Thursday, 13 October 2011

How should we sing Gregorian chant?

Jeffrey Tucker today posted on the NLM the above video comparing two ways of singing the same communion antiphon (Aufer a me.) One is the Solesmes method and the other is the "Rhetorical method" which I have not come across before.

When I visited Talinn a couple of years ago, I experienced chant sung by a group that was enthusiastic for ancient music and interpreted the chant in a way that seemed to have a universal quality in that it would remind anyone of Jewish, Islamic or other sacred music that probably has similar roots. Since then, I have discovered the work of Ensemble Organum and others who also try to recover ancient ways of singing the text. Here is my favourite, the Kyrie Cunctipotens:

Without in any way denigrating the work of Solesmes, I think that in these times when Gregorian chant is being revived in many places throughout the world, it is useful to discuss how it can be interpreted and executed in the sacred liturgy.
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