Fr. Carlo Rossini, Mus. D.
As introduced by the famed author and sacred music expert, the purpose of this instructional booklet published in 1942 is to present the:
“…Intonations and Cadential Formulae (together with the rules for their application and correct rendition) in an orderly, concise and comprehensive manner, so that even the student whose musical knowledge does not go beyond the natural musical scale may be able to study and understand them in a short time and with little trouble.”
Fr. Rossini underscored the importance of a “correct rendition” of the priest’s sung parts in his Introduction:
“The primary and ultimate purpose of the Liturgical Chant is to enhance the meaning of the words so that the faithful may be able to grasp the ‘spirit’ of the truth contained in the liturgical text, and thus be susceptible to thoughts and feelings which will lead eventually, to formal acts of faith, hope, love and praise.”
“Gregorian Chant is not a difficult matter to learn if adequate time is devoted to the study of it… Furthermore, that portion of the Liturgical Chant which belongs to the celebrant and to his assistants at the altar is so limited that its proper rendition becomes a matter merely of ‘zeal and good will’ rather than of musicianship. It consists in fact of a few Intonations and a score of simple, invariable Cadential Formulae or Infections to be memorized and applied to the different divisions of the Latin text, according to certain rules of mathematical and prosodial nature.”
For the ease of learning, the chants explained are often shown in comparitive columns of Gregorian and modern notation.
In addition to the priest’s Intonations and Recitatives at High Mass (e.g., "Dominus vobiscum", Collect, Epistle, Gospel, Preface, and "Ite, missa est"), this manual also features instructions for:
- A Good Rendition of the Plainchant
- The Burial Service
- The Vespers
- Chants and Intonations for Extra-Liturgical Services
- Chants and Recitatives for the Holy Week Services
- Solemn Prefaces
- Ferial Prefaces
It also includes:
- Practice Exercises
- Papal Decrees and Documents on Sacred Music
- Questionnaire for School Examination
The value of this book and its ease of use—and thereby of learning its lessons—was endorsed by the Bishop Hugh Hoyle of Pittsburgh in the Foreword:
“I commend to young men preparing for the priesthood, and especially to those who are preparing for the work of parish priests, the matter and the arrangement of the matter in this little book. The arrangement has been made especially for those who have small talent for music, and little or no training in the art. The book is designed to enable priests, whose duty it is to chant the official prayers of the Church, to add to the impressiveness and to the appeal of those prayers, and to warm and inspire human souls.”
Softcover. 136 pages.
No less a component part of the Roman Rite than its texts, rubrics, ceremonies, and vesture is Gregorian chant, which, as the fathers of the Second Vatican Council affirmed, is “specially suited to the Roman liturgy” and should therefore “be given pride of place in liturgical services” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 116).
It is therefore incumbent on the priest who, in faith and charity, wills to celebrate the liturgy of the Holy Roman Church properly and beautifully to know the Church’s sacred chant and observe the rules concerning its execution. Romanitas Press has rendered a good service to the Church in reprinting this important work of Father Rossini. Fr. Thomas Kocik; Fall River, MA Diocese (Contributor to New Liturgical Movement)