GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Mandryka on October 11, 2013, 07:14:51 AM

Title: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 11, 2013, 07:14:51 AM
I know practically nothing about chant, but I know I'm very curious about it. That's  because I really like the Byzentine chant that I hear from Ensemble Organum, on their records called Le Chant des Templiers, and also on the CD called Chant de L'église de Rome.

So if you know any good things to read about the different styles, or some major landmark chant recordings, I'd be very interested to hear.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Marc on October 11, 2013, 10:29:58 AM
My dad knows a lot of Gregorian melodies, but during my personal ecclesiastical youth I was mostly raised with the Dutch language, due to the Second Vatican Council.
My own knowledge is therefore close to zero, even though I do enjoy some fine discs by the same Ensemble Organum.

Anyway, here are some (more or less) obvious suggestions to read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_chant

http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Gregorian-Professor-Richard-Crocker/dp/0300083106/

http://www.amazon.com/Gregorian-Chant-Cambridge-Introductions-Music/dp/0521690358/
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Parsifal on October 11, 2013, 10:55:22 AM
You can try this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ncSdmCR7L._SY300_.jpg)

For real.  As I heard it, EMI was doing a typical re-release of a recording by some monks in Spain and they had the inspiration to put that cover on it, probably inspired by:

(http://www.interiors.intendo.net/magritte/golconde.jpg)

It sold zillions!

There is another story I heard, of the head of EMI classics visiting the same monestary trying to convince the monks to do another recording for Chant II, a followup to the record breaking Chant.  The conversation:

"We'll give you a million bucks to do another recording."

"You don't understand, the purpose of our music is spiritual communion with god."

"Ok, if that's the way you want it, two million bucks!"
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: OrchestralNut on October 11, 2013, 11:00:06 AM
You can try this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ncSdmCR7L._SY300_.jpg)



My sister gave me this CD to me years ago!!  :D
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: HIPster on October 11, 2013, 11:16:58 AM
I know practically nothing about chant, but I know I'm very curious about it. That's  because I really like the Byzentine chant that I hear from Ensemble Organum, on their records called Le Chant des Templiers, and also on the CD called Chant de L'église de Rome.

So if you know any good things to read about the different styles, or some major landmark chant recordings, I'd be very interested to hear.

As you are already familiar with Ensemble Organum, this is an outstanding release:



I rate this disc as my favorite of all of the Ensemble Organum releases I have; a must-own imo.

The group Capella Romana is also outstanding and they have many releases of Byzantine chant.  A good place to start is this sampler:

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Drasko on October 11, 2013, 11:55:33 AM
So if you know any good things to read about the different styles, or some major landmark chant recordings, I'd be very interested to hear.

I'd like to read something accessible as well, I hope Tassos will chime in with some recommendations.

From little that I know musical theory behind chant and its different versions is actually quite complex. All chant is based on modes, but Byzantine modes are different than Gregorian. Byzantine chant is based on Octoechos, which is system of eight modes. There are some very detailed articles on octoechos on wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papadic_Octoechos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagiopolitan_Octoechos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neobyzantine_Octoechos
http://www.newbyz.org/byzantine_octoechos_chart.pdf

As to the recordings. For 'standard' Byzantine chant best secular group is Greek Byzantine Choir under Lycourgos Angelopoulos, also there are monastic choirs best of which are of Vatopedi and Simonopetra Monasteries, the latter is I believe most often and best recorded.

Ensemble Organum under Marcel Peres is mostly concentrated on pre-Gregorian western chants, like Old Roman, Milanese, Mozarabic ... for which Peres's theories that they should sound much closer to Byzantine (sung in Latin of course) than to Gregorian created quite a stir back in its days.

Then you have Middle Eastern chants which are more or less basically Byzantine but sung in Arabic, like Melkite and Maronite. You can find them on Sister Marie Keyrouz recordings.

Then all Slavic chant styles that developed from Byzantine but are sung in Church Slavonic - Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian... 

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 13, 2013, 12:16:49 AM
I'd like to read something accessible as well, I hope Tassos will chime in with some recommendations.

From little that I know musical theory behind chant and its different versions is actually quite complex. All chant is based on modes, but Byzantine modes are different than Gregorian. Byzantine chant is based on Octoechos, which is system of eight modes. There are some very detailed articles on octoechos on wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papadic_Octoechos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagiopolitan_Octoechos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neobyzantine_Octoechos
http://www.newbyz.org/byzantine_octoechos_chart.pdf

As to the recordings. For 'standard' Byzantine chant best secular group is Greek Byzantine Choir under Lycourgos Angelopoulos, also there are monastic choirs best of which are of Vatopedi and Simonopetra Monasteries, the latter is I believe most often and best recorded.

Ensemble Organum under Marcel Peres is mostly concentrated on pre-Gregorian western chants, like Old Roman, Milanese, Mozarabic ... for which Peres's theories that they should sound much closer to Byzantine (sung in Latin of course) than to Gregorian created quite a stir back in its days.

Then you have Middle Eastern chants which are more or less basically Byzantine but sung in Arabic, like Melkite and Maronite. You can find them on Sister Marie Keyrouz recordings.

Then all Slavic chant styles that developed from Byzantine but are sung in Church Slavonic - Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian...

Can you recommend a Marie Keyrouz CD? Same for Lycourgos Angelopoulos, who's on spotify in some quantity?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 13, 2013, 12:19:39 AM
As you are already familiar with Ensemble Organum, this is an outstanding release:



I rate this disc as my favorite of all of the Ensemble Organum releases I have; a must-own imo.

The group Capella Romana is also outstanding and they have many releases of Byzantine chant.  A good place to start is this sampler:



Thanks for these ideas. I've just started listening to the Cistercian CD, very noble and strong, and there's loads of Cappella Romana on spotify so that's going to be easy to get.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 13, 2013, 12:24:50 AM
One key thing in the world of chant seems to be Solesmes Abbey. What are the key Solesmes recordings? What are their ideas?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Marc on October 13, 2013, 01:35:42 AM
One key thing in the world of chant seems to be Solesmes Abbey. What are the key Solesmes recordings? What are their ideas?

Maybe you'd like to check these out:

http://www.amazon.com/Learning-About-Gregorian-Monastic-Solesmes/dp/1557252920/

http://www.amazon.com/Gregorian-Chants-lAbbaye-Pierre-Solesmes/dp/B008B08L1G/

I listened to some examples .... and went back to childhood years. (My dad had some Gregorian chant LP's.)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Drasko on October 13, 2013, 04:16:27 AM
Can you recommend a Marie Keyrouz CD? Same for Lycourgos Angelopoulos, who's on spotify in some quantity?


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6170uCOCuyL.jpg)
http://www.amazon.com/Koukouzelis-Mathimata-Psalms-Sticheron-Kratima/dp/B0000015NC



One key thing in the world of chant seems to be Solesmes Abbey. What are the key Solesmes recordings? What are their ideas?

Solesmes is I believe considered as some of the finest Gregorian chant. There was a member who was very knowledgeable about Solesmes, Il Furioso/canninator, but unfortunately he's no longer around. I can only pass what CDs he recommended to me Mass of the Dead and Office of the Dead (Solesmes reference SN09) and 3 CD Tenebrae (SN03), both should be available through Abbey's own site.
The beginner CD Marc recommended also looks great.   
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: vandermolen on October 25, 2013, 02:46:36 AM
You can try this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ncSdmCR7L._SY300_.jpg)

For real.  As I heard it, EMI was doing a typical re-release of a recording by some monks in Spain and they had the inspiration to put that cover on it, probably inspired by:

(http://www.interiors.intendo.net/magritte/golconde.jpg)

It sold zillions!

There is another story I heard, of the head of EMI classics visiting the same monestary trying to convince the monks to do another recording for Chant II, a followup to the record breaking Chant.  The conversation:

"We'll give you a million bucks to do another recording."

"You don't understand, the purpose of our music is spiritual communion with god."

"Ok, if that's the way you want it, two million bucks!"

The Magritte painting was also used as the cover for an LP by a little known American jazz-rock group called 'Dreams' c 1970, which I really liked as a teenager. I doubt whether it sold zillions though.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: KeithW on October 25, 2013, 08:56:13 PM
Over the years I have built up a large-ish collection of chant.  I found the following resource a great discography (it's not up-to-date but lists many key recordings):
www.beaufort.demon.co.uk/disco.htm (http://www.beaufort.demon.co.uk/disco.htm)

And I recall once picking up a few good recommendations from a discussion at forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/82/x&page=1 (http://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/82/x&page=1)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on August 15, 2014, 05:06:09 AM
Over the years I have built up a large-ish collection of chant.  I found the following resource a great discography (it's not up-to-date but lists many key recordings):
www.beaufort.demon.co.uk/disco.htm (http://www.beaufort.demon.co.uk/disco.htm)

And I recall once picking up a few good recommendations from a discussion at forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/82/x&page=1 (http://forum.musicasacra.com/forum/discussion/82/x&page=1)

The link here to the Musica Sacra site has proved to be really valuable becauause it lead me to Einsieden, and, as the guy in that forum says, my jaw has hit the floor. Thanks.

I should also thank Karl, for prompting me to not give up on Gregorian chant.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 15, 2014, 05:18:14 AM
Cheers!
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on April 07, 2016, 01:58:02 AM
(https://albumartcovers.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/esther-lamandier-chants-chretiens-arameens-01-cubiertas-16.jpg)

When I was about 10 years old, I found myself in Jerusalem one dusk, walking from the new city to Jaffa Gate. As the light declined, a muezzin started to sing through a PA system. It was a formative waking dream experience for me. Anyway, that memory came back in an involuntary way through listening to this extraordinary recording  of Armenian chant by Esther Lamandier, whose voice seems to be full of purity and intensity, oneiric  like that Palestinian muezzin.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on April 07, 2016, 03:30:21 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81no6XxnTaL._SX522_.jpg)

Chants de L'Eglise Milanaise, Ensemble Organum. I'm not sure what the music in this CD is, I don't know very much about Catholicism. It is not a mass as far as I can see. I believe it is inspired by a church tradition according to which Christians in Milan sang in an eastern way.

It is beautiful and complicated music. An old review in gramophone talks of "calm", but in fact the music is dramatic, strong, "soulful",  full of harmonic twists and turns which are, for me, surprising. I don't have the concepts to say more.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on April 07, 2016, 09:17:56 PM




You can hear the influence of this style of singing on Ensemble Organum's Eglise Milanaise CD. The drones are very effective I think. Another one which seems to be close in style to the EO CD is Lycourgos  Angelopoulos, on this CD

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/715LvtGmlRL._SX355_.jpg)

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Spineur on April 08, 2016, 01:56:41 PM
I am listening to this new release right now in streaming.  The chants from the adriatic are performed by the Kandaros (monks) and the Dialogos ensemble (4 women).  They use latin, slavonic and glacolictic liturgy.  Quite interesting.  I am probably going to buy this release.
I have also added a previous release by the Dialogos ensemble which received glowing reviews
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Spineur on April 08, 2016, 02:59:35 PM
Other traditional chants coming from the byzantine 10th century liturgies can be found in Albenia and Corsica.  There were a number of greek communities that settled there at the fall of Constantinople.  They developped their own variants of polyphonic chant mixed with popular traditions.  I am quite familiar with what you find today in Corsica.  Perhaps the most genuine ensemble if Barbara Furtuna.  This ensemble os anyway a favorite of mine.  You can find them on soundclound and Youtube.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Artem on April 08, 2016, 03:36:29 PM


I am a big fan of that disk.

Also i like this disk by Vox Silentii a lot featuring three female singers:
(http://is5.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Music/v4/48/4e/47/484e47b4-f877-f35b-d982-dd90328d6786/source/300x300bb.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: aligreto on April 09, 2016, 02:05:59 AM
I know next to nothing about Chant other than the fact that I do enjoy listening to it from time to time. The only contribution that I can make is this offering from the Tallis Scholars with a particular type of Chant....


(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0001/061/MI0001061418.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on April 09, 2016, 05:20:41 PM
In addition to plainchant, this CD also includes early polyphonic forms such as conductus, organum, etc.--music attributed to Leonin and Perotin. However, it is very captivating and beautiful, especially with the vast acoustic of the church. I highly recommend:

(http://cdn.naxos.com/SharedFiles/images/cds/others/8.557340.gif)


Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Drasko on April 14, 2016, 03:40:54 AM
There is a decent amount of uploads of full CDs of Greek monastic choirs of Mount Athos on youtube. Actuall CDs are generally difficult to find, and youtube sound is quite decent. These are all studio recordings I think.

Simonopetra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AQThtMIUBM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdHUKmcOYbc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47KWgFoDVhU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjbhgXP2l_8

Vatopaidi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLBIG3EUHWs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyRNczwL2kA
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on April 14, 2016, 11:39:04 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/091/MI0003091947.jpg)

This 11th Century Christmas mass reconstruction by ensemble organum is turning into a favourite. It's very austere - OVPP I think, so max four voices, even in the monophonic chant, and  no instruments. But the polyphonic music is far from austere!

It was their second  album, the first one being Christmas music again, a century later, and this time from not from Paris but from Limoges

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41BNKG25ZVL.jpg)

For some reason I just can't explain, this one has had less of an impact on me, apart from one song which is a real knockout - called O homo coruit.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Spineur on April 16, 2016, 10:26:52 AM
In the orthodox liturgy, the use of musical instruments is forbidden.  There are two exceptions: the Armenian orthodox church tolerates a modest use of the organ and the the Ethiopian church uses drums.  Because of the absence of instruments, the chorus takes the role and this can lead to some pretty elaborate polyphony.  In some orthodox liturgies, there can be solo voices, giving the upper melodic line.  This is the case in the orthodox music from the adriatic (mostly Serbian) which I actually bought (see below).  The melodic line is without any vibrato and blends very well with the chorus.  In the recordings of St John Chrysostom liturgies that I have, this upper melodic line is absent, and the polyphony develops between the different choruses.  This is also the case in the examples posted by Draško.

Anyway Divna Ljudojevic voice is that of an angel and the work she has been doing with the Melodi and the dialogos ensembles is admirable.  Although it is religious,  this music is absolutely captivating, and when I am listening no other activities can induce any letdown of attention. Amazing.

He is a youtube portion of this CD.  Its really worth it
https://www.youtube.com/v/bXOGNYwSkSY

 

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 20, 2018, 10:00:22 PM
English translation of Guido’s Micrologus

https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/9888/LaDuke_Leone_Bernice_ba1943.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 25, 2018, 12:17:58 AM
(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/images/records/heraldhavp151.jpg?1285153951)

Does this CD comtain music from The Winchester Troper? Is it true that the Winchester Troper contains the earliest known notated western vocal polyphony?

But then what about the polyphonic stuff here?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71MW7BqlfYL._SX522_.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Draško on September 25, 2018, 02:38:43 AM
(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/images/records/heraldhavp151.jpg?1285153951)

Does this CD comtain music from The Winchester Troper? Is it true that the Winchester Troper contains the earliest known notated western vocal polyphony?

But then what about the polyphonic stuff here?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71MW7BqlfYL._SX522_.jpg)

Most likely because even though Old Roman Chant was probably in use since something like 6th century, and all Ordines Romani, d'Arezzo in Micrologus and treatise Summa Musice from 1200 say that the drone like organum (in a manner of Byzantine Ison, though Peres claims that it is possible that Ison came to Byzantines from Roman chant via Venice and its holdings in Greece) called in Summa Musice diaphona basilica was part of the Roman Chant tradition as early as 7th or 8th century there are just very few surviving sources, oldest manuscript of which is from 1071, which makes it younger than the Winchester Troper, dated at beginning of 11th century.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 25, 2018, 02:55:42 AM
Peres on the history of chant from the Chants de l'eglise de Rome CD

Quote
A short historical summary: (2)
At the end of the eighth century, the Frankish kings began to become conscious of their role in protecting the papacy. Pippin the Short, followed by his son Charlemagne, realised that the importation of the Roman liturgy would be a fantastic tool for establishing their legitimacy and culturally unifying a vast and disparate empire. Moreover, in the eyes of the Carolingians, the chant of Rome seemed to be the best preserved musical monument of the Graeco-Latin culture which they wished to revive at all costs. Conscious of the disaster that the loss of the knowledge of the ancients would represent, Charlemagne surrounded himself with scholars and artists who collected what they could of the artistic and scientific remains of Antiquity and attempted to breathe new life into them. The music of Rome was one of the key implements of this Renaissance. The musical terminology elaborated in Carolingian learned circles borrowed numerous terms from Greek theory, which the Franks discovered through the intermediary of the Romans. Thus the Carolingians developed a sensation of being a living part of a certain form of culture whose expression, according to ancient tradition, was Greek. As a result they acquired a degree of legitimacy which buttressed them in their attempts to forge relations with Constantinople. However, it was necessary to adapt the Roman liturgy to the new liturgical preoccupations which took shape in the course of the ninth century. Successive reforms, and a certain crossbreeding with the old Gallican traditions, resulted in a transformation of the former Roman chant. From this emerged a new dialect known today as 'Gregorian chant'. This chant spread through the Western empire and returned to Rome around the end of the eleventh century, gradually taking the place of the older repertoire from which it was derived. Old Roman chant, whose origins dated back to before the sixth century, continued to exalt the papal liturgy at St Peter's and in the great Roman basilicas until the end of the thirteenth century. The installation of the papacy in Avignon dealt it a fatal blow, and all trace of it was lost in the early fourteenth century, when it ended up being supplanted by the chant now called 'Gregorian'. Like Milanese and Beneventan chant, the other two older Latin repertories, Old Roman chant is situated at the turning point between the music of Graeco-Latin antiquity and that of the Middle Ages. It testifies to a time when the Eastern and Western Churches communed in cultural and spiritual unity.


This programme illustrates the different musical genres in use in the Roman Mass. The chants known as Propers' are specific to a particular liturgical time. These are the Introit, the Gradual, the Alleluia, the Offertory, and the Communion. To these are added the chants known as 'Ordinary', here a Kyrie. The art of reading is illustrated by a Gospel sung in the manner still in force in the Eastern churches, whose tetrachordal musical structure is characteristic of ancient Greek music.


For this recording we have used the oldest Roman chant manuscript. It is dated 1071, and is today preserved in the extraordinary collection of the Fondation Martin Bodmer at Cologny (Geneva).(3)

One must imagine this music in the context of the great Roman liturgies of the first millennium. The glimmer of the candles which makes the colours of the mosaics flicker on the walls, ceiling and the floor of the basilicas, the movements and the static positions of the officiants, the long periods of silence. This music is founded on the art of cantillation, that is to say the act of proclamation and transmission of the sacred texts. On the most solemn feast days, the words were drawn out to extreme lengths so that the faithful might better absorb the meaning they convey. Through the magic of music, sung texts become icons. Time is deployed with sovereign slowness in order to give contemplation all the space it needs and allow consciousness genuinely to settle into the encounter with the Word. The use of the drone, the note held by the lower voices — a form of polyphonic chant then called basilical organum — confers on the sound a hieratic immanence in which time and space are united in a single vibrant truth.


