The last event of our 2023–2024 Public Lecture and Concert Series was a wonderful lecture by Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., a foremost historian of books of the Roman rite, and is a preview of some content in his forthcoming book about books of the Roman rite that he is writing while on sabbatical from San Anselmo in Rome.



As he writes:

The history of the Graduale Romanum is long, complex and full of surprises. Knowing some of that history is a great help in understanding the status of liturgical music today. This conference will be limited to a history of chant books used for the Mass. (Chant books used for the Divine Office is another story for another time.) The period of time we’re dealing with extends from the Council of Trent to the post-Vatican II era. We will briefly describe six books: 1) the Medicea edition of the Graduale Romanum (1614–1615), 2) the Solesmes movement and the Liber Usualis (1896), 3) the Graduale Romanum commissioned by Pope Pius X (1908), 4) the Vatican II document on the sacred liturgy and the Graduale Simplex (1967), 5) the Graduale Romanum of 1974/1979 and the Graduale Triplex (1979) and finally, 6) the Graduale Novum (2011/2018).

Because there is so much material, an in-depth study is not possible in this conference. Rather, we will focus on the highlights, and try to trace the ever-present tensions between tradition and reform.