The Peace and Beauty of Gregorian Chants
- THE HISTORY OF THE GREGORIAN CHANT:
“Gregorian chant takes it name from Pope St. Gregory the Great. Although the tradition proclaims him as the composer of chant, historical scholarship shows rather that he served as the great link between the early Church and the Middle Ages. As such, he symbolizes the chant of the churches in Rome, which spread to England and to Gaul in the seventh and eighth centuries.
With the impetus of Charlemagne (768-814) and his Carolingian renaissance, musicians created new and more elaborate chants. The early development is difficult to trace because all the music was handed on as an oral tradition; nothing was written down even though the repertoire for the Mass and the Divine Office comprised well over 2,000 pieces”
- MODERN PERFORMANCES and revival of the chant:
(Wikipedia) “The monks of Santo Domingo de Silos have been singing Gregorian chant since the 11th century (before that, they used Mozarabic chant). There was a break in the tradition the nineteenth century when the abbey was closed by the government as part of the so-called Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. The abbey was re-established with the help of monks from Solesmes Abbey in France. Solesmes is known for its commitment to plainsong and the Solesmes style of singing has influenced the Spanish monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.
- WHY LISTEN TO GREGORIAN CHANT MUSIC?
Becky Fulton, a student, had this thought: “Since I study Classics and take Latin, I can recognize the prayers and how they roughly translate. However, since the vowels are elongated within the songs, I have to concentrate to be able to make out the words being sung so I can keep the songs in the background without them distracting me as I try to work. But most of the time I am able to easily translate the title of the song and get an idea of what it is about. I also find the songs to be calming not only when I’m trying to study or work on an essay, but also if I want to relax or sleep. The harmonies of the (most likely) monks singing the songs allow the listener to take in the many voices of the of the chorus and enjoy the music.”
I agree with Becky. Sometimes just having the chant in the background is very soothing. My suggestions would be to lean back, close your eyes and visualize something wonderful. Therefore, I share with you this recording FOR YOUR WEEKEND LISTENING PLEASURE: Gregorian Chants from Assisi-Medieval Lauds