Old Roman chant occupies a central position in the history of music. It is the keystone which gives meaning and coherence to what ought to be the musical consciousness of Western Europe and far beyond. For, looking back to the period before, it gives us the key to the filiation between the chant of the Temple of Jerusalem and the heritage of Greek music. Looking forward in time, it enables us to follow and understand the treasures of Koranic cantillation. Outside certain extremely restricted musicological circles, this repertory is today unknown to musicians, ecclesiastics, and the general public. Yet it offers us the oldest version of Graeco-Latin music of Late Antiquity, and represents the missing link between Byzantine, Coptic, Armenian, and Syrian chant, Arab music, and Western music.
Marcel Peres


Notes (1) The 'hours' referred to here correspond to the system practised in the ancient world. The day is divided into twelve hours, from sunrise to sunset, and the night is similarly divided into twelve hours. The duration of the hour varies each day according to the angle of inclination of the earth towards the sun. At the beginning of winter, the hours of night are much longer than the hours of day, while the reverse is true in summer.
(2) For more detailed account of the historiography of this repertory and the problems of musical interpretation, readers of French are directed to our two works published by Desclee de Brouwer in the series Texte et Voix': - Marcel Peres and Jacques Cheyronnaud, Les voix du Plain-chant (2001); - Marcel Peres and Xavier Lacavalerie, Le chant de in memoire, ensemble Organism 1982-2002 (2002). (3) Our three earlier recordings devoted to the chant of the Church of Rome (HMC 901218, HMC 901382, HMC 901604) used the Latin manuscript 5319 of the Vatican Library. Only five manuscripts of Old Roman chant have been preserved. Aside from that of the Fondation Martin Bodmer, which dates from the eleventh century, the others are from the twelfth century. In the thirteenth century the old liturgical chant books were burnt by the Franciscans, who imposed the Romano-Frankish breviary in the papal chapel.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 25, 2018, 02:57:47 AM
Most likely because even though Old Roman Chant was probably in use since something like 6th century, and all Ordines Romani, d'Arezzo in Micrologus and treatise Summa Musice from 1200 say that the drone like organum (in a manner of Byzantine Ison, though Peres claims that it is possible that Ison came to Byzantines from Roman chant via Venice and its holdings in Greece) called in Summa Musice diaphona basilica was part of the Roman Chant tradition as early as 7th or 8th century there are just very few surviving sources, oldest manuscript of which is from 1071, which makes it younger than the Winchester Troper, dated at beginning of 11th century.

yes after I posted I read Peres's essay for the Chants de Rome CD where he mentions the 1071 manuscript.

What I'm really curious about is why in the Gregorian tradition as we know it, there's so little polyphonic singing, why it took so long for polyphony to become a part of the liturgy in the west. In that essay I just posted Peres says something quite interesting which is maybe helping me to understand what's going on in chant, viz

Quote
This music is founded on the art of cantillation, that is to say the act of proclamation and transmission of the sacred texts. On the most solemn feast days, the words were drawn out to extreme lengths so that the faithful might better absorb the meaning they convey. Through the magic of music, sung texts become icons. Time is deployed with sovereign slowness in order to give contemplation all the space it needs and allow consciousness genuinely to settle into the encounter with the Word. The use of the drone, the note held by the lower voices — a form of polyphonic chant then called basilical organum — confers on the sound a hieratic immanence in which time and space are united in a single vibrant truth.



what is "hieratic immanence"?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Draško on September 25, 2018, 04:20:44 AM
What I'm really curious about is why in the Gregorian tradition as we know it, there's so little polyphonic singing, why it took so long for polyphony to become a part of the liturgy in the west.

Catholic church is highly codified institution. I'm pretty sure you can find in church histories exactly when and whyfore.

In the east it's still monophonic, Ison is not considered to be a polyphony.

Quote
what is "hieratic immanence"?


Not sure, especially in that context.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on September 26, 2018, 12:30:07 PM
In the orthodox liturgy, the use of musical instruments is forbidden.  There are two exceptions: the Armenian orthodox church tolerates a modest use of the organ and the the Ethiopian church uses drums. ...

 

Curious fact: The orthodox church of Los Angeles allows for guns fired into the air as well as accompaniment by 20" subwoofer (playing a single tone = 60 Hz). Both guns and subwoofers are difficult to maintain here due to the hideous air pollution, but that is alleviated by additional violence, carjackings, and other forms of stealing.

ANYWHOOOOO, a question:

In various chant recordings, including the Leonin and Perotin I posted above, I regularly hear women and/or high-piched voices singing. Is this historically authentic? I imagine it is because mostly my chant recordings are fairly recent (within last 20 years). In historical times, were these higher voices boys? castrati? women???
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 26, 2018, 07:35:40 PM
As far as I know there’s no indication of absolute pitch in any of the manuscripts of Gregorian chant.

Women would sing in convents, much of the music was written for convents, Abelard wrote for Héloïse’s order, Hildegard wrote for her community. I don’t believe that women would have sung in Notre Dame in Paris, but they may have sung Notre Dame music in their own abbatiale.

No boys as far as I know, or castrated men.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Biffo on September 27, 2018, 12:02:12 AM
As far as I know there’s no indication of absolute pitch in any of the manuscripts of Gregorian chant.

Women would sing in convents, much of the music was written for convents, Abelard wrote for Héloïse’s order, Hildegard wrote for her community. I don’t believe that women would have sung in Notre Dame in Paris, but they may have sung Notre Dame music in their own abbatiale.

No boys as far as I know, or castrated men.

Boys entered choir schools at the age of 7 and plainchant was the first thing they learned. Some choir schools are very old; the Regensburger Domspatzen founded in 975 is the oldest I know that is still active. When he was in residence at the Escorial, Philip II had the boys of the monastery choir sing mass for him every morning. Plainchant has been sung continuously right down to the present day and certainly in the 1950s when I sang it.

Castration of boys was forbidden by canon law and castrati were forbidden from singing in church until one of the renaissance popes changed the law so he could have them sing in the Sistine chapel. The practice of using castrati in church wasn't widespread, possibly not at all outside Rome but I don't know enough about it to say for certain.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 27, 2018, 12:47:29 AM
Boys entered choir schools at the age of 7 and plainchant was the first thing they learned. Some choir schools are very old; the Regensburger Domspatzen founded in 975 is the oldest I know that is still active. When he was in residence at the Escorial, Philip II had the boys of the monastery choir sing mass for him every morning. Plainchant has been sung continuously right down to the present day and certainly in the 1950s when I sang it.



Thanks.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 27, 2018, 05:26:17 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/B3dCOpsxW4pJmdKadJyqnwi5XYc=/fit-in/500x451/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-12026257-1526818285-1842.jpeg.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71x5Vvvex-L._SL1332_.jpg)

Does anyone know the dates of the music on this CD -- I don't have the booklet, I'm listening to it on streaming. It contains some ecstatic chants. I can see from the back of the CD that the manuscript is C16 -- am I to conclude that the music is C 16? Worth hearing.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Biffo on September 27, 2018, 05:44:22 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/B3dCOpsxW4pJmdKadJyqnwi5XYc=/fit-in/500x451/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-12026257-1526818285-1842.jpeg.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71x5Vvvex-L._SL1332_.jpg)

Does anyone know the dates of the music on this CD -- I don't have the booklet, I'm listening to it on streaming. It contains some ecstatic chants. I can see from the back of the CD that the manuscript is C16 -- am I to conclude that the music is C 16? Worth hearing.

This link is to an article about the manuscript, it has a short film embedded. Unfortunately it concentrates on the Antiphonal itself and says very little about the actual music - http://www.smu.ca/academics/archives/the-salzinnes-antiphonal.html

There are quite a few online articles but most seem to concentrate on the Antiphonal as a work of art and historically important artefact. The best I could glean was that the music is from 1550-75.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on September 27, 2018, 06:44:27 AM
This link is to an article about the manuscript, it has a short film embedded. Unfortunately it concentrates on the Antiphonal itself and says very little about the actual music - http://www.smu.ca/academics/archives/the-salzinnes-antiphonal.html

There are quite a few online articles but most seem to concentrate on the Antiphonal as a work of art and historically important artefact. The best I could glean was that the music is from 1550-75.

Yes I had a search as well and came to the same results, I’m sure that some of it is C16, but some of it makes me think of earlier music, of Hildegard, but my response is very naive and informal.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Biffo on September 27, 2018, 06:57:05 AM
Yes I had a search as well and came to the same results, I’m sure that some of it is C16, but some of it makes me think of earlier music, of Hildegard, but my response is very naive and informal.

The abbey was founded in 1196-97 so perhaps the Antiphonal is a compendium of existing manuscripts, some of them quite old. It is frustrating that there is so little information on the actual music. I will have to see if I can find some to listen to though I can't say I am more knowledgeable than you.

Edit: I have found the album on Spotify. A brief listen indicates that it is all chant and so would sound archaic compared to the contemporary polyphony - still no idea when it was actually written. Will listen to some more tomorrow.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2018, 06:24:24 AM
(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/619CFolw-9L._SS500.jpg)

The review in Gramophone says something quite interesting about this challenging and stimulating and at times gorgeous recording. It has to do with the resonant ambience of The Vatican, something which the recording captures very evocatively. Of course it means that in polyphonic music things get a bit mushed up. In fact, it’s so echoey that even monophonic chant is fuzzy, presumably in context the singing appears to come from all over, from out of alcoves and from behind pillars. A fog of words, like T S Eliot’s cat in Prufrock.

The Gramophone review says that this might be a deliberate theologically inspired plan, something to make The Word slightly ineffable, to counter  the idea that understanding The Word is something that is graspable if you attend hard enough - like you might grasp the words of a schoolteacher.

Anyway I thought that was interesting as an idea, at least.

Mary Berry was clearly a bit of an inspiration to her singers, because the sheer variety and intensity of expression that she gets out of them is astonishing.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Biffo on October 14, 2018, 06:51:31 AM
(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/619CFolw-9L._SS500.jpg)

The review in Gramophone says something quite interesting about this challenging and stimulating and at times gorgeous recording. It has to do with the resonant ambience of The Vatican, something which the recording captures very evocatively. Of course it means that in polyphonic music things get a bit mushed up. In fact, it’s so echoey that even monophonic chant is fuzzy, presumably in context the singing appears to come from all over, from out of alcoves and from behind pillars. A fog of words, like T S Eliot’s cat in Prufrock.

The Gramophone review says that this might be a deliberate theologically inspired plan, something to make The Word slightly ineffable, to counter  the idea that understanding The Word is something that is graspable if you attend hard enough - like you might grasp the words of a schoolteacher.

Anyway I thought that was interesting as an idea, at least.

Mary Berry was clearly a bit of an inspiration to her singers, because the sheer variety and intensity of expression that she gets out of them is astonishing.

Sounds like the sort of tweddle you would find in Gramophone. The Vatican and all the other magnificent cathedrals were built to impress, not to mention intimidate. Acoustics were secondary and good or bad by accident. The Word of God was handed down by the Church via a priest not the choir. Even in a good acoustic the words of what is being sung is near unintelligible and pre Vatican II in a language few of the congregation understood.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2018, 07:03:28 AM
The Word of God was handed down by the Church via a priest not the choir.

You may be right. What was the point of chant if not to express The Word?

Does anyone have the CD (I don’t) It would be interesting to know if they talk about The Vatican acoustics in the booklet essays,
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Biffo on October 14, 2018, 07:33:11 AM
You may be right. What was the point of chant if not to express The Word?

Does anyone have the CD (I don’t) It would be interesting to know if they talk about The Vatican acoustics in the booklet essays,

The chant was part of the act of worship, to glorify God not enlighten the congregation. This idea of imparting the Word of God is a very Protestant idea. In large cathedrals the chant or polyphony would have been almost inaudible or unintelligible to most of the congregation. Only those near to the choir ie. the clergy and the aristocracy would have heard very much. A small choir can fill a large building with sound but it not necessarily intelligible sound.

The singing was another part of the decoration of these great buildings and not always there for the glorification of God. When Cardinal Wolsey was Archbishop of York the minster had a choir of just 12 men and boys, not very impressive for such a large building. Wolsey lavished all his attention on his Cardinal College in Oxford. The college had a sizeable choir of men and boys as well as 30 'singing priests'. This was for the glorification of Thomas Wolsey, not God, certainly not for imparting the Word.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2018, 08:08:43 AM
Interesting, thanks for such a clear response. Someone once said to me that they thought that the reason people sang monophonic or heterophonic chant in the middle ages was so that the words could be really clearly understood, but as far as I remember it was just an assertion.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Biffo on October 14, 2018, 08:19:26 AM
Interesting, thanks for such a clear response. Someone once said to me that they thought that the reason people sang monophonic or heterophonic chant in the middle ages was so that the words could be really clearly understood, but as far as I remember it was just an assertion.

I really can't comment on that either way but it seems unlikely to me. The problem is that custom varied from place to place and over time and it is probably possible to find examples to fit any theory. Certainly in a large cathedral intelligibility would be restricted to a very small number. In a monastic situation quite often the monks would be singing entirely for themselves.

After the Reformation, in most Protestant countries, chant was abolished along with the choirs that sang it. Elaborate polyphony was also abolished and great stress was placed on intelligibility. This was certainly the case in England in the reign of Edward VI and composers had to adopt a whole new style.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on October 14, 2018, 08:37:49 AM
Thanks

Unfortunately I've become interested in something which you really need to be part of a university to understand, I don't even have access to a decent library, and I have no contact with anyone working in the field!
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Biffo on October 14, 2018, 08:52:48 AM
Thanks

Unfortunately I've become interested in something which you really need to be part of a university to understand, I don't even have access to a decent library, and I have no contact with anyone working in the field!

I can sympathize. I have always been interested in history and music history has been a growing part of that. I am only an amateur and specialist books on medieval and renaissance music, even where available, are usually beyond my competence.

It is frustrating in a discussion like this when something I have read in the past has some relevance but it is only half-remembered. Quite often the internet is useless - articles come and go and are quite often incorrect. Some learned journals are available online but you usually have to subscribe to them and are probably too specialised.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on November 09, 2018, 09:32:55 AM
A series of five interviews with Marcel Peres here

https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/les-grands-entretiens/marcel-peres-musicologue-1-5-66174
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/les-grands-entretiens/marcel-peres-musicologue-2-5-66353
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/les-grands-entretiens/marcel-peres-musicologue-3-5-66209
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/les-grands-entretiens/marcel-peres-musicologue-4-5-66305
https://www.francemusique.fr/emissions/les-grands-entretiens/marcel-peres-musicologue-5-5-66272

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on November 11, 2018, 11:33:39 AM
A discography of Aquitanian and Calixtine Polyphony

http://plainsong.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/PMMS-Aquitanian-Polyphony-Discography.pdf
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on November 13, 2018, 09:41:27 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VgGz2W8wL._SX355_.jpg)

This was Pérès’ first recording with Ensemble Organum. What interests me most is the restraint of the expression, the accuracy of the execution, the way the edition they use makes the polyphonic and heterophonic music sound harmonically non-tonal, and the sense of inferiority and rapt prayer. C12 polyphony in Aquitaine is something I’m interested in. I know of four recordings dedicated to it - this, two from Sequentia (Shining Light and Aquitania),  and one from an American ensemble called Heliotrope (The Fire and the Rose) which I have just ordered. If anyone knows any others please let me know.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 09, 2019, 10:56:42 PM


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41BNKG25ZVL.jpg)

For some reason I just can't explain, this one has had less of an impact on me, apart from one song which is a real knockout - called O homo coruit.



The song O homo coruit is indeed very special not least because of the way it really takes off at the end. On revisiting this recording the thing that impressed me most was the quality of the singing, their palpable engagement. Pérès knows how to get the best from the people who work for him. In additional to the extraordinary track O homo coruit, I’d single out now, two years later, for its rapt quiet beauty Libri Sapientiae, which is one of the best renditions of this sort of elaborate organum I’ve ever heard, there Pérès seems to me to get his singers to singing modally in the sense of Rebecca Stewart.

In O magnum mysterium Dominique Vellard gives what is possibly the best rendition  of a monophonic chant that I’ve ever heard. It isn’t easy for to perform monody, the singer has nowhere to hide, you have to have a singer with a talent for diction. It takes a Peter Pears to do it. Hats of to Vellard here.

The end shows Pérès’s experience as an entertainer. The long number starts with Pérès improvising  on an organ, I’d say stylishly - it’s well judged in terms of timing, 3 minutes is just right. They get all the singers on for the final set - like in Tristan and Isolde! - which contains a virtuosic soaring tenor line, it must have been a very memorable ending for in concert. I can imagine the ovation.

So I feel much more enthusiastic now for this recording compared with what I wrote two years ago, I guess part of the reason is that I’ve learned more about how to listen to this sort of music.

This image is more informative of what’s going on in this valuable CD

(https://www.massivemusicstore.com/cover/CD3149021311348_02.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 11, 2019, 04:01:39 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/918yX3GvxQL._SS500_.jpg)

Vellard’s version of Perotin’s Viderunt Omnes does not sound like anyone else’s prior to the production of this recording as far as I know. This is no doubt in part due to the choice of manuscript, and of individual clausulae, for his edition. But it’s more profound than that. The most obvious unique selling point  is that it involves a radical re-evaluation of the energy hoquets which dramatically alters the mood of the music. He’s quite bullish about what he’s managed to make of the Perotin’s composition, he thinks that he’s the first to reveal Perotin’s art for its full expressive glory. I was particularly interested in his comments about cross relations

Quote
I believe the factor responsible for limiting recognition of the richness contained in Perotin’s organa quadrupla has been the attempt to deduce the work’s overall tempo from its melodic themes - which are delightfully simple - without taking into account the fascinating variety of har- monies generated at the points where these melodic lines meet, whether on long notes or short. Reproduced below is the passage (conclusion of the vocalization on gentium) at the verse-ending of the Viderunt Omnes [8] quadruplum - an especially moving passage marvelously evoking the mystery of Christmas (musical example on page 13). Thought with a solemn, sweeping movement, this work exhibits a grandiose architectural construction and variety in each section which in no way impede the broad, moving sonority our century’s performers and lis- teners still find so impressive today (see illustration of the original manuscript on page 20).

I’m reminded of a comment by Christopher Page talking about Ars Nova, about the trade off between bringing out harmonic details, and producing excitement - at the time he favoured excitement, Vellard clearly does not.

