Author Topic: Chant  (Read 26530 times)

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Offline San Antone

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Re: Chant
« Reply #240 on: June 23, 2019, 10:11:15 AM »
That's true.

Plus, chant is not limited to the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches have a long tradition as well. Actually, chant is the only form of church music accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy --- and if sung properly by a good choir it's a goosebumping experience, but one best experienced as a whole, ie in conjunction with the liturgy proper, the priest's actions and gestures, the smell of the incense and the church's environment, full of icons and painted walls. In this respect I'm all the way with San Antone: listening to chant in the privacy of one's home might be an interesting and pleasant aesthetic experience but it misses completely its original meaning and sole function, which is to accompany the celebration of the Mass in a communal sharing of faith.

With respect to "classical music", the best-known examples of Orthodox chant were composed by Tchaikovsky (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom) and Rachmaninoff (All-Night Vigils).

I can't speak about Eastern Orthodox chant since I only have experience with the Roman Catholic tradition.  But you have highlighted the kind of thing I am talking about: the total spiritual/sensual immersion of the church service, of which chant is but one part.  I still maintain that chant (and here I can only speak of Western chant) is the greatest sacred music.  I say this despite leaving the Catholic church when I was 18.  But I maintained a love for the music, Catholic music that is, Protestant music leaves me somewhat cold (Bach is an exception).  Palestrina, I think, comes close to chant's perfection.

Offline JBS

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Re: Chant
« Reply #241 on: June 23, 2019, 10:44:49 AM »
Poking around Youtube I found this fairly long one from Solesmes, which was (according to the first frame of the video) recorded c 1930 and/or issued on LP in the early 60s (according to the write up of the person who posted the video)
https://youtu.be/sKm54iQ1i-M

I can't say I find it inspiring or conducive to worship.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #242 on: June 23, 2019, 12:18:50 PM »
Poking around Youtube I found this fairly long one from Solesmes, which was (according to the first frame of the video) recorded c 1930 and/or issued on LP in the early 60s (according to the write up of the person who posted the video)
https://youtu.be/sKm54iQ1i-M

I can't say I find it inspiring or conducive to worship.

This is by someone called Gajard, Dom Gajard, who produced a lot of LPs, he really believed that the melodies were designed to reflect emotions evoked in the text. It would be great to get some of the essays he wrote for his recordings. I found this on the web. You can just about make this out if you enlarge the image and can read French -- it's all about the expression of the music



Unlike you I find it rather inspiring.  Listen, for example, to the Kyrie at 22.16. This seems to me as expressive as some of the best Schubert singing. And in some sense he's working in the same way as Joppich.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2019, 06:44:11 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline JBS

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Re: Chant
« Reply #243 on: June 25, 2019, 04:27:51 PM »
Crosspost from the main Listening thread

A CD from the public library which includes part of this

Meaning Propers from the Masses for Epiphany and for Dedication of a Church
Schola Cantorum of the Benedictine Abbey of Munsterschwarzach
Fr. Godehard Joppich director

To me, this sounds more fitting to a worship service than the extracts from Solesmes I listened to the other day. Most importantly it has a pulse and a pace I found to be lacking in the Solesmes, and more of a feeling of what San Antone refers to as "holy".  The cantorial soloist, however, suffers from a case of the vibratos.

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Offline San Antone

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Re: Chant
« Reply #244 on: June 25, 2019, 05:11:59 PM »
Crosspost from the main Listening thread

A CD from the public library which includes part of this

Meaning Propers from the Masses for Epiphany and for Dedication of a Church
Schola Cantorum of the Benedictine Abbey of Munsterschwarzach
Fr. Godehard Joppich director

To me, this sounds more fitting to a worship service than the extracts from Solesmes I listened to the other day. Most importantly it has a pulse and a pace I found to be lacking in the Solesmes, and more of a feeling of what San Antone refers to as "holy".  The cantorial soloist, however, suffers from a case of the vibratos.

There has historically been some conflict between Roman (which essentially means the Solesmes style) and German schools of chant, with Rome siding with Solesmes.  I found the recording you cited on Spotify and found it somewhat choppy in the phrasing.

