Manly chant

A couple of weeks ago, in his English column Sandro Magister ran the text of an interview conducted by Riccardo Lenzi of L’espresso with Domenico Bartolucci, the director of the Sistine Choir who conducted the recent concert for Pope Benedict in the Sistine Chapel. Bartolucci said many things that we would all agree with on the degeneration of liturgical music. However, I noticed one point that is quite controversial.

Lenzi asked him whether the faithful should participate in singing the chant. Bartolucci distinguished between such chants as the Introit and the Offertory which require a "refined level of artistry", and such chants as the Missa de Angelis, the Te Deum, or the Litanies. Then he added this heartfelt observation:
And furthermore, Gregorian chant has been distorted by the rhythmic and aesthetic theories of the Benedictines of Solesmes. Gregorian chant was born in violent times, and it should be manly and strong, and not like the sweet and comforting adaptations of our own day.
No offence intended to the brothers or sisters of the Solesmes congregation but I like the sound of that. Manly and violent chant, eh? Come on Clapham Park if you think you're hard enough!

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