Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Mundelein Psalter

I love this book. Here is the Mundelein Psalter, published by Hilenbrand Books, a pointed edition of Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer for the modern Liturgy of the Hours. I don't normally pray the modern Office but if I had the opportunity to sing it with this book I might consider doing so. It is extremely easy to use. I suspect a group of lay folk with minimal musical experience (or a family?) would be singing the office within minutes after cracking this open. When the Office is sung rather than merely read or spoken its character can be fully realized. What we do in the office is not just a duty but divine worship.

Because it is meant to be used in choir and not for personal use, the book is large. The psalm tones used are the "Meinrad Tones" written by Samuel Weber, OSB. They make the Grail Psalter not just tolerable but somewhat beautiful.

The layout is amazing. The text, font, and spacing choices are perfect.

You sing the antiphon using the psalm tone below, which I assume the cantor would do . Then everyone else can get the tone in their head to use for the entire psalm. The ease of use of the Mundelein Psalter and its simplicity in form is brilliant and highlights the proper function of the antiphons.

The book contains a hymnal of actual music and texts for the Liturgy of the Hours. These aren't the ecumenical hymns found in the Catholic Book Publishing 1975 edition. They are the real deal. The Te Lucis Ante for Compline uses the modern Latin edition but the side by side English is the old version. I found that interesting.

Having the hymns and their translations alone makes the book worth owning. Whatever hymns not included can be found in the Liber Hymnarius and using this book is recommended by the Mudelein Psalter.

I imagine the tones could get old quick, but it is far better than singing recto tono.

A table of the tones for responsories, intercessions, and collects.

Sewn binding. It could use another ribbon, frankly.

This book is awesome and should be owned by anyone who loves the Divine Office. I promise you will spend time with it just singing through the Psalms.


bgeorge77 said...

The Neale translation of the hymns! Yes!

Javier said...


it looks glued, not sewn, to me.


Noah D Schumacher said...

would it be dumb to have this and the Liturgy of the Hours 4 vol edition? I am thinking about getting this psalter and using both. Maybe chanting the mid day prayers through this psalter and using the regular volume for the other times of the day. THoughts? Is it dumb to have both or maybe good?

Matt said...

It wouldn't be dumb at all. It would be a good start to adding music to the LOTH.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton