Liber Brevior : The Shorter Book
Everyone familiar with singing Gregorian Chant knows about the big book called the Liber Usualis. It has been the standard book for chant since around 1904 when it first came out. It contains almost everything one would need to sing the Divine Office as well as the daily and Sunday Masses. But it is a very large and heavy book. Moreover, the Liber Usualis costs around $100. Certainly this book is a must for those who chant the Divine Office in choir. But what about the average traditional choirs in churches, chapels, and schools? Enter in the shorter book called the Liber Brevior. In response to the demand of some for a book that would include the ordinary sung portions of the Mass (Kyrie, etc.) as well as the daily changing parts (the propers), the Desclée publishing house in Belgium and the Gregorian Institute of America in 1954 came out with the Liber Brevior to meet the needs of those who wished to sing Gregorian Chant, but did not need those parts pertaining to the Divine Office. We at PCP have reprinted this book to the exact specifications of the original. As a matter of fact, even the two ribbons are the same color as the original edition. The size, cover texture and red edges all match the original to such a degree that it would be hard to tell the difference between an original Liber Brevior and our reprinted version.
We did add, however, a feature that the original version did not have. It is a supplement with five Masses that were not included in the 1954 edition – St. Joseph the Worker, the Queenship of Mary, St. Pius X, the North American Martyrs & Our Lady of Guadalupe. And we updated the moveable feast chart that goes up to the year 2041.
This book also includes a unique feature that will be a most appreciated aspect among those choirs not so proficient in singing the complete propers of the Mass. In the back section of the book there is another set of Graduals, Alleluias and Tracts in a simpler Gregorian Chant tone arrangement of the same music.
Indeed, we have sold about 200 of these books in the pre-publication period while waiting for it to be completed. A school and various chapels and individuals have all expressed their satisfaction with this book, since it makes Gregorian Chant more accessible and more affordable to all who may want to learn and participate in singing. No longer does one have to take out a loan to get a book that contains all the essentials for everyday Chant singing. And teachers will love this book since it does away with having to photocopy pages for students, since each student can have his or her own copy.
We think this book will help restore the beauty of singing Gregorian Chant in many chapels and churches throughout the country.
2011 766p [reprint of 1954 ed] 7.5” x 4.87” x .87” Gregorian notation / English rubrics / Bible paper / with supplement / hb with 2 ribbons / red edges stock# 89031 $34 + shipping