I am solidly in the Solesmes camp, and consider them far and away better than any other groups I’ve heard.

Offline JBS

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Re: Chant
« Reply #245 on: June 25, 2019, 05:20:22 PM »
There has historically been some conflict between Roman (which essentially means the Solesmes style) and German schools of chant, with Rome siding with Solesmes.  I found the recording you cited on Spotify and found it somewhat choppy in the phrasing.

I am solidly in the Solesmes camp, and consider them far and away better than any other groups I’ve heard.

Hmm, I think I know what you mean by choppy phrasing, and I had the opposite reaction: I thought it added to chant, not detracted from it.

I did not hear any of the overdiminuendo-ing the Amazon review of the St Gallen recording complained of.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #246 on: June 25, 2019, 08:31:53 PM »
I can’t say anything more interesting about the stuff on this recording other than that I like it. It would be interesting to have the booklet, I’m not at all sure what I’m hearing, how the performing edition was made. Can anyone upload the booklet essay for me?

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #247 on: June 25, 2019, 08:32:54 PM »
There has historically been some conflict between Roman (which essentially means the Solesmes style) and German schools of chant, with Rome siding with Solesmes. 

Can you say some more?
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #248 on: June 25, 2019, 09:10:19 PM »
An few paragraphs by Katarina Livljanid which may be of interest


Quote
CHANT WARS The Carolingian `globalisation' of medieval plainchant

`Between a stream and its source, which has the purer water?' (John the Deacon, Life of Gregory) The emperor Charlemagne (d. 814) is said to have uttered these words when asked to resolve a dispute between his own Frankish cantors and those of the pope in Rome, each group of vocal-ists convinced of its own authenticity in singing. Charlemagne, who was acutely aware of the de-cline of liturgical singing and the many competing chant traditions in his wide-ranging empire, ex-pressed with this phrase his desire to return to the purity of the 'original source', the chant of Rome (but his motives were many-layered: the ideal of Roman authority, expressed in music and the li-turgy, would also aid the emperor in the consoli-dation of his dynasty's legitimacy). This ideal has been voiced by various personalities between the 9th century and our own time, throughout the long history of the liturgical song commonly known as 'Gregorian chant'; used in reference to opposing views of reality, Charlemagne's phrase continues to witness to the fact that disputes about that mysterious ideal—the authenticity of liturgical chant—have never ceased to flourish.

Having been in almost continuous usage in the liturgy, Gregorian plainchant has not always enjoyed the privilege (or should we say the bad luck?) to be considered as 'medieval' music, and thus didn't necessarily have to conform to the ever-changing aesthetic vogues of the re-cently created world of 'historically informed' performance. As a living music shared today by active religious communities, secular vocalists interested in medieval performance practice, mu-sicologists and liturgists, plainchant continues to arouse opposing approaches to its interpre-tation. Nowadays, unfortunately, this plurality of interpretive styles is not always accompanied by a tolerance of divergent musical ideas. The partici-pants in today's aesthetic 'chant wars' surround-ing Gregorian chant sometimes still harbor a latent belief in 'Romanness', in the supremacy of one singing style over all others, and a desire to be the bearer of the unique 'truth'. In our 'Chant Wars' we attempt to orient ourselves towards the other pole of the problem: by considering the plurality of European chant traditions, we may be able to better understand repertoires which, at the beginning of their existence and for hundreds of years thereafter, were transmitted from singer to singer in oral tradition.

The theme of 'Chant Wars' is the legendary 9'h-century confrontation between the cantors of the Carolingian emperors and the various region-al European chant traditions they sought to re-place with their own musical repertoires and vocal styles. This imperial reform of the liturgy and its music arrived in some regions of the vast Caro-lingian empire as a kind of 'cultural revolution', finding in most places an established local liturgy and singing style with which it had to contend.