How much has Vellard’s approach to Perotin been influential?

I think there just may be one recording of the chant which does draw on Vellard’s ideas, and maybe rivals Vellard's performance. It’s by Tonus Peregrinus on Naxos. Tonus Peregrinus too are very conscious of the potential harmonic interest of the music, as a matter of fact they are to my ears more intereting harmonically, less white note, than Vellard. And they make the obvious point, but worth saying nevertheless, that somehow their pace (and by implication Vellard’s) matches the scale of the cathedral itself.

In fact what they actually say is worth quoting   

Quote
above all, we have aimed to adopt a pace and an intensity to match the scale of the building for which this music was written.

It’s that intensity which their harmonic awareness gives the performance. So top choice for me in this four part organum attributed to Perotin, this one by Tonus Peregrinus

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/106/MI0001106318.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 14, 2019, 12:08:29 AM
Useful text on Abelard here

https://books.openedition.org/pur/18406?lang=en#notes

I found it while searching for the words with translation for the plactus De Profundis. can anyone help?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 14, 2019, 03:20:36 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/723/MI0003723313.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I would say this recording of chant and Tallis lamentations from Nigel Short is very superior indeed. I found it in an unusual way. I was listening to a planctus attributed to Abelard sung by Schola Gregoriana Cambridge on this CD

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/976/MI0000976325.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

It is very fine, monophonic mostly, and to get away with that sort of music you need really good, inspired singers. Mary Berry has just that, in particular a bass singer. Now, annoyingly, according to allmusic there are two basses on that recording, John Rowlands Pritchard and Michael McCarthy.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/abelard-12th-century-chant-mw0001811553/credits

I don’t know which of the two caught my attention for having such a wonderful sense of diction and such an expressive timbre at the opening of Abelard’s De Profundis. But searching further revealed that Michael McCarthy is on this recording from Nigel Short.

There is, by the way, another recording of the mediaeval De Profundis from Paul Hillier, which hasn’t quite inspired my imagination as much as Mary Berry’s, it’s on this CD

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/511mfjjNZZL._SS500.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on January 14, 2019, 04:48:56 AM
The best website for information regarding chant is this http://www.solesmes.com/history

The monks of L'Abbaye Saint-Pierre Solesmes have issued dozens of recordings of chant and these can't be beat for this music.  Jerome F. Weber, who for decades was the primary reviewer at Fanfare for early music, is a specialist in Gregorian chant and created a comprehensive discography. http://chantdiscography.com/

He knows more about this music than anyone I've ever encountered. 

He retired from reviewing a few years ago, but for a short period of time we were in contact via email.  He also knows a lot about the Machaut mass, and Liszt piano sonata - both areas we had in common.  I initially contacted him about his ongoing discography of Palestrina masses but we quickly found other areas of interest we shared.  A wonderful and fascinating guy, who I later discovered is a Catholic priest.

https://www.youtube.com/v/qNuJQbLJ-3I

I own the Willi Apel scholarly book on chant - but suggest the smaller more accessible book by Dom Daniel Saulnier, translated by Mary Berry - Gregorian Chant, A guide to the History and Liturgy.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 14, 2019, 07:25:50 AM
Thanks, re Mary Berry, I believe this recording is one of hers.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61TAZH680CL._SX355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 14, 2019, 10:38:46 PM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/723/MI0003723313.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

A quick point about this, which has some of the best Gregorian chant I’ve ever heard. What it’s taught me is that in this sort of chant, the pauses really do matter! it’s the silences in the antiphons which make them so magical.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Traverso on January 15, 2019, 01:39:44 AM
It is striking that the recordings of the Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle are not mentioned. In my opinion they are ideal interpretations, not too academic and with a choir sound that I prefer above that of Solesmes.


https://www.youtube.com/v/Sd5BL8m7Ai4

(https://i.postimg.cc/dVtyqKHR/Fav-2.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on January 15, 2019, 03:52:37 AM
Several years ago CBS Sunday Morning did a segment on the Monks of Norcia (Italy) - here's the CD, which is a very good example of chant.

(https://www.fye.com/dw/image/v2/BBNF_PRD/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-fye-master/default/dw1bfa26bf/aec/dmt/dmtmb0/aec.dmtmb002315302.2_0.jpg?sw=1000)

Norcia is the birthplace of St. Benedict, the founder of western monasticism and patron saint of Europe. The Monks of Norcia, who guard the St. Benedict’s legacy there, lost their monastery and basilica in town after powerful earthquakes ravaged the region in 2016. The monks all survived, but are now working to restore a former Capuchin monastery on the mountainside overlooking the town to be their new permanent home.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 15, 2019, 05:27:13 AM
These are both very good suggestions, thanks for taking the trouble to mention them. The Hofburgkappel people I knwew before because there's a Clemencic CD with them -- I will definitely look into it. Just five minutes with the Norcia people reveals that they are very good at managing the silences, which is good.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 20, 2019, 09:46:33 PM
From the blurb to Marcel Peres's book Les Voix du Plainchant


Quote
Cet essai, fruit d'une rencontre entre un musicien et un ethnologue, souligne l'impossibilité de réduire aujourd'hui le chant d'église au seul chant grégorien, tel qu'il a été consigné au XIXe siècle dans le modèle solesmien. En effet, la philosophie de restauration qui présidait à l'élaboration de ce chant et voulait en faire une expression musicale exclusive à l'église catholique, l'a retranché de la modernité et peu à peu condamné. Partant, c'est toute la tradition des chantres qui a pu réapparaître à la fin du XXe siècle, depuis ses origines juive, grecque et romaine jusqu'aux plains-chants de l'époque baroque, en passant par les polyphonies médiévales et le chant mozarabe. Un art consommé de l'ornementation s'y révèle. Outre sa beauté intrinsèque, il pourrait aujourd'hui, hors de tout soupçon d'intégrisme ou de passéisme, contribuer au renouveau de l'art-lyrique et de la liturgie. Le disque joint au livre donne à entendre des extraits de vieux romain, et des chants de confréries corse et espagnole.

My quick rough and ready botched translation


This essay, fruit of the meeting of a musician and an ethnologist, underlines the impossibility of reducing today church chant to just gregorian chant, as it has been represented in the C19 by the Solesmes model. Indeed the philosophy of restoration which governed the elaboration of this chant, and which wanted to turn it into a sort of musical expression which is exclusive to the Catholic church, has removed it from modernity and has gradually doomed it. And as a result, at the end of the C 20 all the tradition of chanting from its Greek, Jewish and Roman origins to baroque plain-chant, via medieval and Mozarabic polyphony, has been brought to light again. A consummate  art of ornamentation has been revealed. In addition to its intrinsic beauty, it will be possible today to contribute to renewing the lyrical art of the liturgy, while avoiding any suspicion of fundamentalism or a backward looking attachment to the past.

This isn't the first time that I've seen people in early music use strongly pejorative ideas like fundamentalismto sully their opponents views. I myself have been part of discussions where we've likened certain quasi baroque ways of singing early renaissance music to colonialism

I suppose with early music we're right up against the other, otherness, just as the colonists were.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 21, 2019, 02:32:58 AM
From the blurb to Marcel Peres's book Les Voix du Plainchant


My quick rough and ready botched translation


This essay, fruit of the meeting of a musician and an ethnologist, underlines the impossibility of reducing today church chant to just gregorian chant, as it has been represented in the C19 by the Solesmes model. Indeed the philosophy of restoration which governed the elaboration of this chant, and which wanted to turn it into a sort of musical expression which is exclusive to the Catholic church, has removed it from modernity and has gradually doomed it. And as a result, at the end of the C 20 all the tradition of chanting from its Greek, Jewish and Roman origins to baroque plain-chant, via medieval and Mozarabic polyphony, has been brought to light again. A consummate  art of ornamentation has been revealed. In addition to its intrinsic beauty, it will be possible today to contribute to renewing the lyrical art of the liturgy, while avoiding any suspicion of fundamentalism or a backward looking attachment to the past.

This isn't the first time that I've seen people in early music use strongly pejorative ideas like fundamentalismto sully their opponents views. I myself have been part of discussions where we've likened certain quasi baroque ways of singing early renaissance music to colonialism

I suppose with early music we're right up against the other, otherness, just as the colonists were.

It can also be true that in an effort to distinguish his approach, and add "value" to his recordings, Peres is making a specious argument.  I consider the Abbey of Solesmes monks to be the reference standard for chant.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 21, 2019, 03:33:10 AM
It can also be true that in an effort to distinguish his approach, and add "value" to his recordings, Peres is making a specious argument.

Which bit do you think is misleading?

I consider the Abbey of Solesmes monks to be the reference standard for chant.

I think that Peres thinks that the are a reference, not the reference. I’ve ordered the book and will keep you posted about what I find when it arrives.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 21, 2019, 04:09:24 AM
(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/uc/pm/tcyd1z8r3pmuc_230.jpg)

I’m listening to this for the first time and I’m very struck by the overtones, this is modal singing in the Rebecca Stewart sense, which is good.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2019, 05:39:00 AM


I think that Peres thinks that the are a reference, not the reference. I’ve ordered the book and will keep you posted about what I find when it arrives.

I think that may well be to misrepresent Peres's view of Solesmes, which I suspect he sees as irredeemable

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71pdHUl9toL._SX466_.jpg)

Peres opposition to Solesmes comes out rather well in his Compostela CD, in the booklet he writes this

Quote
This music is not easy to perform, even for specialists. One has to bear in mind information from various different fields: palaeography, metric (of the text end of the music), vocal and ritual aesthetics, the material conditions of performance (positioning of the singers, within the church and in relation to each other) — and also have a clear vision of the different relationships that could be built up between the vocal gesture and what was written down All of these are elements that, in the last analysis, can only be transmitted orally. Oral tradition died out almost completely among Catholics after the great reforms of the early twentieth century. A hundred years later, musicians seeking to revive this music still have difficulty in breaking free from the aesthetic canons established at that time, which brought about a radical change in the rhythmic and vocal approach to church singing. Where rhythm is concerned it was decreed (completely denying the evidence of history and tradi-tion) that plainchant could not have a regular beat, the latter being a sign of materiality, which was incompatible with the spiritual nature of such music. Formulated over a century ago, this sophism is still rife among performers of Gregorian 'chant today. As for the voices, all the vocal gestures that are used to express the interpreter's vitality — timbre, energy in the phonation, ornamentation (to bring out the dynamism of the phrase) — were deliberately dismissed from religious singing, suspected of expressing a non-spiritual materiality, conveying the singers' possible pride. Even today most musicians who perform medie-val music are still bound to those conceptions, without realising their origin. (3)

His book, Les voix du plain-chant arrived this morning, I have only read the first ten pages but I feel rather excited to learn more about what he's discovered about Solesnes and the tradition of catholic liturgical music. He is at great pains to explain the historical context of the Solesnes programme, how, as a matter of historical fact, it formed part of a cleansing of the church from, on the one hand, popular musical forms (opera) and on the other, vestiges of the Ancien Régime. And as you'd expect, he has a view of the patrimony of traditional church singing which sees it as diverse, and well worth preserving, rather than as something to be silenced in a fundamentalist way.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 24, 2019, 08:09:20 AM
Mary Berry has written about chant, and the Solesmes historical restoration of it.  Gergorian plainchant was on the path of extinction until the Abbot of Solesmes made the important decision to go back to the original manuscripts and restore it. 

During the 16th-18th centuries, the melodies were compromised: "The emergence of polyphony – which distorted the phrasing, melody and especially rhythm of Gregorian chant – at the end of the mediaeval period, marked the beginning of its gradual decline. After being discarded by the Renaissance and Protestantism, many attempts were made to restore Gregorian chant according to the rules of modern music from the early 17th century onwards. This disfigured, distorted version of the chant lost its purity and power of expression and so ceased to interpret and inspire the Church's prayer as it once had."

However, "It was Dom Guéranger (1805–1875, see bust opposite) who took the initiative to restore Gregorian chant according the manuscripts. The aim of his research and restoration was to publish liturgical books. This major work, which the Church has officially requested Solesmes to undertake since Pope Leo XIII, was accomplished slowly but surely in the musical palaeography workshop at Solesmes. " http://www.solesmes.com/history

I consider Mary Berry more reliable, and think that Peres possibly has an anti-Catholic axe to grind.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2019, 08:30:47 AM
When you say that Peres is less reliable than Berry, what exactly is their disagreement? Is there a specific thing that Berry says that Peres disagrees with, or vice versa? That would help focus the discussion maybe.

For what it’s worth the book is a joint effort by Peres and Jacques Cheyronnaud, who’s an ethnologist of some kind.

Mary Berry was indeed a practising Roman Catholic, though whether that makes her views more or less reliable than Peres’s about this sort of thing is hard to say. I’m inclined to see Peres as the impartial scientific type, and Berry as a religious figure, but I don’t know him and I never met her. I think Berry  lived under some sort of monastic rule, which hardly leads me to think she thought about church matters objectively.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2019, 08:45:41 AM

During the 16th-18th centuries, the melodies were compromised: "The emergence of polyphony – which distorted the phrasing, melody and especially rhythm of Gregorian chant – at the end of the mediaeval period, marked the beginning of its gradual decline. After being discarded by the Renaissance and Protestantism, many attempts were made to restore Gregorian chant according to the rules of modern music from the early 17th century onwards. This disfigured, distorted version of the chant lost its purity and power of expression and so ceased to interpret and inspire the Church's prayer as it once had."

However, "It was Dom Guéranger (1805–1875, see bust opposite) who took the initiative to restore Gregorian chant according the manuscripts. The aim of his research and restoration was to publish liturgical books. This major work, which the Church has officially requested Solesmes to undertake since Pope Leo XIII, was accomplished slowly but surely in the musical palaeography workshop at Solesmes. " http://www.solesmes.com/history



It’s interesting this conception of using philological principles to discover the pure heart of liturgical music. It’s like they want to cleanse the chant tradition of impurities which had incrusted themselves. You can see why people think it’s like fundamentalism.

And you can see why it could be seen as a sort of cultural cleansing, effectively making the living chant traditions which had evolved into a sort of anathema.

I suspect that there were a lot of very contentious decisions made on the way, the devil’s in the detail. Decisions about what is pure and what is incrustation, as well as methodological decisions.  I’m looking forward to finding out more about this extraordinary exercise in cultural tyranny.

Imagine someone saying that the English language needs to be purified, we need to go back to its roots and speak like Chaucer, or the pilgrim fathers. That would be daft.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 24, 2019, 11:39:11 AM
It’s interesting this conception of using philological principles to discover the pure heart of liturgical music. It’s like they want to cleanse the chant tradition of impurities which had incrusted themselves. You can see why people think it’s like fundamentalism.

And you can see why it could be seen as a sort of cultural cleansing, effectively making the living chant traditions which had evolved into a sort of anathema.

I suspect that there were a lot of very contentious decisions made on the way, the devil’s in the detail. Decisions about what is pure and what is incrustation, as well as methodological decisions.  I’m looking forward to finding out more about this extraordinary exercise in cultural tyranny.

Imagine someone saying that the English language needs to be purified, we need to go back to its roots and speak like Chaucer, or the pilgrim fathers. That would be daft.

Your analogy to the English language is wrong-headed.  A more apt analogy would be the kind of Romantic interpretations (abuses) of early music in which they applied inappropriate forces and stylistic choices according to the prevailing 19th century taste/practice, and excusing them based on bad musicology.  The PI/HIP movement has reversed those mistakes, and the music has benefitted.

Gregorian chant had a long tradition prior to the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and what the monks of Solesmes did was return to the original tradition i.e., remove stylistic aberrations not add a new gloss onto the music.  I cannot help but think that part of the reason Peres is critical of Solesmes, is because the basis of their going back to the original sources was religious, and not strictly musical.  Peres strikes me as biased against religious motivations.  And also causes me to question his entire approach to the performance of sacred music, in general.

I also question the specific rationale in this instance, i.e. the  argument Peres makes that he is "saving" chant, when there is ample evidence of the integrity of the Solesmes approach.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2019, 12:31:40 PM

when there is ample evidence of the integrity of the Solesmes approach.

Err, no!

Your analogy to the English language is wrong-headed.  A more apt analogy would be the kind of Romantic interpretations (abuses) of early music in which they applied inappropriate forces and stylistic choices according to the prevailing 19th century taste/practice, and excusing them based on bad musicology.  The PI/HIP movement has reversed those mistakes, and the music has benefitted.




No, I think the bad musicology came out of Solesnes. For example, the Solesmes people just refused to accept that ornamentation was an authentic chant practice, despite the discovery of ancient manuscripts in Rome showing richly ornamented Gregorian chants. They were like the pre HIP keyboard players who couldn't accept that rubato etc was an authentic baroque practice.  Or like those scientists who stuck to Newtonian physics despite the Michelson Morley experiment.



Gregorian chant had a long tradition prior to the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and what the monks of Solesmes did was return to the original tradition i.e., remove stylistic aberrations not add a new gloss onto the music.

But Byzentine singing was part of that tradition, for the first 1000 years of the church in Rome. Solesmes people just exclude that style.  The aberration is theirs.

This disfigured, distorted version of the chant lost its purity and power of expression and so ceased to interpret and inspire the Church's prayer as it once had."

.

This is interesting. The claim is that Solesmes is giving music its former power to inspire prayer, something which it lost in more lavishly ornamented, byzantine ways of singing. But that presupposes a certain conception of prayer, a C 19 one. This sentence of Mary Berry's is very revealing -- it may show the roots of prejudice which led to  the Solesnes fallacy.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on May 24, 2019, 12:33:17 PM
Gregorian chant had a long tradition prior to the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and what the monks of Solesmes did was return to the original tradition i.e., remove stylistic aberrations not add a new gloss onto the music.

I am not that focused upon Chant, but as far as I have understood, this process was not strictly musicological in our sense of the word and included a fair amount of conjecture. This is of course more or less the situation with all Early music even when the latest musicology is included, but will often lead to large variance in opinions of performance practice, and to some extent everyone - Peres included - is free to have his own opinion.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 24, 2019, 01:04:21 PM
Err, no!

I wonder why you doubt the Solesmes investigation of the manuscripts?


Quote
No, I think the bad musicology came out of Solesnes. For example, the Solesmes people just refused to accept that ornamentation was an authentic chant practice, despite the discovery of ancient manuscripts in Rome showing richly ornamented Gregorian chants. They were like the pre HIP keyboard players who couldn't accept that rubato etc was an authentic baroque practice.  Or like those scientists who stuck to Newtonian physics despite the Michelson Morley experiment.

While the manuscripts are consistently uniform, there is little, if any, evidence of ornamentation, other than at the very end of some concluding phrases.

Quote
But Byzentine singing was part of that tradition, for the first 1000 years of the church in Rome. Solesmes people just exclude that style.  The aberration is theirs.

