A great prayer exercise for those involved in sacred music is to meditate on the texts of the propers (the changing prayers of the Mass) using the chant.
The western chant repertoire of the Church is an amalgamation of chants belonging to the different western rites, the final corpus being delineated by Pope Gregory the Great in the late 9th Century- giving it the nickname ‘Gregorian Chant.’ It would be a mistake to think that this is the beginning of the chant repertoire- the same mistake as thinking that the Tridentine Mass originates from the Council of Trent which simply codified and standardised the Latin Rite which can be traced back to the Apostles. Continue reading “Exaudi Domine, V Sunday after Pentecost”
1. Although every organist should aim to accompany chant directly from the neuems, the following link contains full Nova Organi Harmonia harmonisations of the Gregorian Ordinaries and Propers and more!
2. Chant Talk– Patrick Torsell, is Director of Music at Mater Dei FSSP Parish, Harrisburg, PA. He has some useful video tutorials on effective chant accompaniment in different modes.
A few years ago I was asked to give a lecture on the development not Sacred Music and its place in the liturgy. I considered writing this up as a series of articles, but Dr Kwasniewski has posted a lecture, remarkably similar to mine but better!
During Advent, the Sacred Liturgy is replete with references to the Blessed Virgin Mary who bore the Word Made Flesh in Her womb. From prophesies about the tender shoot that came from the root of Jesse to chant motifs appearing in the propers, Our Lady is evoked and invoked continually.
Today, I was astounded to learn that the origin of the Hail Mary that we pray so regularly finds its origin in the offertory chant of today’s Mass. I was aware that the ‘Holy Mary Mother of God’ part of the prayer was added later but according to the liturgical scholar Fr Lasance, the first time that the angelic salutation (Hail Mary) and the greeting of St Elizabeth (Blessed art thou among women) were placed together was in the offertory chant of today’s Mass.
This chant dates back to the Gregorian Antiphonary (compiled by Pope Gregory the Great, 6th century) used in the early Roman basilicas which was widely considered to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore untouchable- and we sang it this morning!
The sequence of the Requiem Mass is both an exquisite piece of poetry and a striking meditation on the four last things. It is quite astounding that this prose was supressed in the new Mass of Paul VI and even the tract is replaced with the Alleluia! This is key to understanding the principle ‘lex Orlando, lex credendi’ because this change in the prayer of the church signifies a significant change in belief.
The Dies Irae provides a sobering meditation to us and excites a keen desire to pray for the Holy Souls. May we all redouble our efforts to assist them by our prayer, fasting, almsgiving, indulgences and Masses.
In a lighter note, here is a presentation about the influence that the chant of the Dies Irae has had on popular culture.
Still basking in the graces of the visit of the relics of St Therese to Scotland, we arrive today at her feast day (traditional calendar). As someone who has a particularly liturgical prayer life, I often look to the Mass and the Office for insights into the spiritual complexion of a feast.