In the name of Roman authority over liturgical chant—used by Charlemagne for the political purpose of unifying his empire—a number of important local liturgies were eradicated. Of those ancient traditions which managed to survive, we see that each one was preserved in a different manner. Some local styles survived this con-frontation intact (such as the Ambrosian chant, still sung in Milan today), and some remained in use for a time before being forgotten (the Bene-ventan chant of southern Italy); yet others disappeared or were partially conserved as ele-ments of that complex, hybrid repertoire which we today call 'Gregorian chant'. The manuscript sources which attest to the existence of these local repertoires are relatively numerous and date from various periods. The musical traditions which most particularly inter-ested us for this project form the two most mys-terious layers of Gregorian chant: the traces of those Gallican repertoires which would have been the musical 'mother tongue' of the Carolin-gian cantors, and the famous 'Old Roman Chant', the sources for which, paradoxically, date from extremely late periods (11"-13th centuries).

Medieval witnesses to this confrontation (John the Deacon, Notker of St. Gall, Walahfrid Strabo and Charlemagne himself) help us to illuminate attitudes to the vocal and performative techniques and to the astonishing diversity of chant styles in medieval Europe, at a time when chant traditions were competing for ascendancy in the young em-pire of Pippin, Charlemagne and their successors.


Given the fact that we can be guided by only a handful of late written manuscript sources, to-gether with historical witnesses—mostly anec-dotal—to performance techniques, how can we understand and bring to vocal life again the many diversities between medieval Rome and Caro-lingian Gaul?

In this program, the singers of Dialogos and Sequentia join together to present aspects of these contrasts, these musical and vocal conflicts transmitted to us by singers of the Middle Ages. Surviving texts by such personalities as John the Deacon (a southerner) or Notker of St. Gall (a northerner)—included here in order to better illustrate the musical universe of 9'-century Europe—In our approach to these virtuosic melodies, we attempt to ground our work in the information provided by medieval sources, without however neglecting our own intuition as we encounter the finesse of these enigmatic musical masterpieces. Thus we have created varied sonorities, generated by the combinations of groups and soloists or through the utilisation of different vocal registers (and without hesitating to superimpose them like layers of color, or to make use of a woman's voice when the expression of the piece encourages it), and we pronounce Latin in various manners, according to the provenance of the chant pieces themselves. We examine all these factors as we attempt to put in question the delicate borders between Same, Similar, and Different which con-tinue to intrigue us, as a mysterious link with our own roots.

—Katarina Livljanid
 
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #249 on: July 04, 2019, 12:05:51 PM »
I was doing a lethal thing, I was listening to all the versions I could find of a hymn by John Dunstable, Veni Sancte Spiritus. Depressing in a way, not that any are bad, on the contrary, there are none that are less that beautiful, it’s just that to often they’re basically singing C 15 music in the same way as they’d sing C 19 music, and that can’t be right. And there’s this renaissance “sweetness” which creeps in insidiously in all the performances, and it’s not my cup of tea.

And then I came across an extraordinary performance here from, bizarrely , Mary Berry



Now, how on earth does she get at such a distinctive interpretation of the Dunstable? The whole recording seems jam packed with interesting things, a little gem I’d say.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Chant
« Reply #250 on: July 04, 2019, 02:01:43 PM »
I was doing a lethal thing, I was listening to all the versions I could find of a hymn by John Dunstable, Veni Sancte Spiritus. Depressing in a way, not that any are bad, on the contrary, there are none that are less that beautiful, it’s just that to often they’re basically singing C 15 music in the same way as they’d sing C 19 music, and that can’t be right. And there’s this renaissance “sweetness” which creeps in insidiously in all the performances, and it’s not my cup of tea.

And then I came across an extraordinary performance here from, bizarrely , Mary Berry



Now, how on earth does she get at such a distinctive interpretation of the Dunstable? The whole recording seems jam packed with interesting things, a little gem I’d say.

I can't read the cover.  What is the title of the album?

Offline JBS

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Re: Chant
« Reply #251 on: July 04, 2019, 05:35:25 PM »
Here's the Amazon listing


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Offline San Antone

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Re: Chant
« Reply #252 on: July 04, 2019, 09:57:07 PM »

I was doing a lethal thing, I was listening to all the versions I could find of a hymn by John Dunstable, Veni Sancte Spiritus. Depressing in a way, not that any are bad, on the contrary, there are none that are less that beautiful, it’s just that to often they’re basically singing C 15 music in the same way as they’d sing C 19 music, and that can’t be right. And there’s this renaissance “sweetness” which creeps in insidiously in all the performances, and it’s not my cup of tea.

