The following list of chants is in the order of my personal favorites. The original album list was in order of the Liturgical Year: Advent Through Pentecost. All the chants can be downloaded for free on this website. The mp3 albums, 20 Favorites or The Ascension Liturgy, can be purchased here or later at iTunes or Amazon. Dennis Fitzpatrick, Conductor, February 14, 2017
English Chant Schola: The Cantor is Byron Wright. Chant adaptations to English by Dennis Fitzpatrick. Members: Alan Nikora, Bill Smith, Burman S. Timberlake, Chris Bowman, Dennis Heath, Don Harrison, Edward Cansino, James H. White, Ken Graham, Ken Knight, Michael A. Kantz, Michael J. Dennis, Philip Ramey, Scott Blois, Tim Denton, Tim Foster.
20 Favorites Chant List
1 Say To Those Who Live Anxiously (Communion Antiphon-7th Mode)
2 Alleluia! If You Love Me Keep My Words (Alleluia Verse-7th Mode)
3 Ave Maria, Daughter Most Favored (Offertory Antiphon-8th Mode)
4 O Father, If This Cup Cannot Pass My Lips (Communion Antiphon-8th Mode)
5 Bring Us Back, O Lord God, To You (Gradual Verse-2nd Mode)
6 And Suddenly From Heaven (Communion Antiphon-7th Mode)
7 Christ For Our Sake Became Obedient Even To Death (Gradual Verse-5th Mode)
8 Praise The Victim, Sing Of His Deeds (Sequence-1st Mode)
9 Place Your Hand In My Side (Communion Antiphon-6th Mode)
10 Holy Spirit, Lord Of Light (Sequence-1st Mode)
11 Alleluia! Let Us Thank God For He Is Good (Alleluia Verse-8th Mode)
12 The Lord Said To Me (Entrance Antiphon-2nd Mode)
13 My God, My God, Look Upon Me, Why Have You Forsaken Me?(Tract-2nd Mode)
14 Alleluia! Come, Arouse Your Power (Alleluia Verse-4th Mode)
15 To You, My God, I Lift My Soul (Entrance Antiphon-8th Mode)
16 Alleluia! I Am The Living Bread (Alleluia Verse-7th Mode)
17 Alleluia! I Will Not Abandon You (Alleluia Verse-1st Mode)
18 As The Deer Longs For Running Streams (Canticle-8th Mode)
19 This Is How All Will Know You Are My Disciples (Gradual Verse-7th Mode)
20 Where Is This New Born King? (Communion Antiphon-4th Mode)
Extra: 20 Favorites original album back
Ascension Liturgy Chant List
21 Men of Galilee (Entrance Antiphon-7th Mode)
22 Alleluia! Our God Ascends (Alleluia Verse-4th Mode)
23 Alleluia! Go and Make Disciples (Alleluia Verse-8th Mode)
24 I Have Been Given All Authority (Communion Antiphon-1st Mode)
Extra: Ascension Liturgy original album covers
Conductor’s Note: The 7th mode chants are one of the most interesting in the repertoire. Notice the soaring melismas on the words, “but be strong.”
Antiphon: “Say to those who live anxiously: ‘Do not fear but be strong. Behold, it is our God who comes to save us.” Is 35:4
Verse 1: “And when he comes, he will cause the blind to see, and he will cause the deaf to hear, and the lame person will leap like a deer, and those who were speechless will sing for joy.” Is 35:5;6 The Antiphon is repeated.
Verse 2: “Those whom the Lord has redeemed will walk on that holy highway; they will come home on that holy road. They will enter Jerusalem singing songs of their everlasting joy, they will be forever free from sorrow and mourning; they will have happiness and joy forever.” Is 35:9,10 The Antiphon is repeated.
Conductor’s Note: This 7th Mode Alleluia verse is my personal favorite of all Alleluia verses. The soaring lines in the upper reaches of the 7th mode raise me to levels of musical ecstasy.
“Alleluia!” Verse: “If you love me, keep my words, and my Father will love you, and we will come to you, we will come to live with you.” Jn 14:23 The “Alleluia!” is repeated.
