This Sunday, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Offertory proper ‘Vir erat in terra’ is the annotated prologue to the Book of Job. It is basically Job’s abridged story leaving out animals and child stats and no headstrong wife. If you choose to sing it in English, the marked graphic imagery of Job’s physical afflictions seems to vary between the different translations.
Opt for the most literal translation used in the Abrogast Propers, and Job has as ‘grevious ulcer.’ This version is set to a melody based on Mode 7.
If you choose the Richard Rice polyphonic setting, then you will be singing about Job’s malignant ulcers.
If you pick the Adam Bartlett Simple English Propers then at least you have more verses, so you won’t be left on a dermatological cliffhanger .
And then there are my ‘REALLY REALLY SIMPLE ENGLISH PROPERS’ which I have been producing for the last few weeks in my parish, based on the Rossini Psalm Tone settings. I have used the same translation as the Simple English propers, found in the Gregorian Missal, and Job just has to contend with ‘horrible sores.’
Here is the PDF of my version set to the Mode V psalm tone:-
And therein lies the problem of using an English translation – the interpretation. I think it is very important that Mass sheets for the Propers should always have both the Latin and the English so you have that point of comparison. And the Latin diagnosis? Well, he had ‘gravi úlcere.’ “Is there a doctor in the house?”