And then I came across an extraordinary performance here from, bizarrely , Mary Berry



Now, how on earth does she get at such a distinctive interpretation of the Dunstable? The whole recording seems jam packed with interesting things, a little gem I’d say.
Some Mary Berry recordings I've been listening to:



The Coming of Augustine



12th Century Chant



Pentecôte à Pontigny, Music in honour of 3 Archbishops of Canterbury

Wonderful singing.

I thought it looked familiar, but was unsure.  However, a few pages earlier, I had posted my reaction to listening to it.  Streaming is such that recordings float out of my consciousness more so than if I actually owned a physical copy.

Offline J.II.9

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Re: Chant
« Reply #253 on: July 06, 2019, 08:55:32 AM »
I can’t say anything more interesting about the stuff on this recording other than that I like it. It would be interesting to have the booklet, I’m not at all sure what I’m hearing, how the performing edition was made. Can anyone upload the booklet essay for me?


https://outhere-music.com/en/albums/dalmatica-chants-of-the-adriatic-a-395/booklet

Offline J.II.9

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Re: Chant
« Reply #254 on: July 06, 2019, 10:58:48 AM »
Some years ago there was an amazing discussion board connected to www.diamm.ac.uk website. Almost all people there were actual scholars who discussed a lot subjects mentioned in this thread like Peres vs Solesmes disagreements. I remember seeing posts from author of book on Codex Chantilly (Jason Stoessel, I think) which I was actually reading at the time! Also, you could find there a lot of rare chant recordings digitized from vinyl. Few years ago there were some problems with funding the costs and it seems they closed it, unfortunately.

Plus, chant is not limited to the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox churches have a long tradition as well. Actually, chant is the only form of church music accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy --- and if sung properly by a good choir it's a goosebumping experience, but one best experienced as a whole, ie in conjunction with the liturgy proper, the priest's actions and gestures, the smell of the incense and the church's environment, full of icons and painted walls. In this respect I'm all the way with San Antone: listening to chant in the privacy of one's home might be an interesting and pleasant aesthetic experience but it misses completely its original meaning and sole function, which is to accompany the celebration of the Mass in a communal sharing of faith.

Let me recommend a french choir singing eastern chant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vya2xSYSz1c

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #255 on: July 07, 2019, 05:20:52 AM »
https://outhere-music.com/en/albums/dalmatica-chants-of-the-adriatic-a-395/booklet

Great! I feel rather embarrassed that I didn’t find it myself.

Recordings like this show how big a field chant is, that the regional approaches to chanting are so wide. It’s like we’re on the boarders of folk music and classical music really. All very interesting and satisfying to hear, but it’s such a big area I feel totally overwhelmed by it.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Chant
« Reply #256 on: July 07, 2019, 06:16:55 AM »
Some years ago there was an amazing discussion board connected to www.diamm.ac.uk website. Almost all people there were actual scholars who discussed a lot subjects mentioned in this thread like Peres vs Solesmes disagreements. I remember seeing posts from author of book on Codex Chantilly (Jason Stoessel, I think) which I was actually reading at the time! Also, you could find there a lot of rare chant recordings digitized from vinyl. Few years ago there were some problems with funding the costs and it seems they closed it, unfortunately.

Too bad.  I would enjoy reading a discussion among chant scholars.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Chant
« Reply #257 on: July 08, 2019, 02:00:00 AM »
Let me recommend a french choir singing eastern chant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vya2xSYSz1c

Interesting find, thank you. The Chevetogne Benedictine monastery is actually Belgian.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #258 on: August 06, 2019, 12:31:14 AM »


Revisiting this this morning I was impressed by the melodies and the rhythms, and the audible commitment of the singing,  but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that the project was so limited. I mean why on earth didn’t they take the opportunity to experiment with different types of realisations, using different types of voices, especially women’s? And most obviously why didn’t they see what happens when some of the music is given some sort of instrumental music before, after or during the singing?