What was done in the Eastern church is entirely separate, and not part of the tradition of the Western church, and irrelevant to it.  If what Peres is hoping to do is perform in the Byzantine style, his criticism, and even consideration of Solesmes is completely inappropriate, since Solesmes represents the Western church, not a Byzantine style.  Are you aware that the two traditions, Eastern and Western, were so distinct that for a while there were two Popes?

Quote
This is interesting. The claim is that Solesmes is giving music its former power to inspire prayer, something which it lost in more lavishly ornamented, byzantine ways of singing. But that presupposes a certain conception of prayer, a C 19 one. This sentence of Mary Berry's is very revealing -- it may show the roots of prejudice which led to  the Solesnes fallacy.

I do not recognize any fallacy on the part of Solesmes, and disagree that the concept of prayer being employed by them is a product of the 19th century.

The claim that the purpose of chant is to create/enhance a reverential and spiritual environment, as well as, to enunciate the texts clearly and appropriately is not a stretch to surmise; this goal was articulated by church authorities and documented in many manuscripts and even Papal declarations across several centuries, dating back to the early Christian period.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 24, 2019, 01:06:12 PM
I am not that focused upon Chant, but as far as I have understood, this process was not strictly musicological in our sense of the word and included a fair amount of conjecture. This is of course more or less the situation with all Early music even when the latest musicology is included, but will often lead to large variance in opinions of performance practice, and to some extent everyone - Peres included - is free to have his own opinion.

Yes, of course, Peres is entitled to his own opinion.  But I object to his criticism of the Solesmes performance practice in order to create a brighter contrast between what he is doing and the long tradition they have established. I cannot help but be skeptical pf his motives.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 24, 2019, 10:14:55 PM
I'm busy today so I'll deal with what you say in bits and bobs, as it were. But I can deal with one thing straight away.




While the manuscripts are consistently uniform, there is little, if any, evidence of ornamentation, other than at the very end of some concluding phrases.



No, not the manuscripts of chant in Rome, in St Peters, St John Lateran and St Cecelia. They were unearthed in 1890, ironically enough by a Solesnes monk. There were papers published about it at the time and the official view was to minimise it ("an exception which proved the rule")  rather than to see it as a record of the freedom authentic chant to use rich expressive ornamentation.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 25, 2019, 12:24:54 AM
And now another free 5 minutes for this one



What was done in the Eastern church is entirely separate, and not part of the tradition of the Western church, and irrelevant to it


Why do you say this? Are there any writings from before C9 which mark out the differences between Greek and Latin liturgical music? I doubt it.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 25, 2019, 12:27:37 AM
Are you aware that the two traditions, Eastern and Western, were so distinct that for a while there were two Popes?
 not a stretch to surmise; this goal was articulated by church authorities and documented in many manuscripts and even Papal declarations across several centuries, dating back to the early Christian period.

Now don't be patronising! I was in Avignon a few months ago!

Are you aware that, at the time of the Carolingian programme of global uniformisation of church chant, Gregorian singing was very diverse? Church music in Gaul was not at all the same as church music in Milan or the south of Italy or Spain.

(By the way, are you sure that the Avignon Papacy has anything to do with the differences between the church in the east and the church in the west? Would you spell that out, I must be going stupid but I can't see the logic of your point.)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 25, 2019, 12:30:36 AM
disagree that the concept of prayer being employed by them is a product of the 19th century.


This is something I'd like to think about more deeply, and I suspect, as I said, that it is le nerf de la guerre.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 25, 2019, 01:09:02 AM
And now another free 5 minutes for this one

Why do you say this? Are there any writings from before C9 which mark out the differences between Greek and Latin liturgical music? I doubt it.

I remember reading several quotes about the kind of singing to be encouraged from the 4th century, but it I am unable to dig them up since my subscription to that JStor has lapsed.

Now don't be patronising! I was in Avignon a few months ago!

Are you aware that, at the time of the Carolingian programme of global uniformisation of church chant, Gregorian singing was very diverse? Church music in Gaul was not at all the same as church music in Milan or the south of Italy or Spain.

(By the way, are you sure that the Avignon Papacy has anything to do with the differences between the church in the east and the church in the west? Would you spell that out, I must be going stupid but I can't see the logic of your point.)

I was merely to indicating that the Eastern and Western traditions were different, and at odds for a while, in order to question how much similarity there was between the singing of chant, and how useful it is to use the Byzantine tradition of ornamentation (if it existed) as proof of what was done in Rome, or the West in general. My understanding is that the Liber Usualis has roots from the 11th century, at which time there was already a set system of melodies for all chant used in Catholic churches. All the monks of Solesmes did was to organize it and make it available for use in modern churches.

I'm busy today so I'll deal with what you say in bits and bobs, as it were. But I can deal with one thing straight away.

No, not the manuscripts of chant in Rome, in St Peters, St John Lateran and St Cecelia. They were unearthed in 1890, ironically enough by a Solesnes monk. There were papers published about it at the time and the official view was to minimise it ("an exception which proved the rule")  rather than to see it as a record of the freedom authentic chant to use rich expressive ornamentation.

Can you be more specific?  I do not know what resource you mean from 1890.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 25, 2019, 02:21:40 AM


Can you be more specific?  I do not know what resource you mean from 1890.

I believe there are only five manuscripts from the Church of Rome dating from the 11th and 12th and start of the 13th cenuries, and that they are rather different in terms of the content of the music from manuscripts from elsewhere. The chant resembles gregorian melody, but the ornamentation is much more prolonged.

Three of them were discovered in 1890 by a Solsmes man, Dom Mocquerezu, and it was, of course, a real challenge to the Solesnes project, because they wanted to present this type of thing as a decadent incrustation which robbed the music of its godly purity. These were not additions made in the 16th century, so they couldn't just be dismissed.

To Dom Mocquerezu's credit, he didn't try to hide it. But he did bury it in a footnote. He wrote it up in Volume 2 of Paleographe Musicale (page 4 note 1) I've got the note here but I don't have the time to translate it . . . it ends with the comment  " ici l'exception confirme la règle"

What seems to be happening is that Dom Mocquerezu is so caught up in the fallacy  that the way the music was written corresponds to the way it was sung, he's blinded by his paradigm. He just couldn’t see that the Rome manuscripts are, possibly, evidence for performance practice of Gregorian chant, and that the authors of the manuscripts expected the chanters to apply expressive ornaments creatively.

We’ve seen exactly this fallacy in the interpretation of C17 keyboard music by pre-HIP performers who confused the music with the score, Walcha is an example.

(I've started to feel like the Reverend Edward Casaubon.)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 25, 2019, 04:15:59 PM
Below are some comments from Jerome F. Weber, the former early music specialist at Fanfare.  Weber is a chant scholar, and since Mary Berry is no longer with us, I trust his expertise more than any other living authority.

I emailed him some of your comments and Peres quotes and below are excerpts from his responses.

Quote
It is easy to pontificate about a subject like ornamentation of chant in the 8th century. There is no documentary evidence whatsoever, one way or the other, so conclusions must be drawn from other evidence, like neumatic notation.

Quote
The first reference to three Graduals (not the two Antiphoners, however)  from Rome was published in Paleographie Musicale 2 (p.5 fn) by Dom Mocquereau, who could not explain their differences from all other chant MSS. Contrary to your friend's remark, there was no discussion whatsoever at the time. Apart from one article in 1911 by Dom Andoyer in Revue du chant gregorien, which led nowhere, the first discussion of Old Roman chant was begun by Staeblein in 1950, which led to a decade of intense controversy. After a consensus was reached, more or less, it remains only to choose whether one thinks Old Roman chant (witnessed by five late MSS dated between 1071 and 1300 that were the result of several centuries of oral transmission) or Frankish/Gregorian chant (edited to an unknown degree by Frankish scribes from the Roman chant that they were taught at the end of the 8c., mingling to some degree the surviving Gallican chants such as St. Martin) more closely represents the 8c. Roman chant.

Chant developed in East and West independently, although there was some influence from the East and even a string of Greek and Syrian popes in this time (7-8c.). You must study the liturgies of East and West to realize how independently they developed from antiquity, for all chant is merely the embellished texts of the liturgy.

Quote
Mary Berry wrote a masterly diss. on the "The Performance of Plainsong in the Later Middle Ages and the Sixteenth Century" (I read it at Catholic U.) which shows clearly both the state of the chants (melismas truncated, etc.) and the style of singing (more slow as the feast is more solemn). Peres adopts her slow tempos consistently. Peres was totally self-taught after arriving in Marseilles from Algeria. His early studies were at the organ. He has since pursued some study but only after making the first series of recordings for Harmonia Mundi. His first recording was Old Roman chant with the participation of Angelopoulos, a cantor from Athens. As he moved on to every other form of chant as far removed as neo-Gallican (17c.), he retained this cantor and applied the notion of ison singing that they used in OR chant to every other kind of chant, however baseless. I pointed out that, even in the East, there is no documentation of ison singing before the 14c. I picked his records apart in Fanfare regularly, leading Bernard Sherman in Inside Early Music (1997), p. 41, to cite my "persistent" criticism of Peres for "no scholarly basis."

Quote
The medieval MSS were recognized in France as early as 1811, when the question of restoring public worship after a decade (1794-1804) of the Revolution arose: back to the neo-Gallican that had been used since from c.1640 to 1789 or a return to Roman liturgy (now that Ultramontanism was no longer a bad word). (The answer was neither.) The discovery of Montpellier H. 159 with its alphabetical (hence decipherable) notation in 1847 and the publication of the Reims-Cambrai Gradual in 1852 were among the parallel developments that accompanied Gueranger's work on chant that could be sung at Solesmes, the sole original purpose of his work. Dom Jausions and Dom Pothier studied medieval MSS from the 1850s. The Congress of Arezzo endorsed the Solesmes edition in 1882, and the seminarians at Santa Chiara in Rome embraced his work enthusiastically in 1890, a backdoor to the Roman authorities beginning with the conversion of Fr. de Santi to their cause. Pothier and Mocquereau, in their divergent ways, had no intention other than to restore the chant of the 10c. MSS for use in the liturgy.

I am done discussing this since you appear to be relying entirely on Peres' ideas, which I had thought were questionable, a conclusion endorsed by J.F. Weber.

While I enjoy Peres' recordings, as I do with Bjorn Schmelzer, I also understand them as personal interpretations, with little or no historical/musicological underpinning.

Merely because something is enjoyable does not also mean that it is historically accurate.  But what galled me the most about the Peres quotes you have posted is his (what I consider) unwarranted attack on the Solesmes performance of chant.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 25, 2019, 08:36:46 PM

 But what galled me the most about the Peres quotes you have posted is his (what I consider) unwarranted attack on the Solesmes performance of chant.

He is indeed attacking Solsemes,  though I'm not at all convinced that the attack is unwarranted. That's what I want to explore.

When you  say that Peres ideas have little or no historical underpinning, which  ones do you have in mind? Can you make a list so that we can look at them?

Can you list the Solesmes ideas which you think Peres attacked in an unwarranted way for me?



While I enjoy Peres' recordings, as I do with Bjorn Schmelzer, I also understand them as personal interpretations, with little or no historical/musicological underpinning.

As it is I don’t know exactly what I have to address. With this sort of thing, it’s really important to be specific.

Maybe Weber would like to enrol here so we could talk directly rather than through you.


I feel rather differently. I enjoy parts of some of Mary Berry's recordings.  I also understand them as personal interpretations, with little or no historical/musicological underpinning.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 26, 2019, 07:45:50 AM
Sometimes you hear the word machicotage for the French practice of ornamenting chant. Bjorn Schmelzer says this about it, which I think puts him into the camp of those who think that the approach of the Solesnes people is unsatisfactory as an expression of authentic chant  style, maybe unsatisfactory as a way of making music too.

Quote
Machicotage is an anachronism, a living leftover which remains obliquely in its own time, a surviving element which one no longer knows what to do with. Machicotage is a practice, a savoir-faire of Parisian singers that worked until the 19th century but didn’t survive the Gregorian reform. Machicotage is above all a fold in the current of time of oral, operative practices: historical, musicological research can never be solely hermeneutic because the written source is only a (small) factor in the big picture of influences and practices: a similar research progresses via a comparative, interdisciplinary and historical-anthropological way. Machicotage is above all a symptom: of the infamy and complexities of the history of music, and of the diversity of execution practices.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 26, 2019, 08:03:47 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41gyrBuEQTL._SX355_.jpg)

Mary Berry says this about chant and authenticity.


Quote from: Mary Berry in "Plainchant for Everyone"
Alternatim

Another whole area of adventurous chanting is the field of alternatim — the reconstruction of polyphonic or organ music involving the alternation of sections of chant with sections of measured music. If your choir is used to singing Renaissance music, search out some of the hymn settings by composers such as Tallis or Palestrina, and sing the alternate verses using the chant of the period. For you must remember that the style of chant performance in the sixteenth century was entirely different from the way in which the chant is usually sung today. By and large, singers today are all attempting to reproduce what they think the chant would have sounded like when notation first appeared: roughly, in what they consider to have been the style of the tenth century. The evidence seems to show that in the tenth century, when the chant was still a living oral tradition, it was sung quite fast, with lightness and delicacy and rhythmic variety. Over the centuries, however, the tempo had become progressively slower, so that if you want to give a really authentic performance of a Palestrina or Tallis hymn-setting, the chant sections will have to be sung in slow, equal notes, very firmly and deliberately. The result, far from being boring, is astonishingly splendid and very moving. It is a marvellous experience to sing it in this way, and it is not difficult to involve the whole congregation in the singing of these sections.

The same principle of authenticity applies if your choir is called upon to sing the chant sections in a performance of a seventeenth century organ mass, such as Couperin's `Messe pour les paroisses'. It would be a complete anachronism to sing the chant sections in these performances as if your choir was Solesmes under Dom Gajard. Each note of the chant should really be sung about as slowly as one bar of the music, and there would be a semi-metrical interpretation of certain words, particularly the dactyls. Incredible! Yes, but extremely effective and moving in performance. That sort of reconstruction requires a great deal of homework, but the standards of authenticity in performance are now such that we cannot get away with howling anachronisms in liturgical music. Ideally, too, these works should be performed in their liturgical context.


I think she would have wholeheartedly approved of Schmelzer's attempts to reconstruct machicotage in the antiphons in his recording of the Missa Caput, unless she is, for whatever reasons, firmly opposed to taking into account of oral traditions in making judgements about chant style. Such a shame that we don't know her reasons for saying that 10th century chant was light, fast and rhythmically varied; or that 16th century singing was slow and deliberate. I can't even begin to imagine where she gets this sort of idea from in fact. Maybe someone else here knows. Or maybe she's just pontificating.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 26, 2019, 04:12:34 PM
"Alternatim" has nothing to do with ornamenting chant.  It is a style, most commonly found during the late Renaissance and refers to alternating mass sections with other instrumental music, most commonly organ. Palestrina was commissioned to write nine masses for a Mantuan Duke (I believe that was his title) specifically to be performed alternatim, with organ.  BTW, Sergio Vartolo has recorded all nine of Palestrina's Messe Mantovane in excellent performances with soliosts of Cappella Musicale di San Petronio.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 26, 2019, 09:08:55 PM
I've not read this, but it looks like it's going to be interesting on expressiveness in the Solesmes paradigm

https://media.musicasacra.com/books/gregorianmusicalvalues_desrocquettes.pdf

maybe this too -- again I have hardly done more than skim it

https://media.musicasacra.com/pdf/ward5.pdf
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 26, 2019, 09:29:29 PM
It is a style, most commonly found during the late Renaissance and refers to alternating mass sections with other instrumental music, most commonly organ.

Yes but my point was one of style. Berry's suggesting that instead of organ in alternatim in a hymn, you chant in an appropriate style. And my point was that she's approve, logically, of Schmelzer using machicotage for the antiphons on that Ockeghem mass.

Re Berry, can you try to get hold of a copy of her "The Performance of Plainsong in the Later Middle Ages and the Sixteenth Century" for me? And have you read this (I haven't)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/518V15NwzzL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 26, 2019, 09:37:14 PM
This recording is worth hearing, the singers Ordo Virtutum have made a few interesting recordings of rare stuff

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81UTZ2TrumL._SL1210_.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 27, 2019, 01:59:23 AM
Yes but my point was one of style. Berry's suggesting that instead of organ in alternatim in a hymn, you chant in an appropriate style. And my point was that she's approve, logically, of Schmelzer using machicotage for the antiphons on that Ockeghem mass.

Re Berry, can you try to get hold of a copy of her "The Performance of Plainsong in the Later Middle Ages and the Sixteenth Century" for me? And have you read this (I haven't)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/518V15NwzzL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

I have that book pictured above, and read it last year and much of it is found on the Solesmes website.  I have the Willi Apel book, as well as two other smaller ones, on the performance of chant and reading the notation. I don't have the other book by Mary Berry you ask about (it is available from Jstor), but I am less interested in that aspect and more interested in chant from the 9th-11th centuries, prior to the development of polyphony, since I feel that chant was compromised from the influence of polyphony.

I am confused what is motivating your apparent need to prove the validity of Schmelzer and Peres's approaches to performance of early music, specifically chant.  There is no need to do that; as obviously gifted musicians their ideas about interpretation and the groups they assemble and the music they create are wonderful.  Whether they represent how music was performed in the 11th - 16th centuries is irrelevant, IMO.  I enjoy their work in the 21st century, and that is enough for me.

For the record, I reject both men's arguments about the authenticity of their performance; and do not think a scholar like Mary Berry would place their approach to the performance of chant above that of the Abbey of Solesmes.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 27, 2019, 03:10:16 AM
I have that book pictured above, and read it last year and much of it is found on the Solesmes website.  I have the Willi Apel book, as well as two other smaller ones, on the performance of chant and reading the notation. I don't have the other book by Mary Berry you ask about (it is available from Jstor), but I am less interested in that aspect and more interested in chant from the 9th-11th centuries, prior to the development of polyphony, since I feel that chant was compromised from the influence of polyphony.

I am confused what is motivating your apparent need to prove the validity of Schmelzer and Peres's approaches to performance of early music, specifically chant.  There is no need to do that; as obviously gifted musicians their ideas about interpretation and the groups they assemble and the music they create are wonderful.  Whether they represent how music was performed in the 11th - 16th centuries is irrelevant, IMO.  I enjoy their work in the 21st century, and that is enough for me.

For the record, I reject both men's arguments about the authenticity of their performance; and do not think a scholar like Mary Berry would place their approach to the performance of chant above that of the Abbey of Solesmes.

Let me explain why this has caught my imagination, though it's a bit convoluted maybe.

