevior; these two books are available individually or as a set at a reduced Combo Price. These books can also be purchased at a bulk rate (see below for details).


Like their other chant book offerings, Preserving Christian Publications has reprinted the Liber Brevior with the following fine features:

  • Gold embossed hardbound cover

  • Durable endsheets

  • Red edges

  • High quality Bible paper

  • Clear printing, matches original

  • 2 marking ribbons


Despite being 766 pages, the Liber Brevior has the compact dimensions of 7.5 inches high x 4.87” wide and only 0.87” thick!


And the kicker (as usual), is a price of just $34.00!


Even better is the Combo Price of just $40.00!


For bulk orders, a 10% discount is given for orders of 3-9 copies of a title, but 20% for 10 or more (contact Preserving Christian Publications directly to make a bulk order).

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