This setting of the “Ave Maria” is the most breath taking of all chant settings in purity of line and length of phrasing. I was able to keep some of the Latin vowel sounds in my English adaptation of Lk 1:28, 31 that preserves these characteristics.
Antiphon: “Ave Maria” daughter most favored, holy and blessed; the Lord be with you for you shall bear God’s son. The Lord has blessed you! You shall name him Jesus. Lk 1:28, 31.
Verse: See how the Lord has come to the aid of his servant, Israel, see how he remembered his promise to send us his mercy. He kept the promise he made to our forefathers to Abraham and his children forever. Lk 1:54-55. The Antiphon is repeated.
This humble and touching Communion Antiphon, echoing the Passion, preaches a sermon far beyond its 35 seconds. In Psalm 143 the Cantor and Schola sing some of the thoughts that might have been in the mind of Jesus as he prayed before he was arrested.
Antiphon: “O Father, if this cup cannot pass my lips unless I drink it to the bottom, may I not do my will but your will.” Mt 6:42, 39
Verse 1: “I am frightened at what I see before me, and I know what power you have shown in past times. I need your help. I thirst for you like dry land thirsts for the rain.” Ps 143:4-6 The Antiphon is repeated.
Verse 2: “Give me strength to face the morning, Lord. Help me get through it for I rely on you. Save me at the time of confrontation for I hope in you. May I do your will for you are my God. In your goodness may your spirit lead me in your path.” Ps 143:8-10 The Antiphon is repeated.
One of my favorite chants for Lent is this prototype 2nd Mode Gradual with the message, “Bring Us back, O Lord God, to you.” The vocalizations on “you” in this Antiphon are love sounds to God yearning to be reunited with the creator during Lent.
Antiphon: “Bring us back, O Lord God to you. Rescue us, O Lord God, that we may praise you and thank you.”
Verse: “Not on bread alone does man live, but on every word which comes from the mouth of God.” Mt 4:4 (Deut 8:3) The Antiphon is repeated.
This chant represents a great challenge to me in adapting it to English. It sung so well in Latin that I knew if I could adapt it well to English, it would convince many of the possibilities of chant in English. Syllabic chants are more difficult to adapt than neumatic or melismatic chants. I tried to convey the sweep of this dramatic Pentecost experience.
Antiphon: “And suddenly from heaven a sound came over them like a violent wind blowing where they were sitting, like a violent wind blowing, alleluia, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke of the astounding works of God, alleluia, alleluia.” Acts 2:2, 4, 11
Verse 1: “Show them your power, O God, the power you use for your sakes. Chant praise to God, O Kingdoms of the earth, chant praise to the Lord who rides on the ancient heavens, whose might voice thunders through the heavens.” Ps 68:28; 33-34 The Antiphon is repeated.
Verse 2: “God rules with power and his majesty touches Israel; his strength is felt through the heavens. What awe we feel toward God here near his altar. We bless the God of Israel who gives power and strength to his people.” Ps 68:35; 36. The Antiphon is repeated.
This is one of the best known Graduals of Holy Week. It is in the 5th Mode as are most Graduals. The chant emphasizes by understatement by singing in the equivalent of our major key, Christ even being obedient to death on a cross. During the verse the chant melody soars upward on the word “high” (in Latin “altus”) as the text proclaims that God has raised him on high. I have tried to preserve Latin tone painting in my English translations and music adaptations.
Antiphon: “Christ for our sake became obedient even to death, even to death on a cross.” Phil 2:8
Verse: “Therefore God has raised him on high and gave him a name, a name above all other names.” Phil 2:9 The Antiphon is repeated.
This well known Easter Sequence is sung by the Schola to a translation by Roger Nachtwey and myself in which we tried to use language that is not archaic or stilted but which tells an exciting story that still respects the music accent of the chant.
- Praise the Victim sing of his deeds; you Christians praise the true Lamb.
- Christ, the Lamb, has saved the sheep; it is he who brought us back; the Just One gave his life that we might live.
- Death and life conflicted then, and it seemed that life had lost, but when the third day came, life conquered death.
- O tell us, Mary, what you saw when you went to him.
