The Essential Catholic Repertoire
In April 1974 Pope Paul VI sent to every bishop in the world a booklet of some of the simplest selections of Gregorian Chant, much of it drawn from the Graduale Romanum & the Liber Usualis. This booklet, called Jubilate Deo, was intended as a “minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant”. It is, in other words, an official Latin “core repertoire” for the Roman Rite.
It was prepared to assist the choirs and the congregations with familiar and accessible music that would not require much training or competency to sing at the Mass. It also helps to underscore the primacy of Gregorian chant being a staple for the Mass – especially if 1974 would be a time since the liturgical reforms of Vatican 2, that the Novus Ordo would have been introduced to incorporate the verncaular.
Letter to the Bishops on the Minimum Repertoire of Plainchant
(“Voluntati Obsequens“, Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship April 14, 1974)
“This minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant has been prepared with that purpose in mind: to make it easier for Christians to achieve unity and spiritual harmony with their brothers and with the living traditions of the past. Hence it is that those who are trying to improve the quality of congregational singing cannot refuse to Gregorian chant the place which is due to it. And this becomes all the more imperative as we approach the Holy Year of 1975, during which the faithful of different languages, nations and origins, will find themselves side by side for the common celebration of the Lord.
In presenting the Holy Father’s gift to you, may I at the same time remind you of the desire which he has often expressed that the Conciliar constitution on the liturgy be increasingly better implemented. Would you therefore, in collaboration with the competent diocesan and national agencies for the liturgy, sacred music and catechetics, decide on the best ways of teaching the faithful the Latin chants of “Jubilate Deo” and of having them sing them, and also of promoting the preservation and execution of Gregorian chant in the communities mentioned above. You will thus be performing a new service for the Church in the domain of liturgical renewal. The contents of this booklet may be reproduced free of charge.”
Kenneth Wee has been with the SPP Choir since 1999 and is currently serving as the Music Director of the Choir. He conducts the choir most of the time and plays the organ some of the time, while taking care of his two young children all of the time.