Things are looking up. Thanks to groups like Musica Sacra we have more and more resources for accessing the musical treasury of the Catholic Church.

My first book A New Book of Old Hymns was a pale shadow compared to the new Parish Book of Chant and the old Chants of the Church – both of which are available in pdf here. Though my book had the entertaining rounds and the wonderful Stella Splendens, the other books cover the standard repertoire of Catholic hymnody.

Now, before I go down the same path again, it’s time to look out for little pew books. Chant has precedence in the liturgy, but English hymns are handy with youngsters who aren’t up to reading translations as well as sing Latin. There are heaps of great hymns out there. The thrill of finding extra verses to favourite hymns! But then there is the difficulty of distributing matching copies. This is why they invented overhead projectors.

The ideal answer would be to memorise them all.

Until then, there are the little hymnbooks, roughly fifty years old, coming from parishes around the country.

Seeing that there are already great chant books in print, should I therefore focus exclusively on English hymns? The list of English Hymns in the Commons gives a great start along with SATB transcriptions for an organ/choir accompaniment.