Rorate Caeli

1934 Solesmes' Antiphonale Monasticum now fully available online

Our friends at Corpus Christi Watershed send us the news presenting the new addition to his amazing Sacred Music online library: for the first time on the web, the 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum pro diurnis horis of Solesmes.


The 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum, 1,296 pages long, is believed to have been primarily the work of Dom Joseph Gajard (1885-1972) of Solesmes. Its melodies often differ from the 1912 "Vaticana" Antiphonale Romanum, whose foundation was a 1891 publication by Dom Pothier (which can also be downloaded). Gajard removed many flats, restored some Tritones, and added several expressive neums not included in the Vatican Edition. Perhaps most striking are the Psalm tone variations, including an option to place the Mode III reciting tone as "b" instead of "c." Some did not favor such restorations; in 1960, Msgr. Francis Schmitt complained that Gajard's book "is proof the archaeologists never gave up"...!

The renowned Solesmes audio recordings often prefer the 1934 variants to Pothier's Vaticana. For instance, Gajard's recording of that glorious Gregorian hymn "A Solis Ortus Cardine" uses the monastic version. In general, the 1934 edition tends to favor the more ancient manuscripts, although scholarly consensus continues to vacillate. For example, the "original" reciting tone for the eighth Mode was not restored, although 27 years earlier Dr. Peter Wagner had said this point was "undisputed by any student of chant." On the other hand, some of the best scholars are now moving away from "b" in Mode III, calling the evidence "not overwhelming." In any event, Gajard's work has never lost favor among chant advocates, and he is to be commended for following the example of Pothier, allowing his editorial work to be guided not only by solid scholarship, but also by his supremely refined artistic sense. The entire work, a masterpiece, was beautifully typeset by his fellow Solesmes monks with their usual painstaking attention to detail.

The work is available as 3 large pdf files - thanks to Jeffrey Ostrowski:

Part 1 of 3 • pp. 1 – 363
Part 2 of 3 • pp. 364 – 763

Part 3 of 3 • pp. 764 – 1,296