Thursday, October 28, 2010

Comme les Français III

This continues my look at Liturgies et Cantique Luthériens - a rather stream of consciousness first attempt at a review of the French hymnal to come out of Canada. This time I'll give the outline with any necessary translations of Liturgical Setting B. The final setting, Suite C, is a French translation of LSB's DS Setting IV with almost no variation - right down to the music. About the only difference is that LCL deletes LSB's rubric for sharing the peace.

Suite B has a simpler, more traditional chant throughout than Setting A - generally akin to the minor reworking of the traditional Western tones in the Common Service as we know it. Setting B incorporates many of the same post-Vatican II innovations, but in an overall framework more akin to Luther's Formula Missae, which we know as the Common Service in English. If you are a Common Service fan, as I am, but like the Prayer of Thanksgiving, Proclamation of Christ, and Invitation to Communion: Suite B is the rite you would write.

I am certainly favorably impressed with LCL, but it wouldn't be much of a review if I didn't at least cast a friendly critical eye upon the book. Now that I've gone through the three settings for Holy Communion, I do find myself puzzled on a few things.

First, the Words of Institution are not set for chant in any of the three Settings for Holy Communion. That is unfortunate, as the chanting of the Consecrations according to the Gospel tone is one of the unique and beautiful gems in the Lutheran heritage. If Fr. Saar or others with knowledge on the production of LCL are reading, what was the rationale here? Will chant be provided for this in a future accompanying volume - perhaps even published online?

Second, in the Liturgy of the Word for all three Suites, where LSB has "Introit, Psalm, or Entrance Hymn," LCL reads only "Entrance Hymn." So also between the OT and Epistle lessons - LCL has "Psalm" where LSB has "Psalm or Gradual." I hope the committee that produced LCL did not mean to encourage pastors to disregard the traditional propers. Am I missing something here?

Third (and this is a very minor point), I wonder if the setting of the Nunc Dimittis in Suite B (below) is not a bit out of place. Up to that point in Suite B, all the canticles have been straight forward translations set to unmetered chants. Then, all of a sudden, the Nunc Dimittis is set in a metered, two-stanza hymn that is thus necessarily a rather loose translation. Was there any discussion of using the Nunc Dimittis from Suite A or Suite C in Suite B? It seems to me that either of those would actually comport better with the overall feel of Suite B.


The Liturgy of Holy Communion
Liturgical Setting B

Confession & Absolution

The congregation may sing a Hymn of Invocation


All may make the sign of the cross in remembrance of their Baptism.

P: In the name. . .
C: Amen.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord. . . [Here follows the TLH p. 15 rite]

[Here is how the Absolution is worded:]

God Almighty, in his mercy, has given his Son into death for you [vous]. In his name, he forgives all your sins. Therefore, as a called and ordained servant of Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.


Entrance Hymn
Kyrie (3-fold)
Gloria in Excelsis
The Gloria in Excelsis is omitted during Advent and Lent.

[The entire Gloria is sung by the congregation - no opening line by the pastor only.]

Salutation and Collect of the Day
P: The Lord be with you.
C: And with thy spirit.

OT/First Lesson
P: The Word of the Lord.
C: We give thanks to God.


Epistle/Second Lesson
P: The Word of the Lord.
C: We give thanks to God.


Alleluia [3-fold]
The Alleluia is omitted during Lent

The Gospel
P: The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint ______________, chapter_________.
C: Glory to thee, Lord.

P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to thee, O Christ.

Hymn of the Day
Creed (Nicene or Apostles' - with a Church "catholique" in both, by the bye)

Prayer of the Church
P: Let us pray for the people of God in Jesus Christ and for all peoples according to their needs.

P: Lord, in thy mercy,
C: Hear our prayer.

Conclusion of the prayers:
P: Look upon these for whom we pray, according to thy mercy, through thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
C: Amen.

Offertory [Ps. 51]
Offering Prayers [As in Liturgical Setting A]

Liturgy of the Sacrament

P: The Lord be with you [vous].
And with thy spirit.

P: Let us lift up our hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

P: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
This is meet and good.

P: It is truly meet, good, and salutary...[Some of the more interesting Proper Prefaces included in the hymnal: The Holy Week preface is also appointed for Holy Cross Day; The Common Preface is appointed also for Reformation and other occasions; Preface for Apostles, Evangelists, and Pastors; Preface of all the Saints and Martyrs; Preface for Weekdays is also appointed for St. Michael and all the Angels.]

Sanctus [Interesting French in the first half of the Sanctus: Holy God, Holy God, Very Holy God: Lord God of armies, the universe is full of thy glory. Hosanna...]

Prayer of Thanksgiving
P: Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of all creation... [Same as in Liturgical Setting A]

The Words of Our Lord

Proclamation of Christ [Same rite as in Liturgical Setting A]

Our Father [read or chanted by all to a more traditional tone than in Setting A: much easier to sing.]

Pax Domini
Agnus Dei

Invitation to Communion [Same as in Setting A]
Nunc Dimittis [hymn setting in two stanzas, not unlike the HS '98 setting: Let me from this time/Lord, go in peace/For according to thy promise/Thou madest my eyes see/The glorious salvation/For which I waited unceasingly//Salvation which the universe/So many different peoples/Shall receive and believe/Help of the weak/Light of the Gentiles/And the glory of Israel]

Postcommunion Collect [Same three options as in Setting A]


  1. Not only is the Nunc Dimittis oddly set in meter, but it is inconsistent. According to thy promise You have made my eyes see? Or is this a typo?

  2. Fr. Fritz,

    My typing error - since corrected.


  3. Pastor Curtis,
    To answer your questions in this post:
    1) The Verba is not set to chant because none exists and we knew of no native French speaker who was capable of setting them to the chant tones used in LSB. Should this become available in the future, it will be posted on Lutheran Church - Canada's hymnal web site. Traditional or 3 year propers for the introit and gradual could be used, but since the psalm translation is copyrighted and we had limited space and money to work with, they aren't included in the book nor available on the web site. But, they could be sung using the model for the psalms in the book.
    2) The Nunc Dimittis in Suite liturgique B is a traditional French metrical setting commonly sung throughout French protestantism, including Lutheranism. In fact, the simple chanting of the biblical text was never done before LCL (see Compline). All three settings of the Divine Service only have a metrical version of the Nunc Dimittis.
    3) As a little background information:
    a) Suite liturgique A is a uniquely French musical setting from the late 60's. It's commonly used in France and Québec.
    b) As I'm sure you've noticed, the Gloria in excelsis in both Suite liturgique A & B is the same. In French Lutheranism, the Gloria in excelsis is rarely sung these days. There is one Reformation-era musical setting, but it isn't used much, in part, no doubt, because it's so un-singable.
    Thanks again for your review.
    David SAAR
    Comité liturgique francophone de l'Église luthérienne du Canada

  4. Fr. Saar,

    Thank you for that additional information - and for your work on this fine hymnal! It appears that this is not only a solid hymnal, but a truly revolutionary step forward for confessional, liturgical worship in the francophone world.

    On setting the French Verba to Luther's tone, let me ask around with some of my chant experts . . .



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