Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Considering the GIRM I: The Kyrie

In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite the Kyrie is considered to be "nine-fold" that is three times Kyrie eleison, three times Christe eleison and three times Kyrie eleison. There are two times in the Roman Rite, Extraordinary and Ordinary that the people can proclaim in Greek, the other is on Good Friday with the Trisagion, Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, Hagios O Theos, Hagios Ischyros, Hagios Athanatos. This dear readers, is in Greek and is in the Graduale Romanum 1974 for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

But, back to our Kyrie and the nine-fold.

The fabricators (a descriptive used in the Spirit of the Liturgy by Pope Benedict XVI) of the Novus Ordo Missae cut this to a simple response "six-fold." In doing so, they eliminated the awesome mystery of this penitential beseeching in its Trinitarian formula of three for the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity and the symbolism of the chanting of the Nine Choirs of Angels.

Consistently then, the result has been that "Gregorian" Kyries were modified as six-fold. But this was not always necessary. In fact, some of them cannot be done in six-fold as they were musically composed as nine-fold, they were not simple repetitions, for example the Kyrie from Missa Cum Jubilo, Mass IX. The former GIRM permitted this. In fact, the previously referred to Graduale Romanum for the Novus Ordo published in 1974 included this Kyrie. If it was not meant to be sung nine-fold, why as it included? For your information, the signatory in the GM was Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the lead "fabricator!"

Let us look at what the new GIRM approved for use in Canada and elsewhere states with the point to which I wish to draw your attention in bold:

The Kyrie Eleison

52.       After the Penitential Act, the Kyrie, eleison (Lord, have mercy), is always begun, unless it has already been part of the Penitential Act. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy, it is usually executed by everyone, that is to say, with the people and the choir or cantor taking part in it.

            Each acclamation is usually pronounced twice, though it is not to be excluded that it be repeated several times, by reason of the character of the various languages, as well as of the artistry of the music or of other circumstances. When the Kyrie is sung as a part of the Penitential Act, a “trope” precedes each acclamation.

Now, let us be clear. In a Read Mass, the six-fold Kyrie is the Law of the Church and the GIRM is liturgical law. But if the Kyrie is sung in Greek or in English (as there were some fine ones composed for 1965), these can be freely done.

Here then, is the Kyrie from Missa Cum Jubilo, Gregorian Mass IX.

1 comment:

Gabby said...

Was in another parish on Sunday and they were practicing the Dawson Gloria and Kyrie. The Gloria is awkward and not nice but the Greek Kyrie sounded very familiar. At this point I'm not sure I can trust my memory -- not sure if it's familiar because it sounds like the one I remember from childhood or if it sounds familiar because it's similar to the Kyrie in Enigma's "Mea Culpa".