- Christ, the living One, was not there, but when he appeared I saw his glory.
- I saw his clothes and angels stood as a witness there.
- Christ, my hope, has truly risen; In Galilee you will find him waiting.
- Now we know without a doubt that Christ, our Lord, arose. O Jesus, Victor King, show us mercy. Amen. Alleluia!
This Communion Antiphon is the only example of a 6th Mode chant in this collection (the 5th and 6th modes are the chant equivalent of a major key). The naivete of the music of this chant makes possible the sincerity of Jesus’ message to Thomas to have child-like trust: “Thomas, do not continue doubting but believe in me.” (Jn 20:27)
Antiphon: “Place your hand in my side, put your finger into the nail marks, alleluia. Thomas, do not continue doubting but believe in me, alleluia, alleluia.” Jn 20:27
Verse 1: “The Lord gives me strength, he gives me courage, it is the Lord who rescues me, who saves me. Shout for joy, all you who live in goodness, for the mighty arm of the Lord has done great deeds. I shall not die but live to praise him for his deeds.” Ps 118:14; 15, 16, 17. The Antiphon is repeated.
Verse 2: “I will thank you for you have answered me; it is you, Lord, who rescue me, who save me. The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this deed and it is a great deed.” Ps 118:21; 22-23. The Antiphon is repeated.
This is probably the most recognized Gregorian Chant in our collection. This sequence dates from the 12th century. Roger Nachtwey and I have tried to supply it with a singable translation that is not archaic.
- Holy Spirit, Lord of light, From your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give.
- Come, O Father of the poor, Come with treasures that endure; Come, O light of all that live.
- You, of all consolers best, You the soul’s delightful guest, Sweet refreshing peace bestow.
- You in work are comfort sweet, Pleasant coolness in the heat, Solace in the midst of woe.
- Light immortal, Light divine, Show your love to human kind, And our inmost being fill.
- If you take your grace away, Nothing pure in us will stay; All our good is turned to ill.
- Heal our wounds, our strength renew; On our dryness pour your dew; Wash the stains of guilt away.
- Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray.
- On the faithful who adore, And confess you evermore, In your sev’nfold gift descend.
- Give us comfort when we die; Give us life with you on high; Give us joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia.
The Great Easter Vigil Alleluia is sung in one long glorious phrase four times before and after the verses of Ps 118:1; 16, 17; and 22-23.
Verse 1: “Let us thank the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures forever.” Ps 118:1 The “Alleluia!” is repeated.
Verse 2: “The right hand of the Lord has done great deeds. I shall not die but live praising him, praising his deeds.” Ps 118:16, 17. The “Alleluia!” is repeated.
Verse 3: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone of the building. The Lord has done this great deed, how good it is to see.” Ps 118:22-23. The “Alleluia!” is repeated.
Christmas begins with the Midnight Mass in great understatement during the moving Entrance Procession. All of Psalm 2 is sung between the three repetitions of the Antiphon.
Antiphon: “The Lord said to me: ‘this day have I begotten you, you are my son, you are my son.’ ” Ps 2:7
Verse 1: “How useless it is for nations to rage against the Lord, how feeble are the plots they devise to outwit God! The kings and rulers of the world make secret plans against the Lord. They plot against the king the Lord has chosen. They say ‘Let us free ourselves from his rule. Let us remove his control over us.’ In heaven the Lord simply laughs at them for he is amused by their empty threats. Then he warns them in anger and his fury fills them with fear. He says: ‘I have enthroned my king in Jerusalem, my holy city.’ And the king says: ‘I will reveal to you the plan of the Lord in these words.’ ” The Antiphon is repeated.
Verse 2: “The Lord said, ‘You only have to ask and I will give you the nations. You will rule them with an iron hand. You will shatter them to pieces like a clay pots.’ Listen to this warning, rulers of the earth, all you heads of state, listen while you still have time. Serve the Lord with respectful fear, tremble as you bow down to him or you might arouse his sudden anger and die. But how happy are they who go to him with a trusting attitude. Glory to the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, as it was, is now, and shall be forever and ever. Amen.” Ps 2:8-11 with Doxology. The Antiphon is repeated.
