Why are there "Introits and Anthems" at the back of
The English Hymnal, and what are we meant to do with
The English Hymnal offers itself "as a humble companion
to the Book of Common Prayer", and one of its aims would appear to
be to adapt features of pre-Reformation English rites (notably the
Use of Sarum) to the rather bare essentials of the BCP.
These include the incorporation of Office hymns for use at
morning and evening prayer, and "Introits and Other Anthems" to be
used at points during the eucharist, namely Introit, Gradual,
Alleluia, or Tract (between Septuagesima and Easter), Offertory,
and Communion. The melodies for the latter were obtainable from St
Mary's Convent, Wantage, and were frequently included in the
worship of Catholic-minded Anglican churches.
Since the liturgical reforms of the late 1960s, these have
largely fallen into disuse, to be replaced by responsorial Psalms
and Alleluias before the Gospel reading. Settings of the Great
Advent (O) Antiphons are still to be heard in many of our
cathedrals, while the Advent and Lent Proses can make beautiful
devotions in those seasons, as also the Reproaches and Crux Fidelis
on Good Friday. And who cannot be moved by a good performance of
the Russian Contakion of the Departed on All Souls' Day?
. . . The Introits etc. were sung, depending on the liturgical
elaboration of the parish and the capabilities of its choir, to
either particular plainsong melodies or simple plainsong tones,
which would have taken up too much space in The English
Hymnal. . .
They are still used mainly, but not solely, by churches that
adhere to the BCP/1928/English Missal rites. Sing or say
Rodney Wolfe Coe
Besides the Wantage books, The New Office Hymn-Book
(Novello, edited by J. C. Ridsdale) and The English
Gradual (edited by Francis Burgess) contain music for the
English texts of the propers (the latter only simple tones).
In Series 2 and Rite B, the Benedictus could be sung
after the eucharistic prayer. What was the reasoning, and why has
Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question,
Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden
Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.