As it is we have what we have, and I guess we should be grateful to be able to hear the music sung at all. And it’s not that there isn’t a fair amount of variety even in the austere Covey-Crump/O’Gorman/Potter approach. But I think  it’s impossible to form a judgement on the value of the music poetically without seeing alternative approaches to presenting it,
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 03:58:35 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Chant
« Reply #259 on: August 06, 2019, 04:45:48 AM »




This is Jeasn Paul Rigaud's essay on the music in Lux Lucis. It gives a glimpse into the way that these musicians work with academics to make performances. Only in French.


Quote
LUX LUCIS ORIENT/OCCIDENT FÊTES ET LITURGIES DE LA LUMIÈRE


Le thème de la lumière irradie le chant liturgique dans ses strates les plus anciennes. La lumière, plus particulièrement celle du matin, est un symbole fort de renouveau et de présence du divin.


La plupart des sources manuscrites qui ont permis de construire le programme « Lux Lucis » proviennent du XII» siècle. Qualifié siècle de renaissance, légataire des traditions carolingiennes, de l'influence byzantine et de l'Orient, le XII' siècle est à la croisée des rencontres. Il est par essence dépositaire de la spiritualité de la Grèce antique où se conjuguent deux visions du monde : l'une platonicienne tournée vers l'origine, la seconde, aristotélicienne, où prend naissance le concept de modernité.

C'est en gardant à l'esprit ce foisonnement des possibles entre passé, présent et avenir à l'aune des grandes traditions monothéistes que nous avons conçu ce programme qui est avant tout un espace d'échange où les temporalités se mélangent sans autre désir que le partage de sensibilités artistiques complémentaires.


Pièce centrale de notre enregistrement, le Gloria de la Missa Graeca (Doxa en ipsistis) participe pleinement à cette liturgie de la lumière. Le Gloria était en effet, dans la tradition orientale, un chant au lever du soleil.


La source la plus ancienne que nous connaissons date de 380. Le Gloria y est indiqué comme chant du matin et repris sous une forme plus courte en louange vespérale. Il s'intitule encore « chant du matin » dans le Codex Alexandrinus, fameux manuscrit de la Bible grecque, copié au Ve siècle. La forme entière du Gloria en grec, Doxa en ipsistis, est pré-sentée avec le texte en latin dans plusieurs manuscrits du IX» au XII» siècles. La restitution musicale de notre enregistrement s'inspire du travail de Michel Huglo à partir des manuscrits de St-Martial de Limoges et de Laon. 2


Les pièces grégoriennes — Benedicat nos / Pax eterna — qui accompagnent le Gloria sont issues de l'abbaye de St-Denis. Elles nous donnent une vision dynamique de ce haut foyer de culture où le grec fut chanté jusqu'au XII» siècle, tel un souvenir de l'héritage byzantin dans le monde latin d'Occident. Le répons nocturne Occidentem emprunté à l'office de la Couronne d'épines provient d'un manuscrit du XIII» siècle. Il a été choisi en raison du caractère théoso-phique de son contenu : l'Orient comme source de lumière. Le long mélisme final sur le mot « largiens » n'est pas sans évoquer les somptueuses pièces de l'ancien répertoire gallican. Comment évoquer l'influence orientale du chant liturgique sans faire appel aux répertoires ambrosien — Lux lucis / Lux orta est (réinterprété par Georges C. Abdallah avec cet art de la note tenue et du legato propre à la psalmodie du Moyen-Orient), Lux Lucis, et vieux-romain (Alleluia Epi si) qui attestent de la richesse de l'ornementation vocale et du faste des offices antérieurs à la globalisation carolingienne.

