12 February 2016

A Lenten Tract Setting in Organum (UPDATED with Tract for Lent I)

The Lenten Tracts are some of the most challenging items in the Gregorian repertoire, both for length and difficulty. Some editions of the Liber Usualis include an appendix, setting the text of the Tract to a Psalm tone - the minimalist approach.

Alastair J. Tocher, director of the Schola Gregoriana Malverniensis,* proposes a more interesting way of making the Tract manageable for small choirs, giving the opening verse in its original Gregorian setting, and setting the subsequent verses to a plainsong Psalm tone, alternating with parallel organum. He writes:
It is not original but rather merely follows the arrangements used by a founder of the Association for Latin Liturgy, Dr Dick Richens, and used at Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Cambridge over many years. We never had it written down, just vaguely annotated in our graduals.
Click here for an example. This is the Tract for the third Sunday in Lent; if there is enough interest, Alastair may be able to produce settings for some of the other Sundays of Lent.


UPDATE: Here is the Tract for the First Sunday in Lent - just in time for anyone who is panicking about tomorrow's Mass!

Do let us know if you use any of these settings.


* "The main blessing for the [Latin Mass] community here at Worcester - St John the Baptist, Spetchley - has been the arrival of the Schola Gregoriana Malverniensis who sing at a monthly Mass in the Traditional Rite in the chapel." Margaret Parffrey, 'Diocesan Digest', Mass of Ages: the quarterly magazine of the Latin Mass Society (Spring 2016).