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Salve Festa Dies Sacred Echoes Gregorian Chants Holy Week Music Other Choral

Vespers and Compline in Fauxbourdon style

A valuable historic and artistic document: a complete vespers and compline service with great and beautiful music. 

The Vespers and Compline Service

The vespers and compline service was sung in Latin by the monks and nums in the Roman Catholic monasteries for over 1,500 years. But within recent times, the decrees of Vatican II created a situation where the old Latin services were generally removed from active use.

The two offices were usually performed together, compline immediately following vespers and the services sung each day had the same basic format: five psalms, a hymn, and a magnificat for vespers, and three psalms and a Marian antiphon for compline. Most of the other parts of the service varied according to the day of the week and the time of the year.

Our service contains the proper prayers, etc. to be sung for "a feast honoring a martyr, not in paschal time." Paschal time, or tempus paschale, is the season of Easter – the celebration of the resurrection extending from Easter Sunday to the Saturday after Pentecost.

As we have selected the Marian antiphon Salve Regina to be sung at the end of the compline service, this would make this a service that would have been performed between the feast of the blessed trinity and the last Sunday before the beginning of advent. Each of the four Marian antiphons were sung in a separate quadrant of the liturgical year.

The Music

The music is the Gregorian chant with some of the parts replaced by setting composed by musicians of the Renaissance period. The vespers service itself was mostly taken intact from a work called “Musica Divina” by Carl Proske (1794-1861). Proske was a German priest who devoted the last thirty years of his life to the preservation and reinstatement of the great sacred choral music literature: one of the greatest musical inheritances of our culture.

Proske traveled to Italy where he copied and collected the music stored in monasteries and museums, then published it in Germany, much of it for the first time. It is thanks to this great man that many great sacred choral masterworks are available today in other than original manuscripts tucked away in museums and libraries.

The remainder of the music in our service was drawn from the complete works of Palestrina and from the Catholic sourcebook Liber Usualis and other old editions of Gregorian chant.

This edition brings together for the first time outside of the Catholic Church, this setting of these entire services with settings by the great Renaissance composers.

The Fauxbourdon Style

The fauxbourdon style of music during the time of the Renaissance was an outgrowth of an earlier style of music. This style provides a method of providing harmony for psalms, magnificats, and other strict forms of chant without losing the original shape and form of these Gregorian compositions. The simplicity of this form helps create an uplifting feeling and is almost unknown in modern music, with the exception of the singing of the Eastern Orthodox Church and to the harmonized chanting style of the modern Anglican Church, except that the latter has adopted the more romanticized harmonies of contemporary times, while these Renaissance settings use pure three-note chords. All the harmonic settings are in fauxbourdon style with the exception of two hymn settings by Palestrina.

On the Use and Performance of this Music

The incipits are the solo parts at the beginning of the antiphons, to the asterisk in the music. These were sung by cantors. An antiphon is sung before and after psalms, canticles, and magnificats. Modern tradition in the Catholic church often shortened the singing of the preceeding antiphon to the singing of the incipit only. I recommend the singing of the full antiphon both before and after the psalm, canticle, or magnificat as was always originally done.



Victoria - Deus in adjutorium
Gregorian antiphon – Que me confessus fuerit
Bernabei – Dixit Dominus (psalm)
Gregorian antiphon – Qui sequitur me
Viadana – Confitebor Tibi (psalm)
Gregorian antiphon – Qui mihi ministrat
Andreae – Beatus Vir (psalm)
Gregorian antiphon – Si quis mihi ministra verit
Viadana – Laudate Pueri (psalm)
Gregorian antiphon – Volo Pater
Zacharius - Laudate Dominum (psalm)
Gregorian chapter – Beatus vir
Palestrina – Deus tuorum militum (hymn)
Gregorian verse and response – Gloria et honore coronasti
Gregorian antiphon – Iste Sanctus
Unknown – Magnificat
Gregorian Prayer – Paesta, quaesumus omnipotens Deus
Gregorian Antiphon – Qui odit
Gregorian verse and response – Justus ut palma florebit
Gregorian – Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo
Gregorian - Benedicamus Domino
Gregorian (recto tono) – Fidelium Animae


Gregorian – Jube domne benedicere
Gregorian short lesson – Fratres: Sobrii estote, et vigilate
Gregorian – Adjutorium nostrum
Gregorian – Pater noster
Gregorian (recto tono) – Confiteor Deo
Gregorian –  Indulgentiam
Gregorian –  Converte nos
Gregorian – Deus in adjutorium
Gregorian antiphon – Miserere
Gregorian - Psalm 3
Gregorian - Psalm 90
Palestrina – Psalm 133
Gregorian antiphon – Miserere
Palestrina – Te lucis ante terminum (hymn)
Gregorian chapter – Tu autem in nobis es
Palestrina – In manus tuas Domine (short responsory)
Gregorian – Redemisti no Domine
Gregorian doxology
Palestrina – Sub umbra alarum
Gregorian antiphon – Salva nos
Palestrina – Nunc dimittis (song of Simeon)
Gregorian – Dominus vobiscum
Gregorian blessing
Soriano – Salve Regina
Gregorian – Ora pro nobis
Gregorian prayer
Gregorian recto tono

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