I started my working life as a philosopher at Oxford, and there one of the things I was interested in was the way that certain scientific paradigms become entrenched in the establishment's way of looking at the world, so that it becomes very difficult to dislodge them, even when better theories become available.

I'm interested in exploring whether the same thing happens in music.

All this puts too serious a slant on it, it's many many years since I was part of a university milieu, and I'm at best a dabbler now. However once a philosopher, always a philosopher! 

There's another reason actually, Peres' book is good to read! Passionate. If you can read French I recommend it to you enthusiastically, even if you're predisposed to disagree with the conclusions.

There's a third thing I'd like to mention, which is a big question, too big and vapid maybe. In my head I have a nagging voice, the devil's, which keeps whispering "the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying, the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying, the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying, the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying."
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 27, 2019, 03:51:42 AM
Let me explain why this has caught my imagination, though it's a bit convoluted maybe.

I started my working life as a philosopher at Oxford, and there one of the things I was interested in was the way that certain scientific paradigms become entrenched in the establishment's way of looking at the world, so that it becomes very difficult to dislodge them, even when better theories become available.

I'm interested in exploring whether the same thing happens in music.

All this puts too serious a slant on it, it's many many years since I was part of a university milieu, and I'm at best a dabbler now. However once a philosopher, always a philosopher! 

There's another reason actually, Peres' book is good to read! Passionate. If you can read French I recommend it to you enthusiastically, even if you're predisposed to disagree with the conclusions.

There's a third thing I'd like to mention, which is a big question, too big and vapid maybe. In my head I have a nagging voice, the devil's, which keeps whispering "the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying, the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying, the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying, the Solesmes way isn't very poetically satisfying."

I don't think it is either/or, i.e. both things occur: the tradition of chant performance is maintained and new interpretations/approaches come along by creative musicians.  I feel just the opposite as you regarding the monks of Solesmes.  "Poetic", "inspiring", "spiritual" and most importantly without ego are exactly the words I would use to describe their chant recordings, and how I think chant ought to be performed. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: jf on May 27, 2019, 11:43:58 AM
I have to comment on a few points noticed in this thread in the last couple of days. Writers who cannot spell "Solesmes" show how unfamiliar they are with the whole field of chant studies. Peres and Schmelzer, two of the most individualistic interpreters of chant on record, are cited as models while Mary Berry's deep and lifelong background in chant study, teaching and directing, is described as "individualistic." Her diss. is not published or online, but at the time she was completing it she wrote a summary article for the Proceedings of the RMA, and that may be on Jstor, although a quick search didn't turn it up. Keith W. cites beaufort.demon.co.uk for chant discography, a convenient way to see a brief list of some good recordings, but chantdiscography.com has 37,000 recorded chants, where a search on a single incipit will tend to show the more important versions first and the least important last. Drasko's description of the Peres repertoire as "pre-Gregorian" ignores many much later types of chant such as neo-Gallican chant from the 17c. (two CDs). How he sang Roman chant (with the ison) because of the situation in 7c. Rome is extended to every other rite, no matter how far removed from Greece and Rome or from the 7c. Mandryka's description of "Christians in Milan [singing] in an Easter way" is hardly a valid way to distinguish one Western rite from another. Summing up everything in a few words is the typical fault in this thread. Mandryka ventures to deny the role of boys in liturgical singing. (Biffo corrected him.) Boys were part of the Schola Cantorum in Rome from the earliest existence of that body, and their liturgical function of singing the psalm-response at Mass is cited by St. Augustine (d. 430) in Sermon 352:"He from his boyish heart ordered what he thought would be useful for you to hear" (that is, the celebrant did not choose the psalm for him to sing). Boys had the time to study in preparation for the daily cycle of chants.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on May 28, 2019, 08:15:08 PM
I have to comment on a few points noticed in this thread in the last couple of days. Writers who cannot spell "Solesmes" show how unfamiliar they are with the whole field of chant studies. Peres and Schmelzer, two of the most individualistic interpreters of chant on record, are cited as models while Mary Berry's deep and lifelong background in chant study, teaching and directing, is described as "individualistic." Her diss. is not published or online, but at the time she was completing it she wrote a summary article for the Proceedings of the RMA, and that may be on Jstor, although a quick search didn't turn it up. Keith W. cites beaufort.demon.co.uk for chant discography, a convenient way to see a brief list of some good recordings, but chantdiscography.com has 37,000 recorded chants, where a search on a single incipit will tend to show the more important versions first and the least important last. Drasko's description of the Peres repertoire as "pre-Gregorian" ignores many much later types of chant such as neo-Gallican chant from the 17c. (two CDs). How he sang Roman chant (with the ison) because of the situation in 7c. Rome is extended to every other rite, no matter how far removed from Greece and Rome or from the 7c. Mandryka's description of "Christians in Milan [singing] in an Easter way" is hardly a valid way to distinguish one Western rite from another. Summing up everything in a few words is the typical fault in this thread. Mandryka ventures to deny the role of boys in liturgical singing. (Biffo corrected him.) Boys were part of the Schola Cantorum in Rome from the earliest existence of that body, and their liturgical function of singing the psalm-response at Mass is cited by St. Augustine (d. 430) in Sermon 352:"He from his boyish heart ordered what he thought would be useful for you to hear" (that is, the celebrant did not choose the psalm for him to sing). Boys had the time to study in preparation for the daily cycle of chants.

Thank you for providing some desperately needed context to the discussion.  I sincerely hope you continue to contribute to the thread.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 28, 2019, 08:51:04 PM
I have to comment on a few points noticed in this thread in the last couple of days. Writers who cannot spell "Solesmes" show how unfamiliar they are with the whole field of chant studies. Peres and Schmelzer, two of the most individualistic interpreters of chant on record, are cited as models while Mary Berry's deep and lifelong background in chant study, teaching and directing, is described as "individualistic." Her diss. is not published or online, but at the time she was completing it she wrote a summary article for the Proceedings of the RMA, and that may be on Jstor, although a quick search didn't turn it up. Keith W. cites beaufort.demon.co.uk for chant discography, a convenient way to see a brief list of some good recordings, but chantdiscography.com has 37,000 recorded chants, where a search on a single incipit will tend to show the more important versions first and the least important last. Drasko's description of the Peres repertoire as "pre-Gregorian" ignores many much later types of chant such as neo-Gallican chant from the 17c. (two CDs). How he sang Roman chant (with the ison) because of the situation in 7c. Rome is extended to every other rite, no matter how far removed from Greece and Rome or from the 7c. Mandryka's description of "Christians in Milan [singing] in an Easter way" is hardly a valid way to distinguish one Western rite from another. Summing up everything in a few words is the typical fault in this thread. Mandryka ventures to deny the role of boys in liturgical singing. (Biffo corrected him.) Boys were part of the Schola Cantorum in Rome from the earliest existence of that body, and their liturgical function of singing the psalm-response at Mass is cited by St. Augustine (d. 430) in Sermon 352:"He from his boyish heart ordered what he thought would be useful for you to hear" (that is, the celebrant did not choose the psalm for him to sing). Boys had the time to study in preparation for the daily cycle of chants.

Welcome Jerome! And what a lovely surprise to find your interesting post this morning.

I hope you don't mind if I jump straight in and ask you a question which, as a result of reading Peres's book, I've become interested in.

How did the people at Solesmes arrive at their conclusions? If you can recommend something to read -  something I can get hold of - I’d be very grateful. What I would especially like is something which covers some details about the  historical method, the processes,  which underlay their work, rather than a summary of their conclusions or a manual on how to sing in their style.


 Peres argues that the Solesmes approach is a historical aberration; yet it still seems to be quite entrenched in some chant cultures, maybe I'm wrong to think that, and it's not such a dominant approach any more. I find that quite interesting, that's why I want to understand the Solesmes ideology a bit better. It's ironic that you say that Peres's approach has no scholarly basis and Peres says that the Solesmes approach has no scholarly basis. And Peres seems to have convinced the Royaumont Foundation too! Go figure. 

Such a shame that it’s hard to find out more about Mary Berry’s ideas. I know she was at a Cambridge college, so it’s surprising that she didn’t publish more, or that there aren’t publications about her. Maybe she had more of a performance and admin role than a research role, I don’t know.  I don't own any of her recordings (I listen to them through a streaming service) so I don't know if she contributed interesting booklet essays for them.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 29, 2019, 06:41:02 AM
Below are some comments from Jerome F. Weber, the former early music specialist at Fanfare.  Weber is a chant scholar, and since Mary Berry is no longer with us, I trust his expertise more than any other living authority.

I emailed him some of your comments and Peres quotes and below are excerpts from his responses.

Quote
Peres was totally self-taught after arriving in Marseilles from Algeria. His early studies were at the organ. He has since pursued some study but only after making the first series of recordings for Harmonia Mundi.

Just a quick note on this remark of Jerome's because, by coincidence, I just saw it  discussed in Peres's other book, Le chant de la mémoire. He says that prior to 1984 he had followed courses with Michel Huglo at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique Michel Huglo is  (or rather was) a musicologist specialising in early music, interestingly enough a former Solesmes man. Here's an obituary (sorry, it's full of conversion errors, but it's readable I think.)

 Did Peres really record anything for Harmonia Mundi before 1984? I'm not sure what.




Quote
MASNE DE LHERMONT.
t MICHEL Hugo (1921-2012). — Avec le décès de Michel Huglo, survenu à Washing-ton k 13 mai dernier, k monde de k musicologie médiévale perd l'un de ses plus grands savants. Né à Lille en 1921, Michel Huglo devient moine de l'abbaye Sain, Pierre de Solesmes, où il étudie la philosophie et la théologie tout en travaillant à l'ate-lier de paléographie musicale. C'est pendant ces années que se développent ses capaci-tés d'observation et de critique des sources et la rigueur de sa méthode de travail. Aux côtés des plus grands noms de la musicologie solesmienne - dom Eugène Cardin, dom René-Jean Hesbert, dom Jacques Froger, dom Jean Claire, dom Pierre Combe et dom Jacques Hourlier - il prépare l'édition du deuxième volume du Graduel romain, consacré à l'étude des sources musicales. Après avoir renoncé à la vie religieuse, M. Huglo entre au Centre national de la recherche scientifique et crée la Section de musicologie de l'Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes. Il obtient le titre de docteur de recherche à l'université Paris-IV et soutient son doctorat d'État à l'université Paris-X-Nanterre. Il mène un imposant tra-vail sur les tonaires, qu'il publie en 1971, et produit en même temps un grand nombre de contributions portant aussi bien sur les traités musicaux que sur les tropes, les séquences, les chants ambrosien, vieux-romain, gallican et mozarabe, la polyphonie ancienne, la morphologie des nomes et la pratique de l'enseignement de la musique au Moyen Âge. Il suffit de jeter un coup d'oeil sur sa bibliographie pour mesurer l'éten-due de son domaine de recherche et l'importance de ses études, non seulement pour les savants, mais également pour les étudiants en musicologie médiévale. Tout au long de sa carrière, en effet, il consacre beaucoup de temps à la formation de dizaines de chercheurs, notamment à l'École pratique des hautes études où il enseigne la paléographie et l'histoire de la musique médiévale, ainsi qu'à l'université libre de Bruxelles. Plusieurs universités étrangères l'invitent aussi à animer des séminaires de musicologie. Établi aux États-Unis après son départ en retraite, il reçoit en 1991 k doctorat honoris causa de l'université de Chicago, et à partir de 2000 il est professeur à l'université du Maryland. En évoquant l'activité de ce grand chercheur, on ne saurait omettre les précieux volumes du Répertoire international des sources musicales qu'on lui doit k réper-toire des processionnaux (RISM B XIV 1-2), qui recense plus de 1 500 manuscrits, et k répertoire des sources de la théorie musicale (RISM B III 3-4). Le chemin tracé par Michel Huglo, qui a énormément enrichi l'histoire de la musicologie, de la paléogra-phie et de la liturgie, est d'une importance fondamentale pour les chercheurs d'au-jourd'hui; mais avec k savant, la communauté scientifique perd aussi un collègue d'une grande humanité et d'une immense générosité. — Laura ALBIERO.

By the way I dug out this very entertaining recording today, if you don't know it you're missing something passionate

(https://img.discogs.com/6rHqQJHSwp1zfpk8EU84q6cjRGk=/fit-in/562x567/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-4622486-1401893200-7491.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 02, 2019, 11:57:43 AM
Anne Marie Deschamps was an inspiration to the young Marcel Peres, so I'm going to explore what she does and what she thinks about chanting, starting with this CD.

(http://i66.fastpic.ru/big/2014/0925/08/62e96c6ddb18c612608714c3e4270308.jpg)

Here's her ethought provoking essay on the music in the CD

Quote
The eternal chant from cistercian abbeys

The cistercians, known amongst other things for the abbeys they built, attached great spiritual importance to listening. In making their prayer and orison as rich and sumptuous as possible, they were in fact trying to reach new heights of spirituality, though they still tried to keep a certain simplicity of form.
In the 12th century, Saint Bernard wrote the following text to present the service he had composed in honour of Saint Victor:
“If one sings, let it be a song of the utmost gravity, with no place for timidity or vulgarity! And may its sweetness, may it be pleasing to ear and touching to the heart, may it ease sadness, calm anger and rather than lose the meaning of the words, may it reveal them in all the fullness and depth of their beauty”.

Saint Bernard has not written about architecture; however, Cistercian architecture still remains a vivid symbol of beauty. It was created by his thought, faith, and rigor, and given form in stone by geometers.
Throughout the century of Saint Bernard’s life, Europe was full Cistercian abbeys and priories that were built up in a system of square stones with vaults made in the image of the “vault of heaven” (Abélard), capable of communing with the palatal vault of the singer. The bare stone, treated in such a way, is capable of realizing the harmonics of the voice which glorify the stone and at the same time create a resonant environment for the listener, which is still a subject of wonder for acousticians as well as for architects and physicians.
Saint Bernard wrote a great deal on the importance of hearing, and we could have expected the Cistercians to be a creative musically as they were architecturally. However, reforms in the Cistercian liturgical music were inspired by the desire to return to certain sources which, at that time, were not very well known. Therefore, as they were based on ideological principles rather than musical ones, such reforms remained within the walls of the Cistercian abbeys, and did not influence the development of music, which was undergoing a great evolution at that time.
Nevertheless, in spite of all this, an intense musical life built up around Bernard de Clairvaux, and was influenced by is writings, his vigour and his impetus: there were admirers’ or detractors’ works in Germany, in England, in Spain, in Italy, as well as in France. Celestial help, love, and light responded throughout Europe to the cantor of Notre Dame, through musicians who often wrote liturgies, and whose amazing musical creations demanded to be revived and “invented”.
Inspired by the visions of poet-theologians of the same period as Saint Bernard. “L’Ensemble Venance Fortunat” celebrates the “Angels and the Light” (CD 1), chosen from the favourite themes of the contemplations of St Bernard and his entourage. After the introduction, the programme includes nine parts set within nine Alleluia (the angelic cry: praise to Yaveh) with in the middle, a Kyrie in nine parts. Nine is usually the sign and symbol of the celestial hierarchies.

For a long time it was thought that polyphony had been abandoned for ever in Cistercian chant, first in its reformed version by Etienne Harding, then in the form given it by Bernard de Clairvaux. But a mention in the margin of a Cistercian manuscript in the library at Fribourg shows that the art of polyphonic chant by sight reading from the book (i.e. improvised according to a very precise set of rules) had in fact remained quite usual practice.

The manuscripts of several monasteries reveal some astoundingly beautiful polyphonies. Could this be due to the influence of the 14th c. Cistercian monk Pierre de Picardie, a musical theoretician? These manuscripts come from various European libraries which proves they were not just a local phenomenon. In Oxford, for example, there is a manuscript from Hauteriv Abbey in Switzerland, others are to be found in Fribourg, Lucerne and Las Huelgas, near Burgos in Spain. Two of these manuscripts – the one in Fribourg that comes from Maingrauge Abbey, and the Las huelgas manuscript – were written in the scriptorium of a Cistercian nunnery.
During the 14th century, the same train of thought regarding liturgical chant was being explored by three different theoreticians, with only a few years’ interval between each : Jacques de Liège, Pierre de Picardie and Pope John XXII. Their aim and guiding principle was restitution of the vocal parts and the importance of presenting the whole text, whilst the notion of a tempo not broken up into equal parts also became prevalent. This was all happening just at the time when virtuosity of composition and the division of time were moving towards the idea of metre and intermittence (later to become the distinguishing characteristic of the Ars subtilior); but such notions did not fit in easily with the liturgical nature and content of plainchant.

All the pieces on the programme of the CD 2 come from the Cistercian repertory that evolved thanks to the researchers of the 12th to 14th centuries. They are arranged around the Dedicatory Mass of ms. n° 17328 in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (12th c.) (echoing the Clairvaux Dedicatory mass from ms. n° 907 from the Bibliothèque Municipale in Troyes, unfortunately without musical notation). The polyphonies come from Oxford, Fribourg and Las Huelgas, and the monodies from Paris, Troyes, Oxford, Milan and Bruges.

These “mystic chants” are the expression of a certain experience of time and space. Just as Saint Augustine professes in the 4th c. “Memory is the past made present; direct intuition gives the present made present, whilst expectation is the present made future”.

The interpretation and performance try to respect all the richness of the texts and its many layers of meaning, whilst leaving room for the responses or the accompaniment from Bonmont Abbey. Within the pauses for silence in this music there wells up a resonance of sound that is totally independent of the singer and which forces his auditive attention.

Anne-Marie Deschamps (traduction Delia Morris & Denise Fowler)

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 02, 2019, 04:29:29 PM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81gedKU1khL._SS500_.jpg)

Missa de Septuagiesima : Solesmes

Beautiful and moving.

This chant was not created as concert music, its purpose was to sing the mass, to create/enhance an appropriate atmosphere for worship in the Catholic service.  I almost wish to say that the monks of Solesmes are an amateur group, but one whose entire life in the monastery is devoted to preserving and transmitting this chant.  Theirs is a egoless performance, they are not out to prove anything other than to sing the chant for the glory of God, and while their CDs are available, they do not have careers to promote.

The 17-day period beginning on Septuagesima Sunday was intended to be observed as a preparation for the season of Lent, which is itself a period of spiritual preparation (for Easter).
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS on June 02, 2019, 06:27:18 PM
Isn't Solesmes the origin and first proponent of the "establishment" version og Gregorian chant? After all, its scholarly work on chant dates back to the 19th century, and it became what might be called the  official guardian well over a century ago.
Quote
In 1904, Pope Pius X entrusted to the monks of Solesmes the work of preparing an official Vatican edition of the Church's chant, and appointed a Commission with Dom Pothier as its president.
https://reginamag.com/unquiet-home-gregorian-chant/

So it shouldn't be a surprise that alternate views about chant should have arisen in the last 114 years.

Wikipedia contains this description of the context and percieved flaws of Solesmes
Quote
In the late 19th century, early liturgical and musical manuscripts were unearthed and edited. Earlier, Dom Prosper Guéranger revived the monastic tradition in Solesmes. Re-establishing the Divine Office was among his priorities, but no proper chantbooks existed. Many monks were sent out to libraries throughout Europe to find relevant Chant manuscripts. In 1871, however, the old Medicea edition was reprinted (Pustet, Regensburg) which Pope Pius IX declared the only official version. In their firm belief that they were on the right way, Solesmes increased its efforts. In 1889, after decades of research, the monks of Solesmes released the first book in a planned series, the Paléographie Musicale.[27] The incentive of its publication was to demonstrate the corruption of the 'Medicea' by presenting photographed notations originating from a great variety of manuscripts of one single chant, which Solesmes called forth as witnesses to assert their own reforms.

The monks of Solesmes brought in their heaviest artillery in this battle, as indeed the academically sound 'Paleo' was intended to be a war-tank, meant to abolish once and for all the corrupted Pustet edition. On the evidence of congruence throughout various manuscripts (which were duly published in facsimile editions with ample editorial introductions) Solesmes was able to work out a practical reconstruction. This reconstructed chant was academically praised, but rejected by Rome until 1903, when Pope Leo XIII died. His successor, Pope Pius X, promptly accepted the Solesmes chant – now compiled as the Liber Usualis – as authoritative. In 1904, the Vatican edition of the Solesmes chant was commissioned. Serious academic debates arose, primarily owing to stylistic liberties taken by the Solesmes editors to impose their controversial interpretation of rhythm. The Solesmes editions insert phrasing marks and note-lengthening episema and mora marks not found in the original sources.

Conversely, they omit significative letters found in the original sources, which give instructions for rhythm and articulation such as speeding up or slowing down. These editorial practices have placed the historical authenticity of the Solesmes interpretation in doubt.[28] Ever since restoration of Chant was taken up in Solesmes, there have been lengthy discussions of exactly what course was to be taken. Some favored a strict academic rigour and wanted to postpone publications, while others concentrated on practical matters and wanted to supplant the corrupted tradition as soon as possible. Roughly a century later, there still exists a breach between a strict musicological approach and the practical needs of church choirs. Thus the performance tradition officially promulgated since the onset of the Solesmes restoration is substantially at odds with musicological evidence.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_chant

Final note:
It would seem to me that if chant is a living organic type of music, ot should be always inventing new expressions of itself. Is anyone now composing chant?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 02, 2019, 10:00:04 PM


Final note:
It would seem to me that if chant is a living organic type of music, ot should be always inventing new expressions of itself. Is anyone now composing chant?

Yes, I'd say yes,  by Arvo Part and Michael Finnissy.

Isn't Solesmes the origin and first proponent of the "establishment" version og Gregorian chant? After all, its scholarly work on chant dates back to the 19th century, and it became what might be called the  official guardian well over a century ago.https://reginamag.com/unquiet-home-gregorian-chant/

So it shouldn't be a surprise that alternate views about chant should have arisen in the last 114 years.

Wikipedia contains this description of the context and percieved flaws of Solesmeshttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_chant



I'm not sure how frozen Solesmes is in ideas from the C 19 and early C 20 century. That's one of the things I was hoping that Jerome would be able to throw light on.

 I wouldn't want to present them in a cartoonish way, like they're just a bunch of latter day Sixtus Beckmessers. But maybe they are!

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 03, 2019, 02:37:25 AM
Isn't Solesmes the origin and first proponent of the "establishment" version og Gregorian chant? After all, its scholarly work on chant dates back to the 19th century, and it became what might be called the  official guardian well over a century ago.https://reginamag.com/unquiet-home-gregorian-chant/

So it shouldn't be a surprise that alternate views about chant should have arisen in the last 114 years.

Final note:
It would seem to me that if chant is a living organic type of music, ot should be always inventing new expressions of itself. Is anyone now composing chant?

My understanding is that the priorities of Solesmes were to find and develop a method of singing chant that fulfilled the spiritual needs of the celebration of the Mass of the Catholic church, not to perform chant as entertainment.  So, I place more importance on their approach, which I also find beautiful, an approach which has been endorsed by the Catholic church for well over a century, than someone like Manual Peres who is advancing his personal agenda in order to promote himself and his recordings in a competitive field.

Peres is of course free to sing chant in any manner he wish. And the issue of "authenticity" is a bug-a-boo in early music; there are always competing musicological claims of the "correct" way to perform certain music ...  I just remove chant from that discussion in my mind.  I am not a scholar, nor is anyone else taking part in this discussion, except for J.F. Weber - who has chosen not to remain on this forum.

Weber has spent his life studying chant, and is the curator of a huge repository of all available recorded examples.  I wish he would have hung around, but in discussions with him, he did not think GMG was a worthwhile forum to discuss these issues.  According to him, Peres and Schmelzer are "outliers" and not worth his time to refute.

Revisionist scholarship is quite common.  The early music camp first saw it in the 60s & 70s which spawned the HIP movement. Now we have revisionist scholarship applied to previous revisionism. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 03, 2019, 03:08:59 AM
SAN Antone, do you know anything about Eugene Cardine? I’ve just ordered one of his books.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 03, 2019, 03:37:35 AM
SAN Antone, do you know anything about Eugene Cardine? I’ve just ordered one of his books.

"Beginning Studies in Gregorian Chant" has been on my wishlist for months.  Is that the book you ordered?  I went ahead and ordered it today, and will add it to my small collection of chant books. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 03, 2019, 03:43:21 AM
No, I ordered “Vue d'ensemble sur le chant Gregorien”
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 03, 2019, 04:11:58 AM
No, I ordered “Vue d'ensemble sur le chant Gregorien”

Looks good; I wish I could read French. I don't suppose it has been translated?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 04, 2019, 11:30:30 AM
(http://resources.wimpmusic.com/images/248db3b6/0fac/46bb/a27f/fe3724304a66/640x640.jpg)

This is very beautiful stuff, polyphonic and complex, Anne Marie Deschamps contributes a nice little essay on it for the recording, and one of the things she says, about how the place creates resonances in the silences, seems to me to be spot on. As someone else said, you can’t sing chant in a shopping mall.

Quote
The eternal chant from cistercian abbeys

The cistercians, known amongst other things for the abbeys they built, attached great spiritual importance to listening. In making their prayer and orison as rich and sumptuous as possible, they were in fact trying to reach new heights of spirituality, though they still tried to keep a certain simplicity of form.
In the 12th century, Saint Bernard wrote the following text to present the service he had composed in honour of Saint Victor:
“If one sings, let it be a song of the utmost gravity, with no place for timidity or vulgarity! And may its sweetness, may it be pleasing to ear and touching to the heart, may it ease sadness, calm anger and rather than lose the meaning of the words, may it reveal them in all the fullness and depth of their beauty”.

Saint Bernard has not written about architecture; however, Cistercian architecture still remains a vivid symbol of beauty. It was created by his thought, faith, and rigor, and given form in stone by geometers.
Throughout the century of Saint Bernard’s life, Europe was full Cistercian abbeys and priories that were built up in a system of square stones with vaults made in the image of the “vault of heaven” (Abélard), capable of communing with the palatal vault of the singer. The bare stone, treated in such a way, is capable of realizing the harmonics of the voice which glorify the stone and at the same time create a resonant environment for the listener, which is still a subject of wonder for acousticians as well as for architects and physicians.
Saint Bernard wrote a great deal on the importance of hearing, and we could have expected the Cistercians to be a creative musically as they were architecturally. However, reforms in the Cistercian liturgical music were inspired by the desire to return to certain sources which, at that time, were not very well known. Therefore, as they were based on ideological principles rather than musical ones, such reforms remained within the walls of the Cistercian abbeys, and did not influence the development of music, which was undergoing a great evolution at that time.
Nevertheless, in spite of all this, an intense musical life built up around Bernard de Clairvaux, and was influenced by is writings, his vigour and his impetus: there were admirers’ or detractors’ works in Germany, in England, in Spain, in Italy, as well as in France. Celestial help, love, and light responded throughout Europe to the cantor of Notre Dame, through musicians who often wrote liturgies, and whose amazing musical creations demanded to be revived and “invented”.
Inspired by the visions of poet-theologians of the same period as Saint Bernard. “L’Ensemble Venance Fortunat” celebrates the “Angels and the Light” (CD 1), chosen from the favourite themes of the contemplations of St Bernard and his entourage. After the introduction, the programme includes nine parts set within nine Alleluia (the angelic cry: praise to Yaveh) with in the middle, a Kyrie in nine parts. Nine is usually the sign and symbol of the celestial hierarchies.

For a long time it was thought that polyphony had been abandoned for ever in Cistercian chant, first in its reformed version by Etienne Harding, then in the form given it by Bernard de Clairvaux. But a mention in the margin of a Cistercian manuscript in the library at Fribourg shows that the art of polyphonic chant by sight reading from the book (i.e. improvised according to a very precise set of rules) had in fact remained quite usual practice.

The manuscripts of several monasteries reveal some astoundingly beautiful polyphonies. Could this be due to the influence of the 14th c. Cistercian monk Pierre de Picardie, a musical theoretician? These manuscripts come from various European libraries which proves they were not just a local phenomenon. In Oxford, for example, there is a manuscript from Hauteriv Abbey in Switzerland, others are to be found in Fribourg, Lucerne and Las Huelgas, near Burgos in Spain. Two of these manuscripts – the one in Fribourg that comes from Maingrauge Abbey, and the Las huelgas manuscript – were written in the scriptorium of a Cistercian nunnery.
During the 14th century, the same train of thought regarding liturgical chant was being explored by three different theoreticians, with only a few years’ interval between each : Jacques de Liège, Pierre de Picardie and Pope John XXII. Their aim and guiding principle was restitution of the vocal parts and the importance of presenting the whole text, whilst the notion of a tempo not broken up into equal parts also became prevalent. This was all happening just at the time when virtuosity of composition and the division of time were moving towards the idea of metre and intermittence (later to become the distinguishing characteristic of the Ars subtilior); but such notions did not fit in easily with the liturgical nature and content of plainchant.

All the pieces on the programme of the CD 2 come from the Cistercian repertory that evolved thanks to the researchers of the 12th to 14th centuries. They are arranged around the Dedicatory Mass of ms. n° 17328 in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (12th c.) (echoing the Clairvaux Dedicatory mass from ms. n° 907 from the Bibliothèque Municipale in Troyes, unfortunately without musical notation). The polyphonies come from Oxford, Fribourg and Las Huelgas, and the monodies from Paris, Troyes, Oxford, Milan and Bruges.

These “mystic chants” are the expression of a certain experience of time and space. Just as Saint Augustine professes in the 4th c. “Memory is the past made present; direct intuition gives the present made present, whilst expectation is the present made future”.

The interpretation and performance try to respect all the richness of the texts and its many layers of meaning, whilst leaving room for the responses or the accompaniment from Bonmont Abbey. Within the pauses for silence in this music there wells up a resonance of sound that is totally independent of the singer and which forces his auditive attention.

Anne-Marie Deschamps (traduction Delia Morris & Denise Fowler)"
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 04, 2019, 01:07:49 PM
(http://resources.wimpmusic.com/images/248db3b6/0fac/46bb/a27f/fe3724304a66/640x640.jpg)

This is very beautiful stuff, polyphonic and complex, Anne Marie Deschamps contributes a nice little essay on it for the recording, and one of the things she says, about how the place creates resonances in the silences, seems to me to be spot on. As someone else said, you can’t sing chant in a shopping mall.

She has put out a number of recordings of chant, but it is unfortunate that she uses high female voices.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 04, 2019, 07:48:06 PM
She has put out a number of recordings of chant, but it is unfortunate that she uses high female voices.

I think that is a good thing, the voices make the harmonies resound more strikingly in the chant which is not purely monophonic. Some of the women singers are also good enough to get the monophonic material to come off the page, which is quite an achievement.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 04, 2019, 08:11:01 PM
I don't think it is either/or, i.e. both things occur: the tradition of chant performance is maintained and new interpretations/approaches come along by creative musicians.  I feel just the opposite as you regarding the monks of Solesmes.  "Poetic", "inspiring", "spiritual" and most importantly without ego are exactly the words I would use to describe their chant recordings, and how I think chant ought to be performed.

This suddenly reminded me of something, maybe completely irrelevant but I thought I’d mention it. I remember once meaning a pianist who specialised in recent music, he played Stockhausen etc., and we were talking about John Cage’s piano Etudes, and I wanted to get his opinion of one recording I find intriguing,  the most intriguing in fact, Claudio Crismani’s, He was very negative about Crismani, which he thought imposed the pianist’s ego. I’m not sure I understand this criticism at all, I suspect it just means « makes expressive embellishments I don’t like »

Is that what you meant about Gregorian played Solesmes style, it’s inexpressive, and you think that’s a good thing?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 04, 2019, 09:31:20 PM
This suddenly reminded me of something, maybe completely irrelevant but I thought I’d mention it. I remember once meaning a pianist who specialised in recent music, he played Stockhausen etc., and we were talking about John Cage’s piano Etudes, and I wanted to get his opinion of one recording I find intriguing,  the most intriguing in fact, Claudio Crismani’s, He was very negative about Crismani, which he thought imposed the pianist’s ego. I’m not sure I understand this criticism at all, I suspect it just means « makes expressive embellishments I don’t like »

Is that what you meant about Gregorian played Solesmes style, it’s inexpressive, and you think that’s a good thing?

Absolutely not!  I think the monks of Solesmes sing chant very expressively.  How can you listen to them and write what you did is a mystery to me.

"Without ego" in performance of chant, IMO, means without any other agenda other than performing the chant for the glory of G-d, as it has been taught according to their tradition.  No one imposing their own ego-driven ideas abut the performance in order to bring attention to their ideas, and to themselves, generating controversy in order to help promote their recordings.

I have no idea about the pianist playing Cage, but Cage based his entire artistic philosophy on removing his own ego from the creation of the works.  So maybe Crismani thought she did not perform them in that spirit.  I can't say since I haven't heard her performance nor that of Crismani.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 05:16:19 AM
Solesmes style is dead, it’s not livened up with the energy of ornamentation or spiced up with with microtones, they are so sober and restrained and homogeneous that it’s almost inhuman. How anyone can this that this is an appropriate way to present  liturgical music is . . .


. . . a mystery to me.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 05, 2019, 10:34:31 AM
Solesmes style is dead, it’s not livened up with the energy of ornamentation or spiced up with with microtones, they are so sober and restrained and homogeneous that it’s almost inhuman. How anyone can this that this is an appropriate way to present  liturgical music is . . .

Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I disagree with you.  However, I don't disagree with the terms in bold.  Contrary to you I do not consider the performance as "inhuman" but an example of the kind of ego-less singing that I think is exactly the appropriate manner in which to sing chant for use in the mass. Now, if you are primarily interested in chant performance in a secular setting, then anything goes.

One could accompany the chant with synthesizers and market it as new age music.

But the Solesmes monks are not singing chant for secular purposes.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS on June 05, 2019, 10:44:30 AM
Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I disagree with you.  However, I don't disagree with the terms in bold.  Contrary to you I do not consider the performance as "inhuman" but an example of the kind of ego-less singing that I think is exactly the appropriate manner in which to sing chant for use in the mass. Now, if you are primarily interested in chant performance in a secular setting, then anything goes.

One could accompany the chant with synthesizers and market it as new age music.

But the Solesmes monks are not singing chant for secular purposes.

The question is not the motive of the Solesmes monks.  The question is, did the monk of the medieval era also think "sober, restrained, homogeneous"  was the best (or at least, a good) way when singing chant? Leaving aside the question of "egoless singing"--undoubtedly some medieval monks did it, some did not not, given the diversity and number of monks then--it's quite possible medieval monks (or some of them) would think a florid exuberance was a better way of singing to the greater glory of God.  Solesmes is, after all, not a tradition directly handed on through a living train of monks that reaches back to medieval times, but a scholarly project of reconstruction that began in the 19th century. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 11:31:57 AM
As far as I know there is no reason to think that the SRH style has anything to do with how anyone chanted before the late C 19.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 05, 2019, 12:33:05 PM
The question is not the motive of the Solesmes monks.  The question is, did the monk of the medieval era also think "sober, restrained, homogeneous"  was the best (or at least, a good) way when singing chant? Leaving aside the question of "egoless singing"--undoubtedly some medieval monks did it, some did not not, given the diversity and number of monks then--it's quite possible medieval monks (or some of them) would think a florid exuberance was a better way of singing to the greater glory of God.  Solesmes is, after all, not a tradition directly handed on through a living train of monks that reaches back to medieval times, but a scholarly project of reconstruction that began in the 19th century.

I don't know where you are getting your information, there is no definitive documentary foundation to support your conclusions.  In my discussions with Jerome Weber he indicated that Peres is spreading what can only be described as misinformation, or at the very least exaggerating the evidence in order to support his own (Peres') bias against the Catholic church, and Solesmes.

The fact is that there is no documentary evidence whatsoever concerning ornamentation of chant in the 8th century, one way or the other, so conclusions must be drawn from other evidence, like neumatic notation. This ground has been extensively covered from 1911 on, and a consensus was reached approximately in 1950.  With the Church endorsing the Solesmes method.

Peres and other revisionists may pontificate about the subject endlessly, but there is no credible evidence to build a case that Solesmes are wrong. 

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 05, 2019, 12:44:57 PM
Here is something Weber emailed me, which I don't remember if I posted already, which shows how early the Solesmes method was embraced by the Church:

Quote
The medieval MSS were recognized in France as early as 1811, when the question of restoring public worship after a decade (1794-1804) of the Revolution arose: back to the neo-Gallican that had been used since from c.1640 to 1789 or a return to Roman liturgy (now that Ultramontanism was no longer a bad word). (The answer was neither.) The discovery of Montpellier H. 159 with its alphabetical (hence decipherable) notation in 1847 and the publication of the Reims-Cambrai Gradual in 1852 were among the parallel developments that accompanied Gueranger's work on chant that could be sung at Solesmes, the sole original purpose of his work. Dom Jausions and Dom Pothier studied medieval MSS from the 1850s. The Congress of Arezzo endorsed the Solesmes edition in 1882, and the seminarians at Santa Chiara in Rome embraced his work enthusiastically in 1890, a backdoor to the Roman authorities beginning with the conversion of Fr. de Santi to their cause. Pothier and Mocquereau, in their divergent ways, had no intention other than to restore the chant of the 10c. MSS for use in the liturgy.

