The Kyriale is a collection of Gregorian chant settings for the Ordinary of the Mass. This collection is included in liturgical books such as the Graduale Romanum and Liber Usualis , and it is also published as a separate book by the monks of Solesmes Abbey. In the Kyriale, the individual chants of the Ordinary are grouped into complete sets, whose title usually indicates the opening of the prosula formerly sung to each respective Kyrie melody. These masses are followed by individual items not grouped with the complete masses. A shorter Kyriale is included in the second edition of the Graduale Simplex.
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Academic journal article Sacred Music. Kyrie IV, named for the Latin text to which it was once sung, "Cunctipotens Genitor Deus, Omnicreator, eleison," is one of the most widely distributed Kyrie melodies. The inventory of manuscript sources of Kyrie melodies by Margaretha Landwehr-Melnicki 1 lists more manuscript sources for this Kyrie than for any other.
Machaut's mass is the first complete mass cycle by a known composer including Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei as a coherent set , but it stands in the context of a wide cultivation of polyphonic music for the Ordinary of the Mass. During the fourteenth century and into the beginning of the fifteenth century, this music consisted mainly of single independent movements, unrelated to each other in melody or mode, much like the chants for the ordinary.
One such a setting comes from the Trent Codices, a set of seven manuscripts copied containing an enormous repertory of sacred music. It consists of three polyphonic sections, Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie. It is likely that these settings were originally performed just as their chant models were, as a nine-fold polyphonic Kyrie, that is, the single Kyrie section was sung three times, the single Christe, three times, and then the second Kyrie, three times.
There are some settings, however, that indicate an alternatim performance--direct alternation between chant and polyphony: Kyrie chant , Kyrie polyphony , Kyrie chant , Christe polyphony , Christe, chant , Christe polyphony , Kyrie chant , Kyrie polyphony , Kyrie chant.
As is so often the case with liturgical manuscripts, well-established conventions are not indicated in the manuscript at all; thus for a Kyrie simply containing a single Kyrie, a single Christe, and a single Kyrie, the arrangement as a nine-fold Kyrie would be left to the singers, who knew well enough what to do. The present Kyrie has such an arrangement, one Kyrie, one Christe, and another Kyrie in polyphony.
Being based upon the chant melody for Kyrie IV, the second Kyrie differs from the first, as does the chant upon which it is based.
My own choir has sung this Kyrie for longer than I can remember, and alternated it with the congregation.
The congregation often sings the nine-fold chant by itself and upon a few important occasions we then incorporate the polyphonic setting in alternation with the congregation. One might think that the congregation would resent having part of their performance co-opted by the choir, but the opposite is the case: this manner of performance incorporates them into a polyphonic performance, something they could not achieve by themselves.
Their singing is most often more enthusiastic on such an occasion than it is when they sing the chant alone. They often comment on this.
There are several ways to arrange the alternation; among them: 1 direct alternation beginning and ending with the chant; 2 direct alternation beginning and ending with polyphony; 3 threefold alternation, i. I have given the first arrangement here, though from what I have given, the others could also be done. In order to make the alternation as clear as possible, I have written out the repeat of the polyphonic Christe versicle. The chant begins with a characteristic contour for a Kyrie--a prevalence of generally descending motion, appropriate for Kyrie melodies, since it suggests a gesture of deference and humility.
Kyrie "Cunctipotens Genitor Deus" Alternatim