This is the second longest chant in the repertoire. Only the 2nd Mode Tract setting of Ps 91, “Qui Habitat,” (Responsorial Psalm for the First Sunday of Lent: Year C) is slightly longer. This setting of Ps 22 is also one of the most moving tracts in the repertoire (see the start of section IV, “They just circle me, this pack of killers,” and the start of section V, “Lord, please help me!”). I have divided this version of Ps 22 into seven sections that parallel important section changes in the music and text. This Tract is sung on Palm Sunday following the first reading of the Mass.
Section 1 Verse 1 of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, look upon me; why have you forsaken me? Why do you seem so far from me? Verse 2: “I cry out and you will not hear me; daytime or nighttime, no reply comes.”
Section 2 Verses 3-5: “Our Fathers praised you in Israel, your holy place, and you rescued them. They cried out, ‘O Lord,’ and you heard their plea and you saved them.” Verse 6: “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned and despised.” Verse 7: “All who see me mock me and they taunt me: ‘Let God save you since you rely on his help.’ “ Verse 8: “And they laugh at me too; they jeer and say to me: “If God really loves you, let him come and save you. Verse 13: “They attack me with their jaws open like lions. They rave and they roar at me and they stalk me just like prey.”
Section 3 Verse 14: “My strength has been drained from me like water through a sieve. I feel pain in every bone and my heart melts like wax. Verse 15: “My mouth is dry like baked clay and my tongue sticks to it. You have let them bring me down, down to the dust of death.”
Section 4 Verses 16-18 “They just circle me, this pack of killers, and they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones, they just gloat and watch me. They divide my clothes among them, they toss dice for them.”
Section 5 Verses 19-20 “Lord, please help me! Do not be far from me. Rescue me from death for they want to kill me. Hurry to save me from them.”
Section 6 Verse 22 “I will sing your praise to all and I will stand here and in public tell my story: how you heard my cries for help. Verses 32-24 “O praise the Lord, you who fear his name and stand in awe of his mercy. I was so depressed and lonely when he came to save me.”
Section 7 Verse 31 “May our heirs tell their children about God’s mighty deeds.”
Advent is the beginning of the Liturgical Year. It is also a preparation period for Christmas and the final coming. This plaintive 4th Mode Alleluia Verse is sung to a lovely prototype chant melody prior to the Gospel in years A and C.
Alleluia! Verse: “Come, arouse your power. Arouse your power and save us. O Come, and save us, O Lord.” The “Alleluia!” is repeated.
Listening to this ancient Introit Antiphon is a stirring worship experience as the Schola sings from a distance and passes the worshiper on their way to the altar during the solemn entrance procession.
Antiphon: “To you, my God, I lift my soul; in you, my God, in you I place my trust; let me not be put to shame. Let not my enemies exult over me. No one, Lord, who waits for you shall be put to shame.” Ps 25:1-3.
Verse: “The Lord is good and gracious; he is willing to teach his plans to those who go astray. He guides the humble to right actions, and to the teachable he will teach his ways. All the actions of the Lord are loving and sure to those who obey the covenant and the words of the Lord.” Ps 25:8-10 The Antiphon is repeated.
This spectacular 7th mode verse gives the idea of life forever as the word “ever” is sung at the end of the phrase: “Whoever eats this bread shall live forever.”
Alleluia! Verse: “I am the living bread come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread shall live forever. And the bread I give is myself, my flesh, which I give that all humankind may have life forever.” Jn 6:51 The “Alleluia!” is repeated.
This 7th mode Alleluia verse is my favorite of all Alleluia verses. The soaring lines in the upper reaches of the 7th mode move me to glorious ecstasy.
Alleluia! Verse: “If you love me, keep my words, and my Father will love you, and we will come to you, we will come to live with you.” Jn 14:23 The “Alleluia!” is repeated.
Four canticles are sung following the readings of the Easter Vigil. The canticle that most touches me is the one sung after the last Old testament reading, “Sicut Cervus.” This 8th mode Canticle sings with great yearning from Ps 42 about “How I remember your holy place: the times I went there leading your people as we sang praise to you.”
