THE NEW ST. BASIL HYMNAL (Ralph Jusko Publications, Inc. sole selling agents in Gt. Britain: Chappell and Co. Ltd., 21s, 6d.).
THIS is really a most excellent hymn book. My only cornplaint is that it is as far as I know the first publication of its kind and not a British one.
Pope Pius XII's Encyclical on sacred music urging a " wider participation of the people in all of the church services " has inspired the Basilian Fathers in America to compile this book. Obviously a tremendous amount of care and thought has gone into it.
Most important is the section devoted to service music. Nothing of importance has been omitted : the Ordinary of the Mass, Benediction, Confirmation, a. Requiem Mass, the Litany of the Saints, and many more are all included. There is even the Sacerdas et Pantiles to be sung at the solemn reception of a bishop.
WITH the exception of one simple, unison Mass by the contemporary Canadian composer, Healey Witten. plainchant melodies are used. All are in modern notation with straight forward accompaniments for the organist.
Unfortunately, there are no expression marks, but perhaps choirmasters can impress those essential soft plainchant endings on their congregations.
There is a large hymn section for all occasions, including ones suitable for singing during Low Mass. Four-part harmonisations are given.
It is no good looking for the " old favourites " because, with few exceptions, none of them are there. Instead there is a wealth of words
and melodies, ancient and modern, drawn from countries all over the world.
I can only mention two : Gerard Manley Hopkins' moving translation of Adoro te set to a 16th century French carol melody; the beautiful prayer ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi, " Make me, 0 Lord, an instrument of Thy peace ", set in lovely modern chant by a monk of Gethsemani.
Throughout the print is admirably clear and its size is not cumbersome. There is a cheaper singers' edition with words and melodies only at 12s. 6d., but, purses permitting, the full edition is advisable. L.H.