I find it incredible that Peres wants to claim that these Solesmes scholars did not know what they were doing.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS on June 05, 2019, 02:16:12 PM
I don't know where you are getting your information, there is no definitive documentary foundation to support your conclusions.  In my discussions with Jerome Weber he indicated that Peres is spreading what can only be described as misinformation, or at the very least exaggerating the evidence in order to support his own (Peres') bias against the Catholic church, and Solesmes.

The fact is that there is no documentary evidence whatsoever concerning ornamentation of chant in the 8th century, one way or the other, so conclusions must be drawn from other evidence, like neumatic notation. This ground has been extensively covered from 1911 on, and a consensus was reached approximately in 1950.  With the Church endorsing the Solesmes method.

Peres and other revisionists may pontificate about the subject endlessly, but there is no credible evidence to build a case that Solesmes are wrong.


The point is that there is no real evidence either way.  The Church endorsement says something  about ecclesiastical aesthetics c 1890. It says nothing about ecclesiastical aesthetics c 1100. "Sober, restrained, homogeneous" is what the clergy of the 19th century thought redounded to the greater glory of God. Whether the clergy of medieval times agreed with that is an open question.

As far as I know there is no reason to think that the SRH style has anything to do with how anyone chanted before the late C 19.

Exactly. But I think that can also be said of Peres.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 05, 2019, 02:46:21 PM

The point is that there is no real evidence either way.  The Church endorsement says something  about ecclesiastical aesthetics c 1890. It says nothing about ecclesiastical aesthetics c 1100. "Sober, restrained, homogeneous" is what the clergy of the 19th century thought redounded to the greater glory of God. Whether the clergy of medieval times agreed with that is an open question.

Exactly. But I think that can also be said of Peres.

There is documentary evidence against the use of instruments in the church, as well as written statements against soloists drawing attention to themselves.  There are a number of sources dating to the 4th century and beyond that speak to the kind of singing to avoid in order to preserve a sober, meditative, inspiring, spiritual atmosphere. 

It is hard for me to believe that the kind of melismatic, soloistic style of singing would have been preferred to a more restrained style by the early, middle and late church authorities.

The Solesmes monks' style of singing chant has been endorsed by successive Popes over more than a century. 

I think the debate comes down to the question of how to treat chant. For the Church, and the monks of Solesmes, the purpose of chant is to sing the text of the prayers of the Catholic mass, and to do nothing that would detract from the understanding and intent of the service.

Whereas for a musician like Peres, he is treating chant as just another repertory to mine for artistic expression.

As I've written previously, I enjoy Peres' recordings - but I do not respect his attack on Solesmes and the Catholic church. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS on June 05, 2019, 05:13:19 PM
There is documentary evidence against the use of instruments in the church, as well as written statements against soloists drawing attention to themselves.  There are a number of sources dating to the 4th century and beyond that speak to the kind of singing to avoid in order to preserve a sober, meditative, inspiring, spiritual atmosphere. 

It is hard for me to believe that the kind of melismatic, soloistic style of singing would have been preferred to a more restrained style by the early, middle and late church authorities.

The Solesmes monks' style of singing chant has been endorsed by successive Popes over more than a century. 

I think the debate comes down to the question of how to treat chant. For the Church, and the monks of Solesmes, the purpose of chant is to sing the text of the prayers of the Catholic mass, and to do nothing that would detract from the understanding and intent of the service.

Whereas for a musician like Peres, he is treating chant as just another repertory to mine for artistic expression.

As I've written previously, I enjoy Peres' recordings - but I do not respect his attack on Solesmes and the Catholic church.

To the point I italicized: perhaps the point was emphasized often because the actual singers were not doing it that way.

At the very least, we are far enough removed from medieval thinking that we can't automatically think that what they thought of as sober, meditative, and inspiring matches what we think of as sober, meditative, and inspiring. Nor should we be so tied to 19th century aesthetics as to think that the Solesmes way is the only way modern ears can be inspired.* I have not read anything by Peres, but I think that chant be sung in different ways yet still be suitable for worship.

*Two points
Back in 1975/76 a 12th grade classmate as part of his project (we each took a turn "teaching" the books in the class syllabus--in his case, Dubliners) illustrated what he thought of as the soul crushing depression typical of Irish Catholicism of that era by playing the first few minutes of a record of Gregorian chant. Obviously he did not find it inspirational.

As for 19th century ideas of Medieval aesthetics...I think the destruction of Viollet-le-duc's faux Gothic spire in the Notre Dame fire was a good thing, provided they replace it with something more in line with Notre Dame's actual appearance (something more Romanesque or early Gothic, if you please). That spire in  no way matched the actual medieval Notre Dame.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 05, 2019, 06:31:34 PM
To the point I italicized: perhaps the point was emphasized often because the actual singers were not doing it that way.

I think that while there may have been a regular need to emphasize the way the church wished for the singing to be done, you cannot theorize that the majority were doing it inappropriately.  The more obvious interpretation is that there was a mode of performance that the church wished to preserve and not allow to deteriorate.

Quote
At the very least, we are far enough removed from medieval thinking that we can't automatically think that what they thought of as sober, meditative, and inspiring matches what we think of as sober, meditative, and inspiring. Nor should we be so tied to 19th century aesthetics as to think that the Solesmes way is the only way modern ears can be inspired.* I have not read anything by Peres, but I think that chant be sung in different ways yet still be suitable for worship.

But we are not so removed from Medieval thought.  There are ample numbers of documents which in the majority say the same thing: the music used in church worship should be done differently than the kind of music sung outside of church.  If anyone is tied to 19th century aesthetics it is those who wish to treat chant like any other secular music, to be done for entertainment purposes, removed from the context for which it was conceived.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 05, 2019, 07:32:16 PM
Just to emphasize my general point, here's a couple of quotes from Dom Eugene Cardine: "All pontifical documents, including the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Second Vatican Council, December 4, 1963) recognize Gregorian Chant as 'specially suited to the Roman Liturgy' (CSL Article 116). Not so much certainly, because of its musical quality, but much more for its incomparable power to express prayer."

"To obtain the spiritual effect, and even more, the musical effect of Gregorian Chant, a certain degree of perfection is required:

  -- in understanding
  -- in execution: to strive for a technique as worthy as possible of both the subject matter and its aim, which is nothing less than the praise of God.  Experience proves that there is no choir or congregation, even of
      modest capacity, that could not be sufficiently trained to appreciate Gregorian Chant, and sing properly the part assigned to them and to reach an interpretation that becomes prayer." (Emphasis in the original)

Chant was expected to be sung by non-professionals, as should be obvious from the quote. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 08:28:29 PM

But we are not so removed from Medieval thought.  There are ample numbers of documents which in the majority say the same thing: the music used in church worship should be done differently than the kind of music sung outside of church. 

Are there any documents that say it must be done without ornamentation and without microtones?

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 08:30:55 PM
Just to emphasize my general point, here's a couple of quotes from Dom Eugene Cardine: "All pontifical documents, including the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Second Vatican Council, December 4, 1963) recognize Gregorian Chant as 'specially suited to the Roman Liturgy' (CSL Article 116). Not so much certainly, because of its musical quality, but much more for its incomparable power to express prayer."

"To obtain the spiritual effect, and even more, the musical effect of Gregorian Chant, a certain degree of perfection is required:

  -- in understanding
  -- in execution: to strive for a technique as worthy as possible of both the subject matter and its aim, which is nothing less than the praise of God.  Experience proves that there is no choir or congregation, even of
      modest capacity, that could not be sufficiently trained to appreciate Gregorian Chant, and sing properly the part assigned to them and to reach an interpretation that becomes prayer." (Emphasis in the original)

Chant was expected to be sung by non-professionals, as should be obvious from the quote.

How do I know whether an interpretation has become the expression of a  prayer?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 08:34:17 PM


Exactly. But I think that can also be said of Peres.

I just note that Angelopoulos was part of a confrérie which had an ancient oral tradition. It was a Byzantine one, and what he does sounds Byzantine. Peres denies that this is an inappropriate contamination of the music he interprets.

Vellard also takes some inspiration from eastern oral traditions, but his chant sounds much less Byzantine, for better or for worse. There are no microtones, the manner of forming sounds is more traditionally « western »

There has been a lot of talk of Solesmes in this thread. I’m not at all sure  the Solesmes establishment view would be of the singing here

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71nNK%2BkS5eL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 05, 2019, 09:31:21 PM
Can I ask the people who know about this music to do something for me? Have a listen to Assumens Iesus on this CD or Coram Tribus.  Is this singing kosher according to Solesmes? Can you tell from the way it sounds? Unfortunately I don’t have the booklet.

(https://pmcdn.priceminister.com/photo/cluny-le-chant-de-l-abbaye-au-xiie-siecle-de-ensemble-venance-fortunat-1038422756_L.jpg)

Anne Marie Deschamps is a great find for me, as stimulating as Peres, more so.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2019, 01:56:00 AM
Are there any documents that say it must be done without ornamentation and without microtones?

See my Reply #113
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2019, 01:59:09 AM
How do I know whether an interpretation has become the expression of a  prayer?

That issue was determined by the Catholic Church authorities.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 06, 2019, 02:42:24 AM
See my Reply #113

There may indeed be a consensus in the Roman Catholic church.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 06, 2019, 02:42:45 AM
That issue was determined by the Catholic Church authorities.

Well that’s the end of that then.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2019, 02:48:42 AM
Well that’s the end of that then.

Well, prayer is squarely in the province of the church and especially the monks of Solesmes whose lives revolve around several services of daily prayer, involving chant.  I would sooner trust these men to know as opposed to someone like Marcel Peres.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 06, 2019, 04:26:11 AM
One singer I've taken a great liking to is Damien Poisblaud,  there's samples on youtube, this one chosen pretty randomly by me

https://www.youtube.com/v/GvtTnsL20cY

To some extent this discussion has seemed trapped in an opposition between, to put it crudely, Solesmes on the one hand and Peres/Anne-Marie Deschamps  and indeed Damien Poisblaud on the other. But it may not be fair because the interest that the Peres side of the duel has been focused on areas which, as far as I know, the Solesmes paleographers don't address -- things like polyphonic chant and the archaic "old roman" music.

However I think we've touched on a lot of interesting areas. Whatever may be the just view of the Solesmes research in reconstituting the chant melodies from manuscripts, there seems to be agreement that the Solesmes style of singing those melodies is very influenced a certain conception of prayer -- it would be interesting to explore that more deeply.

And although no-one hear seems very clear about what the Solesmes paleographic methodology involves, not least me, it does seem to be clear that their view wasn't informed by singers who, due to belonging to living oral traditions of chant, have a very concrete idea about how chant should sound, how chanters should make sounds. Whether this is a major weakness of the approach is something I can't say, but a priori  it does sound a weakness (contrast the way our understanding of Homer benefited from research into living Balkan story telling traditions. )
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 06, 2019, 04:27:16 AM
Peres possibly has an anti-Catholic axe to grind.

This may be of interest

Quote
An Interview with Marcel Pérès

By Tom Moore

Marcel Pérès has been exploring a wide variety of chant repertoires for Harmonia Mundi with the Ensemble Organum, which he founded in 1982, including such little-known areas as Mozarabic chant (from Iberia), Corsican chant, and later chant traditions, such as the Gallican chant of Baroque France. His research into these byways is carried out under the auspices of the CERIMM (Centre Européen pour la Recherche et l'Interpretation des Musiques Médiévales), which Pérés directs. His recordings also include polyphony from the Codex Chantilly, and the Ockeghem Requiem. When we met in New York, the Ensemble had just shared a performance of the Machaut Mass in the context of a complete musical Mass.


Q. You have been focusing almost exclusively on music for the Catholic Church. Did you grow up in a Catholic family?

A. Yes. When I was a boy I used to sing in the choir of the Cathedral of Nice, in the south of France. It was here that I discovered chant. The Cathedral of Nice was a very traditional place, and even after the last council continued with the Latin Mass on Sunday, and Latin Vespers also. I was lucky to grow up there. Every time that I work on a new repertoire, I always try to think about the liturgy, its place in the liturgy--I think it's very important for performing this early music.

Q. What did the choir focus on? Did you sing the Gregorian ordinary and propers?

A. Yes. We sang polyphony also, Palestrina and so on. Even though the Gregorian chant was done in the Solesmes way, it was important, because as you know, most of the Catholic places had broken with the tradition. As I was born in 1956, it was just after the council, so for me it was an opportunity to make a link with tradition. Later I studied the history of chant in more detail, chiefly with Michel Huglo in Paris, where I did my scholarly training, manuscript work, and so on.

Q. What musical training or experiences did you have as a child outside the church?

A. I was trained as an organist; I studied at the conservatory in Nice. I am a composer also--I studied composition for seven years. When I started to be involved with medieval music, it was from the point of view of a composer. During the 70s I was wondering a lot about musical notation--what kind of notation to use for this new music--and I realized that I didn't know medieval notation, Renaissance notation, and so I started to study it. My purpose was to reflect on perception of sound. During my training as a composer I used to hear chords with lots of notes and dissonances, and I wanted to go back to another perception of sound, to discover again what the perception of a man from the Middle Ages might be. With this path, I started to have an interest for medieval repertoire, and discovered that this was a huge field--that one could spend years, maybe a lifetime, trying to figure out this music.

Q. When you were studying composition, did you have any notion, before you made the turn, going in the direction you did? So often young composers feel that they must compete with Boulez, with IRCAM--they have to speak that language.

A. I wanted to create my own path, and from the beginning I didn't like Boulez, really. For me he is a good musician and conductor, but what I didn't like was his dogmatic point of view. Now things are different, but during the 70s it was a sort of diktatura --if you didn't do music this way, you were really nothing. I didn't like dictators. When I studied, I studied serial music, because you have to do that, and I composed a number of pieces of this type. But I really wanted to go further, and chiefly to work deeply on the historical references I had in my mind. If you look at writing on music from the beginning of this century, the references to composers don't go further than the eighteenth century, even if from time to time, you meet someone talking about Machaut, for instance, and amazed by the incredible rhythmic and harmonic freedom of the music. It's one thing to be astonished by the music in relation to modern transcription, and another thing to see how it really sounds. It's a bit like the increasing movement over the last thirty years toward old instruments--we have discovered that the sound is different according to the way you build the instrument, for a specific music you must have a specific instrument. It's the same thing for singing--for a specific repertoire you must try to figure out which way the voice production works. I really wanted to increase the background for the composer's intentions, going back to old notation, because each notation is a different way of getting in touch with the music, the sound. I wanted to do some new experiments.

Q. Can you tell us about your perceptions of the effect of Vatican II in France?

A. It was a disaster. It was a disaster because the result was a reform that was not the sort of reform wanted by the texts of the council, because the texts said that Latin remained the language of the church, and national languages were simply authorized, but not the rule. Vatican II also said that Gregorian chant remained the repertoire of the Latin church. But in spite of that the bishops wanted to really break with any reference to the past, and now you have this situation where you have Roman Catholic priests who are not able to say a Mass in Latin, and even people who grew up in a very religious environment are unable to understand a word of the Latin liturgy. It's really a disaster, not only in the field of religion, but also in the area of scholarship. When you study the Middle Ages, whether history or music or something else, you must have references to the medieval liturgy, medieval Latin; but now when you start your graduate studies at twenty-one or twenty-two, you must learn everything, the texts of the liturgy, and there is a drop in the level of studies because of that. Now there is maybe a tiny change in the mentalities for some young priests who realize that there is something missing in their education; maybe something is changing, and in the next ten or twenty years we will have a more reasonable attitude. Presently in France most of the clergy is allergic to Latin--it's not a reasonable attitude. So everything has to be rebuilt.

Q. In some sense Vatican II was as revolutionary for French culture as the events of 1968. Can the two be linked?

A. It's very complex. It's a constant in the history of France that the people who have the power do not realize that things must change, and so they always wait till the last moment. The French revolution was typical of that--they wanted to hold onto things until they burst. The decolonization of the French empire was the same thing--they wanted to negate the problem. English people have a more fair way to manage these things.
In the early 60s in France, on one side, you have this political power, with DeGaulle, who didn't want to change anything of what existed, and with the church, it's true that the Catholics had not seen what was going on in the 50s. ...

Everything started with the first Vatican council in 1870. At this time the Catholic Church wanted to make the rites, the chant uniform. It's from this time that you have the idea of one edition of chant, the Vatican Edition. The aim was to have the same liturgy and the same chant in all the Catholic churches throughout the world. It was artificial, since every country had its own tradition, even if more or less every one was singing a sort of Gregorian or Latin vocal tradition. This only really came into practice in the 20s, after the First World War. That created a new aesthetic of Catholic liturgy, Catholic music also, and the way of singing chant that is common now is an aesthetic that comes from this time.

Q. Is this the sort of aesthetic that the chant-based pieces of Duruflé or Poulenc represent?

A. Yes. The model for Catholic music was Gregorian chant and Palestrina; composers tried to compose according to plainsong. At the same time the chant was accompanied. It was a mixture of will to return to antiquity, but also a desire to arrange this antiquity with what was necessary for modern good taste. This aesthetic was triumphant from the 20s through the second World War.
At this point in France there was a breakdown in the Catholic world, because the Catholics had believed in the values of Petain during the war, and they had to think it over. That's why in the 60s the reform of Vatican II was an occasion for the collective unconscious to break with this Catholic style linked with the war. They wanted to do something new.
This is how you can explain why some priests are so pathologically against Latin, against what was real Catholic tradition--in their minds, it was a real way to break with the past. There you have in a few words a psychoanalysis of French attitudes.

Q. Can you tell us a little about how you perceive the interactions between Eastern and Western chant?

A. It's a matter of history, since all this repertoire has a common root, which is the liturgy of Jerusalem. Very quickly the Christian liturgy became Greek. Christianity came to the Latin world in the form of Greek culture. The liturgy in Rome itself was in Greek until the fourth century--it's only in the fifth century that they started to translate from Greek to Latin. When we are thinking of Roman chant, we must always have in mind that in the early centuries there was not a distinction between Roman and Greek culture; since two centuries before Christ these cultures were completely linked. It's very significant that when Roman music theoreticians write of music it's always with Greek terms--the very last great theoretician of music from antiquity, Boethius, is talking of Greek music, and in his mind there is no distinction between Roman music and Greek music. The theory is Greek.

I emphasize that because from time to time I read some article that discusses Greek influence in the Roman liturgy. That's wrong--it's not Greek influence. It's a community. After the fifth or sixth century, Rome and Constantinople start to diverge, but still with many things in common. In fact in Rome until the thirteenth century they used to sing some pieces in Greek. In the seventh and eight centuries in Rome they had fourteen popes of Greek origin, but let us note that most of them were Greeks from Sicily--southern Italy and Sicily in antiquity were Magna Graecia--it was a Greek world, not a Latin world. So when I started to study Old Roman chant, I wanted to put in the perspective of these common roots. There were still in the twelfth century in Roman chant seven alleluia verses in Greek. I thought it would be good to ask Greek singers what they made of that. With my Western education, I wasn't able to see how this music was working--it was very repetitive, it was very obvious from the notation that there was a lot of ornamentation, for instance, but how to do it. ...?