Canticle: As the deer longs for running streams, so I long for you, God. I thirst for you, O my God; how I miss you, my living God. Ps 42:1-2. “How I remember your holy place; the times I went there leading your people as we sang praise to you, as we worshiped you with songs of joy.” Ps 42:4 “Your light and your truth shall guide me to your temple. Then I shall walk with joy to your altar, O God; then shall I thank you, O God my God; then shall I sing to you.” Ps 43:3-4.
This Gradual is my favorite of all Graduals. There is a disarming honesty about the melody of this chant that I thought exactly fitted the message of love in Jn 13:35, “have love for one another” to be sung on Holy Thursday. The most interesting music I have found in the Gregorian Chant repertoire are generally 7th Mode Graduals. I have included all of them in my English Gradual adaptations.
Antiphon: “This is how all will know you are my disciples: that you have love for one another.” Jn 13:35
Verse: ” ‘A new commandment I give you,’ says the Lord, “Love one another as I have loved you.’ ” Jn 13:34 The Antiphon is repeated.
This interesting 4th mode Antiphon with its sudden leaps of a fourth on “come from the East” pointedly relates the question of the wise men, “Where is this newborn king?” The drama is heightened by the use of the solemn 4th mode psalm tone.
Antiphon: “Where is this newborn king? We saw his star and have come from the East. We come to adore him and worship him. Show us the Lord, the newborn king.” Mt 2:2
Verse 1: His kingdom shall extend from sea to sea; he shall rule from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth. The kings of Spain and all the islands shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Ethiopia will bring their offerings to him. Ps 72:8, 10 The Antiphon is repeated.
Verse 2: “May his name be honored forever; may he be remembered until the sun is no more. May all peoples of the world receive his blessing; may every nation give him praise.” Ps 72:11, 17 The Antiphon is repeated.
It is an exciting experience to hear the Introit Antiphon sung by the Schola from a distance as they process to the altar during the solemn Entrance Procession. The cantor, James H. White, then sings verses from Psalm 47 in alternation with the Schola. The Antiphon is repeated as the altar is incensed.
Antiphon: “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking up into the heavens? Alleluia. He will return just as you saw him ascend into the heavens. He will come back. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” Acts 1:11.
Verse: “God ascends his throne to mighty shouts of joy; the Lord ascends to a fanfare of trumpets. Let us sing praise to God, yes, let us sing his praise. Let us sing praise to our king, let us sing his praise. Let us sing artful praise for God is king of all the earth, from his holy throne he reigns over all the nations.” Ps 47:5-6; 7-8. The Antiphon is repeated.
The Schola sings this lovely 4th mode prototype Alleluia verse in place of the Responsorial Psalm.
Alleluia! Verse: “Our God ascends his throne to shouts of joy; and the Lord ascends to trumpets singing praise.” Ps 47:5 The “Alleluia” is repeated.
This joyful 8th mode prototype Alleluia verse is sung many times during the liturgical year. The end of the verse is unusual since it does not contain a quotation from the jubilus of the Alleluia , a structural feature of most Alleluia verses.
Alleluia! Verse: “Go and make disciples in all the nations and know that I am with you always even to the end of the world.” Mt 28:19-20. The “Alleluia” is repeated.
We sing the chant Communion Antiphon at the end of the communion procession for the congregation’s reflection after the congregation has sung a separate congregational refrain with psalm.
Antiphon: “I have been given all authority both in heaven and on earth, alleluia. Go and make disciples of all nations. Go and baptize them in the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, alleluia,alleluia. Mt 28:18, 19.
Verse 1: My people, listen to my words with great care: I will explain to you the meaning of events in our past. We will tell our children about the glory and power of the Lord; we will tell of the wonderful deeds he has done. Ps 78:1-2; 4. The Antiphon is repeated.
Verse 2: The Lord spoke and the doors of heaven opened; manna rained down as the Lord fed them with bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels until they were full; God fed his people what they wanted and they were happy.” Ps 78:23-24; 25, 29. The Antiphon is repeated.
Expand the back over to read it.