Splendor Veritas is a private project to photograph and make available Cistercian chant books (the Cistercians have their own rite and chant, different here and there from the Roman Rite). Most of the books are from the 20th century, some pre-conciliar, some post.
This comes from the Gregorian Institute of Canada, at McMaster University, and includes a vast amount of material from this old English rite. Here’s their summary of the project:
The Sarum Rite of the Western Church developed through the period 1066-1558, and was used throughout much of Great Britain and parts of North-Western Europe. Sources for the Sarum Rite rite exist in a considerable number of medieval manuscripts as well as a large number of printed editions dating from the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Under the rule of Elizabeth I, the Latin Sarum Rite was finally abolished and replaced (in Britain) by the English Book of Common Prayer
. The Gregorian Institute of Canada
is in the process of publishing The Sarum Rite
, containing the full text and music for the Breviary Office, for the Processional, and for the Missal. This edition is being published serially in PDF format. Publication began in January 2006. New installments are published every six months.
Since 2010 The Sarum Rite is also being published in an English edition. The English Performing Edition conforms to the text-style of the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Bible. This Performing Edition facilitates performance by streamlining the rubrics and by reorganizing the material where appropriate. The English Scholarly Edition (in progress) will conform to the text-style of the Challoner-Douay-Rheims Bible, which follows the Vulgate, and will follow the same order as the Latin edition.
This project aims to be both historical as well as practical. Its connection with the living traditions of the Church can be to a great extent understood through the prespectives presented by László Dobszay in his recent book, The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite, London: T & T Clark, 2010.
Another geeky fun resource: The Plainsong and Medieval Music Society. Academic. But seem to specialize in publishing obscure hymns and songs, such as a sequence for a Mass for St. Ursula (and the 11,000 virgins) in the old York Rite.
I also must add it’s so moving to come across versions of still-sung hymns in ancient manuscripts and hear more or less the exact same chant I know come off the page. Here’s a transcription of a version of Vexilla Regis (which friends and I sang at vespers of Palm Sunday) from a manuscript from 16th century Toledo, Spain:
Do be generous and donate to support projects like this if you download or use material from the site! Here’s their donations page.
I enjoy the lectures from Gresham College on the subject of music and history. There are some half dozen by Professor Christopher Page on Gregorian Chant, with singers providing examples. The lectures are full of fascinating anecdotes. Gently academic.
Medieval Music: The Stations of the Breath
Medieval Music: Chant as Cure and Miracle
Medieval Music: The Land of the Bell Tower
There are others, but those I recall in particular.