Melodic alterations in the 1933 Antiphonarium

In the midst of preparing the last post about Nos qui vivimusI happened to glance at the first antiphon in the series of Sunday antiphons on the same folio. To my surprise, I realized that the 1933 Antiphonarium version of Dixit Dominus (CAO 2285) has a very different ending than that of the manuscripts. I had been under the impression that the 1933 edition was generally a reliable transcription of the 13th century antiphons that it contains, but I now see that that is not the case, at least in this very important instance. My last post was about “cautionary accidentals”; I suppose this one is a “cautionary tale” about taking 20th century chant editions for granted!

The editors of the 1933 edition seem to have drawn on the version proposed in the 1912 Antiphonale Romanum (notably the 1862 version is identical to the manuscripts). It appears that the whole string of Sunday Vespers antiphons in the 1933 Antiphonarium are simply adapted from the 1912 Roman antiphonal, with slight rhythmic variations but with identical melodies. The adoption of the Pius X revision of the psalter by the Dominicans necessitated the adoption of certain new melodies, but it is curious that the editors chose not to retain the distinctive melodic version of the first antiphon, the text of which is identical in both versions.

Although I included the 1933 version of this antiphon in my booklet for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, I will restore the traditional Dominican melody in my next booklet! (Incidentally, I have decided to use the Dixit Dominus antiphon for each of the four weeks in my booklets, following the example of Les Heures Grégoriennes; this seems to be helpful pastorally, giving a greater sense of continuity from week to week rather than changing the first antiphon each time, in addition to preserving an aspect of the older tradition.)

Rome, SS XIV L1, fol. 241r
London, British Library Ms. Add. 23935, 267va
Antiphonarium O.P. (1862), p. 113.
Antiphonale Romanum (1912), p. 36.
Antiphonarium O.P. (1933), p. 65

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