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Liber Usualis

The Liber Usualis is a collection of chants for parish use. It was published in several editions, among them 1895 (Dom Pothier's first edition), 1903 (Dom Mocquereau's revision), 1912 (based on the Vatican Editions of the Graduale Romanum and the Antiphonale Romanum) and 1924 (Desclée No. 780), the pagination changing as new chants were added. The publisher, Desclée, changed their serial number each time. It included most of the Graduale Romanum, the principal exception being the weekdays of Lent. It included Vespers for Sundays and feast days from the Antiphonale Romanum, and Matins for eight principal Offices, the only modern edition of Matins. It also had miscellaneous chants for various services such as Benediction. The 1895 edition was based on the 1895 edition of Liber Gradualis, edited by Dom Joseph Pothier. The 1903 edition was largely re-edited by Dom André Mocquereau; it was the basis for most of the 1904 recordings. Under the Vatican Commission chaired by Dom Pothier, the Kyriale of 1905, the Graduale Romanum of 1908 and the Antiphonale Romanum of 1912 reverted to Dom Pothier's earlier readings, with some of Dom Mocquereau's readings adopted for the Mass chants. 

The 1934 edition, Desclée No. 801, was the last newly paginated edition. Pages were added to subsequent editions without greatly disturbing the basic pagination. But even the 1934 printing had one addition. Pages 1357 and 1357 were replaced by pages 1357, 1357v, 1358 and 1358v to include the hymn Festivis resonent.

The 1938 printing had two more additions. Pages 1351, 1352, 1353 and 1354 were replaced by pages 1351, 1351v, 1352, 1352v, 1353, 1353v, 1354 and 1354v for the chants of the Mass of the feast of St. John Bosco. Pages 1633 and 1634 were replaced by pages 1633, 1633v, 1634 and 1634v for the Mass of the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the B.V.M. The 1938 printing is the basis for the LU numeration in this discography. Any page numbers that are found in any later printing are indexed as LV (revised), but there is no particular printing that contains all of these.

After this printing, page numbers were added not with the “verso” terminology but with superscript numbers. The 1947 edition had four additions. Page 262 became page 26212 and pages 2621 to 26211 were added to provide the Common Commemorations of Saints for Vespers. The content of page 1123 was changed and pages 11221, 11222, 11223, 11224, 11225 and 11226 were added for the Common of One or Several Sovereign Pontiffs. Page 1612 was replaced by the new feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary added on pages 1612, 16121, 16122, 16123 and 16124. The feast of St. John Leonard was added to pages 16811, 16812, 16813 and 16814.

The 1950 edition has one notable change: O filii et filiae (LU 1875) is printed uniquely in modern notation with metrical rhythm.

In the 1952 edition pages 1600 to 1606 were replaced by new chants for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, including pages 16001, 16002, 16003 and 16004 added in sequence.

After this printing, page numbers were added not with the “verso” terminology or superscript numbers but by adding capital letters. The 1956 edition had many changes. Pages Lj to Lxcvij were added to the introduction as “Changes in the Liber Usualis” to summarize the ritual changes of March 23, 1955. Credo V and VI were moved into place following the first four Credos, changing all the page numbers from 73 to 94 without changing the contents. (Both LU and LV page numbers are cited for all of these chants.) Pages 279A to 279V were added to provide antiphons and psalms for the Little Hours of feasts below First Class. In the most drastic change of pagination, the new order of Holy Week (decreed in November 1955) changed the contents of pages 578 to 777 to new content on pages 578 to 776 plus 776A to 776Z and 776AA to 776MM. (Both LU and LV pages are cited in the discography with “LU – ” or “LV – ” for chants not found in one or the other.) Page 952 was changed and pages 952A and 952B were added for the hymn Sacris solemniis. The votive Mass of the Christ the Eternal High Priest changed the content of page 1283 and added pages 1283A to 1283D. The feast of Ss. Philip and James was moved from May 1 to May 11; the page numbers from 1448 to 1452 became 1465A to 1465F, and page 1447 was numbered “1447-1451”. The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen (May 31) was added on pages 1476A to 1476H. Chants for the feast of Ss. Gervase and Protase were added to page 1492 with the addition of pages 1492A and 1492B. Chants for the feast of St. Paulinus were added to page 1495 with the addition of pages 1495A and 1495B. Chants for the feast of the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen the First Martyr were added on pages 1583A and 1583B (this is hard to understand, since the feast was dropped from the universal calendar in 1955; but see page Lxxxvi). The feast of St. Pius X was added on pages 1623A to 1623F, moving the antiphon Gloriosae virginis from LU 1623 to LV 1623F. Pages 1675 and 1676 gained additional chants on pages 1675, 1676, 1676A and 1676B. The chant Auctor was added to page 1876, the chant Caelitum was added to page 1879, and page 1880 became 1882, followed by a new Appendix II on pages 1* to 68*.

The 1961 printing (as well as 1962 and 1963) had a few changes. Pages Li to cix replaced the 1955 additions to the introduction as “Changes in the Liber Usualis” to summarize the ritual changes of 25 July 1960. St. Joseph the Workman (May 1) replaced the Solemnity of St. Joseph (end of April). For this new content, pages 1437 to “1449-1451” replaced pages 1437 to 1447 (which was pages 1437 to “1447-1451” after the removal of Ss. Philip and James in 1956). In the Supplement for certain religious orders, the feast of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (pages 1-10 after the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces) was omitted. In the Supplement for the United States, three antiphons for First Vespers were omitted (Fulcite me, Labores manuum, Candor est), changing the pagination and reducing it by two pages.

This account is based on examination of some copies of LU. Please advise the compiler of any errors, oversights or omissions.