Liber Brevior, with Rhythmic Signs of Solesmes, is essentially the exact same as the Liber Usualis (used by priests, monks, sisters, and seminarians) except that it had been shortened from around two thousand pages to eight hundred. You could say it is the layman’s Liber. The book is perfect for all small choirs that are forming today to be used with the traditionally sung Tridentine Latin High Mass. 766 pages, Hardcover.
Liber Brevior combines two official books of the Catholic Liturgy for the Mass:
1. The “Kyriale” which includes the usual eighteen settings of the Ordinary (Liturgy) of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) as well as certain other music for the Mass (Asperges Me, Sursum Corda, final blessing response, etc.)
2. The “Graduale Romanum” which includes the official music of the Mass Propers (Introit, Graduale or Tract (Liturgy), Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion).
Liber Usualis includes the two previously mentioned official liturgical books plus:
4. Parts of the “Antiphonary,” “Responsory,” “Psalterium,” which are some of the music books associated with the “Breviarium.”
For the Mass, The Liber Brevior incoudes:
- Ordinary portions of the Mass (e.g., the Kyriale as well as the Asperges and Vidi aquam antiphons
- Sunday Masses
- Major feast days of the Proprium Tempore
- Most important feast days of the Proprium Sanctorum (e.g., the Apostles)
- Masses of Our Lady on Saturdays
- Commons of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Votive Masses
- Commons of the Saints
- Requiem Mass, Absolution and Burial Service
- Psalm (simple) tone versions of Graduals, Alleluias and Tracts for not-so-proficient choirs
For the chanted Divine Office, the Liber Brevior includes:
- Sunday Vespers (the ordinary parts but not the proper antiphons, etc.)
- Sunday Compline (completely)
The Liber Brevior also provides additional chants often used, such as the:
- Solemn Reception of a Bishop
- Administration of Confirmation
- Invocation of Holy Ghost
- Te Deum
- Chants for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
- Anthems to the Blessed Virgin Mary, For Various Seasons and Feasts (Advent, Lent, etc.)
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 was published. It contains everything one needs to sing the Divine Office as well as the daily and Sunday Masses. But it is a very large and heavy book. Certainly the Liber Usualis 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 the Liber Brevior.
In response to the demand of some for a book that would include the ordinary sung parts of the mass (Kyrie, Gloria, etc.) as well as the daily changing parts (the propers), the Desclee 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 white edges all match the original to such a degree that it would be hard to tell the difference between the original Liber Brevior and our reprinted version.
We have included a supplement of five Masses that were not in the original 1954 edition: St Joseph the Worker, the Queenship of Mary, St Pius X, the North American Martyrs and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Also we added a supplement to the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for those who want to use this Mass as a votive Mass during Paschal time. And we updated the table of moveable feast up to 2051. More importantly, we tried to correct the mistakes of the original 1954 edition since over the years of using this book we found that the original had incorrect word to note correspondence in some places.Thus our edition is a more correct edition.
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. Teachers will love this book for it does away with having to photocopy pages for students; each student can have his or her own copy.