 L'essentiel des polyphonies du programme sont issues du répertoire aquitain des manuscrits de l'abbaye St-Martial de Limoges : Orienti oriens / Lux refulget / Rex Salomon. Nous avons choisi d'interpréter cette dernière pièce sous la forme d'un dialogue où monodie et polyphonie se répondent afin d'en accentuer le caractère didactique et la force émotionnelle qui s'en dégage. Puissante abbaye, St-Martial est jusqu'au XII» siècle un haut lieu de création poétique et musicale, également héritière de la culture grecque. Le thème de l'Orient et de la lumière sont récurrents dans les versus polyphoniques qui lui sont attribués. Ils témoignent d'un souffle nouveau dans la tradition du chant monastique paraliturgique. Le duplum de l'antienne Occurunt turbae a été écrit dans l'esprit de ces versus polyphoniques non mesurés. L'Alleluia Dies sanctificatus appartient également au répertoire aquitain ; il a été pour nous l'occasion d'une belle rencontre entre Taghi Akhbari et Stephan Olry, mettant en lumière le contraste et la complémentarité de l'expression vocale propre aux deux traditions que sont le chant persan et le chant grégorien. Les deux conduits polyphoniques, Novi sideris / 0 Maria stella maris, proviennent de manuscrits du XIII' siècle. Ils sont écrits dans le style de l'École de Notre-Dame, avec cette particularité d'appartenir au répertoire anglais. Nous avons choisi de traiter ces deux pièces insulaires dans un style à la frontière entre le rythme mesuré (mensurabilis) et non mesuré (immensurabilis) ; concepts chers aux théoriciens de la musique du Xllle siècle, en par-ticulier Jean de Garlande connu pour son traité De mensurabili musica.

 
Dans le répertoire du Moyen-Orient, nous avons choisi un poème du grand mystique perse Shahab al-Din Sohrawardi (1155-1191). Ce texte est ici porté par l'improvisation de Taghi Akhbari (Rencontre amoureuse). Influencée par celle d'Avicenne, sa philosophie de l'Orient (Ishraq) renouvelle la mystique de l'illumination issue de l'ancienne Perse.

Cette même mystique de la lumière est véhiculée durant tout le Moyen Âge occidental par les traducteurs arabes de Plotin sous la forme du texte faussement intitulé la « Théologie d'histote ». Ainsi, la « théosophie de la lumière » inspirée de la tradition néoplatonicienne, irrigue aussi bien les chants sacrés des grandes abbayes d'Occident que les odes mystiques de la tradition spirituelle du Moyen-Orient, chantées dans les khanqas, ces « couvents » soufis où Shahab al-Din Sohrawardi aimait tant assister aux séances de danse et de musique.

Dans l'espace que chaque être humain accorde à la spiritualité, les traditions du chant grégo-rien, byzantin et perse se rejoignent en un lieu : celui de la lumière renaissante.


1 Jacques Verger, La Renaissance du XIP siècle, Paris, Cerf, 1996. Voir également le merveilleux texte de Simone Weil sous le pseudonyme d'Émile Novis écrit en 1943, Le Génie d'Oc, Œuvres, Gallimard, coll. Quarto, 1999 / Byzance l'Empire de mille ans, In : L'Histoire n° 80, Hors-série 2018.

2 Michel Huglo, Les chants de la Missa Greca de Saint-Denis, dans Essays presented to Egon Wellesz, Oxford, Clarendon press, 1966, p. 74-79. Gunilla Iversen, Corpus Troporum XII, Tropes du Gloria, Volume 1, Stockholm, Studia Latina Stockholmiensia 61, 2014.

3 Olivier Cullin, Penser la musique au XI1P siècle, In : Médiévales n°32, p. 21-30, 1997.

4 Henry Corbin, En Islam iranien. Aspects spirituels et philosophiques, tome II. Sohrawardï et les Platoniciens de Perse, Collection Tel (n° 190), Gallimard, Paris, 1991.

For anyone interested (and I am given Rigaud's praise "le merveilleux texte" and that  despite a certain antipathy to the author (who has always seemed a bit too right wing too me), Simone Wiel's essay is available as a cheap amazon download,


https://www.amazon.co.uk/G%C3%A9nie-dOc-Connaissances-French-ebook/dp/B012TH08RG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=genie+d%27oc&qid=1565098737&s=gateway&sr=8-1
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 04:48:56 AM by Mandryka »
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