Q. Could you elaborate on the sorts of ornaments?

A. The difficulty is that when we talk of notation, we must bear in mind that the words we are using to name the neumes (like clivis, pes, oriscus) are mostly, except for the quilisma, from the thirteenth century. It was a vocabulary intended for square notation. For the tenth century, the eleventh century, we don't know how they were naming these figures, or even if they were naming them. When we say, for instance, this neume is an oriscus--oriscus is a word from the thirteenth century--it comes from Greek. Maybe it was of old use, but we don't know. It means a little hill--it's on the note, an ornament, but we don't know exactly what. In fact I think the vocabulary was settled on because the square notation was no longer representing the picture of the sound. When you see the older notation, you see that there is a vibration. Square notation is a symbolic notation, so you must have a vocabulary to say that a pes, a two-note neume, is (for instance) a pes quassus, i.e., with a special vocal effect, a strong quaver on the first note.

Q. In a sense the staff notation is clearer in fixing pitches, but less clear in showing the details of the performance.

A. Yes. You must bear in mind also that at this time there was a very important change in performance. They began to sing from the music on the music stand. Square notation is intended for reading from a distance, with a larger group of singers. What you lost from a graphic point of view was supplied by a vocabulary which explained what to do on which note.
Today in most music history they say that square notation is linked to a loss of subtlety--that's absolutely wrong. I think that the way of singing didn't change, just the notation. You don't have the quilisma in square notation, so some scholars say the quilisma was not done anymore. Maybe they were doing more quilismas. Hieronymus of Moravia, a thirteenth-century theoretician, explains that in a specific style, for great solemnities, you must fill all the intervals--when you have a third or a fourth, for instance. Let us note that he describes different ways of singing according to different traditions and different liturgical purposes.
We translated this treatise of Hieronymus--we're going to publish it next year. I worked for ten years on this treatise.  The problem with the performance of chant is that you have very few texts. You have the Qatuor principalia , an anonymous treatise from the fourteenth century, less clear than Hieronymus, but discussing mostly the same phenomena, some authors like Guido d'Arezzo, Johannes Afflighemensis ... one thing is certain about chant, that no one agreed--that is a constant in the history of chant. In the thirteenth century, the Dominicans spent at least thirty years arguing.

Q. Something I have found fascinating in your work is the exploration of later chant traditions. Later chant has not been a topic of research for musicology.

A. You still don't have a history of chant, because of an ideology that comes from the first Vatican Council. They wanted to promote the idea of a uniform chant repertoire, a uniform way of singing, and so they wanted to negate everything that happened between the eleventh and the nineteenth century--most of the history of chant, they say, is ''decadent.'' And so all the scholars have focused on the first manuscripts of chant. Now studies of later centuries are beginning, but we have lost one century, because these studies should have begun a century ago.
The common idea that seventeenth- and eighteenth-century chant is decadent is ideological, because the reform of Solesmes wanted to break with the Gallican tradition, with the affirmation of the specificity of French culture, with the idea ''that we can be Catholic without having the same liturgy of Rome.'' They wanted to destroy that in the nineteenth century, and so they wanted to go back to St. Gregory.

Q. Which goes together with the infallibility of the pope. ...

A. Yes, yes. One liturgy, one infallible pope, one chant, one history of liturgy which is Roman and negated all other liturgies.
When we look at the chant of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it's very good music, as good as Baroque music. If you think about it, why shouldn't this chant have been refined? And so you have a huge repertoire to be discovered. I've tried to show some defects in the ideology, and with the records to show to scholars that they should study this, and in fact you can understand some medieval practices through studying seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sources. They had a continuous tradition--the medieval aesthetic was still living. You find some fauxbourdon in parallel fifths in the eighteenth century--a language completely separate from that of the time.In eighteenth century, at the Cathedral of Sens, they were still using thirteenth-century manuscripts. Sens is now a little city, but until the seventeenth century the archbishop had the title of Primate of Gaul and Germany. The decadence of Sens began with the growth of Paris, but until 1620 or so the Bishop of Paris was under the authority of Sens.

Q. Are you intending to explore other Orthodox traditions?

A. In the next few years, we will try to make a sort of federation of centers for study of Orthodox music, having in mind that scholars who work in Western chant must be in contact with scholars of Eastern chant. We need to have a standardization of terminology and methodology.
Another field in which we will work is the tradition of Syriac chant. Next year there will be a meeting in Aleppo for all the world Syriac churches. We must do this because the Syriac tradition is imperiled, because most of the Christians in the Middle East are emigrating. Some Syriac churches are translating from Syriac to Arabic. Everything is in the oral tradition.
Also here we have lost one century. Dom Jeanin a century ago had the intuition that to understand Gregorian chant we must go back to Syriac chant. He had a scholarship from the Vatican to study in Syria, but he had no disciple. He died at the beginning of the century. It's a pity, because a century ago the Syriac tradition was stronger than it is now. But because of the Solesmes ideology it was inconceivable to go to the Middle East to study Gregorian chant. What we must do to improve scholarship is to create tools so that information from Syriac and Byzantine studies comes to Western scholars.

Q. Even if Solesmes was a reinforcement of Roman chant, it also looked back to Charlemagne as a national French figure.

A. We have some funny letters between Napoleon III and the pope in which he presents himself as a new Charlemagne.

Q. Tell us about the singers with whom you're working.

A. I always try to break preconceptions about repertoires. Often it's very useful to approach music with people who don't have an idea about this music, but who have a tradition which contains some elements that can help you to understand the aesthetic you're looking for. This is what I've done with Lycourgos Angelopoulos, with Marie Keyrouz. In Corsica they have a tradition of oral singing of polyphony, polyphonic singing with ornaments. For me that's the next step, to figure out how ornaments work in polyphony. Medieval and Renaissance music was highly ornamented, but nowadays all the standard groups just sing the skeleton of this music. I started to work in Corsica twelve years ago. We are doing a catalog of all the music books in Corsica. Now we have started making the recension of the repertoire of the lay confraternities. When I started to work on the Corsican manuscript, I realized that there were musical activities much wider than are conserved now, and I wanted to perform this music with Corsican singers, because they have the style, the key to the performance. It was a very long project, because I had to find singers who were willing to do it, to learn to read music. Most of them didn't want to bother to learn to read music. The first result was the record we did two years ago on the Franciscan manuscripts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. That was the first step. After these musicians started to be able to read music, I thought maybe I could use them in other repertoire, which is what I've done for the Notre Dame repertoire, and for the Machaut Mass we did yesterday in New York.

These singers bring first, an art of ornamentation in polyphony, secondly, a different way of approaching the music, since they're used to working only by ear. I love working with them. I think it's now an open field. It doesn't mean that the sound is that of the fourteenth century, but it's something different from the standard tradition that we're used to hearing nowadays. Very quickly we go back into our usual routine preconceptions. We are so used to hearing these English singers doing very good musical things, like the Hilliard Ensemble, Gothic Voices--it's a preconception of vocal production that works, but it's not all sure that this was the sound of the Middle Ages. It's important to break the preconceptions. The way to perform this music was a hearing way--we're much too linked to the scores, now. When you look at the scores from the fourteenth century, there are plenty of errors. That means the singers were not really reading, they were correcting the mistakes by ear. Working with singers who are used to working by ear brings you a new approach to this repertoire, even if it's more tedious.

We're going to record the Machaut Mass in two weeks. It will be a step in our research--maybe in ten years it will different.
In musicology, like in the sciences, we must have experiments. Too many people are looking for the truth. The truth is not possible, but we can try to see our preconceptions and go further in our reflections. All the performances you can hear are only what the musician have been able to imagine about the aesthetic of the music they are doing. That's why it is so important to get as much information as we can about a specific time, always bearing in mind that what we present is only the fruit of our imagination.


Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2019, 05:05:33 AM
I agree with him that the Vatican II was a disaster for music in the Catholic mass; it ended up producing the "folk mass" and abandoning Latin liturgy.  He overstates the case concerning neume notation.  Those marks are not nearly so clear in their meaning, and almost any melodic interpretation can be arrived at, but the Solesmes tradition has been based on solid scholarly work over hundreds of years and represents, IMO, the best and most reliable translation of neumes to square note/four line notation.

Peres, Poisblaud and Schmelzer (as well as most in the early music genre) often create compelling music, and their recordings are valuable as entertainment.  But I draw a distinction between what they are doing, the motivations behind what they hope to accomplish, and the monks of Solesmes and other monasteries whose prime motivation is not producing commercial recordings but singing chant as part of a prayer service.  Yes, they have captured these services on recordings, and do sell them, but mainly for educational purposes and to document the style of singing chant and the liturgy.

I was raised Catholic and lived through the years of reform in the 1960s. I had been taught the Latin liturgy as an altar boy and learned some chant and clearly remember thinking that changing to English and using newly composed songs much was lost. It was only when my sister described the church she attended (in a monastery in Dallas) that I learned most cities of any size have had at least one church all along where the old liturgy is used and chant is sung. 

It is for these churches that the monks of Solesmes provide a valuable service.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Pat B on June 06, 2019, 09:45:40 AM
...one thing is certain about chant, that no one agreed--that is a constant in the history of chant…
It doesn't mean that the sound is that of the fourteenth century, but it's something different from the standard tradition that we're used to hearing nowadays…
In musicology, like in the sciences, we must have experiments. Too many people are looking for the truth. The truth is not possible, but we can try to see our preconceptions and go further in our reflections. All the performances you can hear are only what the musician have been able to imagine about the aesthetic of the music they are doing. That's why it is so important to get as much information as we can about a specific time, always bearing in mind that what we present is only the fruit of our imagination.

Thanks for posting this.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2019, 03:46:21 PM
Another quote from Dom Eugene Cardine about the nature of chant:

Gregorian Chant is vocal music which is, above all, absolutely bound to its text.  The text is uppermost.  The task of the melody is to decorate the text, to interpret it and to help the hearer assimilate it.  For this chant, this song, is a liturgical act - a prayer to, and a praising of Almighty God.  Its words are sacred, for they are nearly all taken from the Bible - from the Psalter in particular.  The structure and inflections of the melody are patterned on the divisions of the text they punctuate, and generally speaking, on the accents of the words themselves."

This prioritization of the text would seem to imply that excessive ornamentation would be inappropriate.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 06, 2019, 08:09:10 PM
Well no one would say that excessive anything is appropriate!
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 06, 2019, 10:29:22 PM
Well no one would say that excessive anything is appropriate!

There are some short melismatic phrases indicated in the neume notation, almost always at certain cadences.  So, what I am saying is anything improvised beyond what is indicated in the existing notation would be "excessive".  Just because there is a Cypriot chant tradition does not mean that ornamentation improvised by a singer trained in that tradition would be appropriate for Gregorian chant.  After all adding ornamentation, any ornamentation, just to do so because a director feels that it renders the chant more expressive would be an act of individual interpretation and not representative of historical chant performance.  A leap of the imagination without solid evidentiary basis.

Nothing wrong with that as long as the director/performers are honest about what they are doing and do not attempt to make a case that those groups who take a conservative approach are wrong not to embrace that same leap of the imagination.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 06, 2019, 10:57:52 PM
(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1258/4596041061_f03bb432aa.jpg)

Thoronet is an interesting place. It's a C12 cathedral. if you sing in it, the sound reverberates for 13 seconds and harmonics become very audible. This inspired David Hykes to record his recording of Mongolian Throat chanting there, Hearing Solar Winds.

My own favourite chanter, Damien Poisblaud, works there often and has produced several recordings there, including this fabulous recording of the offertory anthem

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81nN647lJ2L._SL1200_.jpg)

Thoronet is Cistercian, and it seems that Cistercian cathedrals were built with this sort of extraordinary acoustic. Look how visually austere the interior is, quite a contrast from its acoustic richness.


(https://thoronet.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/abbaye-du-thoronet022.jpg)

The abbey at Fontfroide is also very resonant, though my impression is that it's less so than Thoronet.  Marcel Peres also was inspired by the acoustic properties of Cistercian locations, and experimented with approaches to Cistercian music there.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/817MExYo-IL._SL1490_.jpg)


This is, if I remember correctly, one of his recordings where the influence of Byzantine and Corsican singing is very subtle if present at all.




Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2019, 08:05:53 AM
There are some short melismatic phrases indicated in the neume notation, almost always at certain cadences.  So, what I am saying is anything improvised beyond what is indicated in the existing notation would be "excessive".  Just because there is a Cypriot chant tradition does not mean that ornamentation improvised by a singer trained in that tradition would be appropriate for Gregorian chant.

I don't know about cypriot, Byzantine is a bit more to the point. Someone who's been trained in the Byzantine tradition may have a very good feeling for how to turn the score into music.

a case that those groups who take a conservative approach are wrong not to embrace that same leap of the imagination.

I think conservatives confuse the score and the music.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 07, 2019, 08:17:46 AM
I don't know about cypriot, Byzantine is a bit more to the point. Someone who's been trained in the Byzantine tradition may have a very good feeling for how to turn the score into music.

Neume notation was deciphered long ago, which brought about translating the nuemes into four line square note notation.  It is highly speculative that any singer from Corsican, Byzantine, Cypriot, Greek or any other background could with any certainty claim that their ornamentation is related in any way to how chant was sung in the 8th century.

Quote
I think conservatives confuse the score and the music.

I disagree; I hear plenty of music in a performance of chant by Solesmes.  I think revisionists confuse their taste with tradition.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2019, 08:27:14 AM
I’ll tell you one thing that really surprised me about this discussion, San Antone, I somehow had the idea that you were an Orthodox Jew, I don’t know how - I vaguely remember wishing you a happy Christmas and you replied saying happy Chanukah, but maybe I’m mixing you up with someone. Anyway for all I know you are Jewish now - it’s just that I was was kind of stunned when you said that you were brought up a Catholic.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 07, 2019, 08:57:59 AM
I’ll tell you one thing that really surprised me about this discussion, San Antone, I somehow had the idea that you were an Orthodox Jew, I don’t know how - I vaguely remember wishing you a happy Christmas and you replied saying happy Chanukah, but maybe I’m mixing you up with someone. Anyway for all I know you are Jewish now - it’s just that I was was kind of stunned when you said that you were brought up a Catholic.

I was raised Catholic but converted to Judaism in 2005.  One thing I learned was that music in synagogue is not very good either.  The Church lost a lot when it modernized the mass and music.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS on June 07, 2019, 09:06:07 AM
I was raised Catholic but converted to Judaism in 2005.  One thing I learned was that music in synagogue is not very good either.  The Church lost a lot when it modernized the mass and music.

I'm not sure most chazzanut (cantorial singing) qualifies as music.  The trop used in public readings of the Torah and accompanying prophetical passages are often merely punctuation guides.  But a good chazzan is expected to have the ability to be highly expressive when the prayers warrant.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2019, 09:15:32 AM
The Church lost a lot when it modernized the mass and music.

Yes, absolutely.

I'll be blunt: what the Second Vatican Council did with respect to Catholic liturgical music amounts to nothing less than a major, imprescriptible theological and cultural crime.  Give me the Latin Tridentine Mass any day and night over what today passes as Catholic "Mass",

A few years ago I attended a Catholic "Baptism Mass". My heart cringed witnesssing it. A few little songs interspersed with a few little electronic piano chords, and the priest barely making any gestures and sounds at all --- awfull, awfull, awfull, theologically and aesthetically offensive.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 07, 2019, 09:56:43 AM
I'm not sure most chazzanut (cantorial singing) qualifies as music.  The trop used in public readings of the Torah and accompanying prophetical passages are often merely punctuation guides.  But a good chazzan is expected to have the ability to be highly expressive when the prayers warrant.

In the synagogue I attended, our cantor used some odd melodies during the Rosh HaShanah service.  "The Cassons Go Rolling Along", was one I never understood.  Gregorian Chant has its origins in the Hebrew prayer melodies of the 4th century.  Apparently, the Jewish service has lost a lot of good music too.

I don't think there is any better liturgical music than chant.  I would sometimes daven at home and would have some playing softly in the background in order to create a more spiritual environment.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Florestan on June 07, 2019, 10:27:36 AM
I don't think there is any better liturgical music than chant.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2019, 12:44:17 PM


Neume notation was deciphered long ago, which brought about translating the nuemes into four line square note notation. 

It's not so simple.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2019, 12:49:09 PM
Thanks for posting this.

I came across an interview with Sister Marie Keyrouze, who works with Peres. I find what she says really exciting because it reveals what Peres means when he says "In musicology, like in the sciences, we must have experiments", and it shows why the notational issues aren't as simple as San Antone wants to have us think. It also suggests that Jerome may not be completely correct when he suggested

Quote
It is easy to pontificate about a subject like ornamentation of chant in the 8th century. There is no documentary evidence whatsoever, one way or the other, so conclusions must be drawn from other evidence

and

Quote
You must study the liturgies of East and West to realize how independently they developed from antiquity

This is my very quick translation from the French.

Quote
I came to Paris in 1987 to complete my doctorate in Religious Anthropology and Musicology at the Sorbonne, a thesis entitle The Role and functions of cult chanting in the oriental churches. At that time MArcel Peres was working on a manuscript of Milanese chant and he invited me to see if the chant of this church had been influenced in some way by the eight modes of the Eastern Byzantine and Syrian churches. . .

The idea seemed to me interesting, obvious even, especially because in Northern Italy there was music before the normalisation of the Gregorian repetoire. Also following the 7th century Muslim invasion of middle and near eastern countries, lots of religious Christians, bishops and archbishops and the faithful, took the path of exile and found themselves in, for example, Northern Italy. In escaping they took with them their most precious things . . . relics, sacred garments, religious instruments and above all their poetry and their chants. . . .

Which elements of the manuscript helped you to see the correspondences between musical traditions which a priori are very separate?

It was a liturgical chant in neumes, accompanied by signs indicating the movement of the chant and above all the vocal fluctuations. There was, quite clearly, some funny little signs under some neumes which the paleographers and musicologist couldn't agree about. Marcel pares had a cool idea. He asked me to sing a passage of this famous manuscript in the 1st mode, but thinking of the first byzantine mode.

But Byzantine music is based on intervals, big medium and small, of 7, 9 and 12 commas, with a notation which is made up of signs which show at the same time the interval and the manner of producing the vocal sound: the ornamentation, the nuances etc. We immediately realised that every time that I embellished, lowered or moved a note following the characteristics of the 1st byzantine mode, it was precisely where there were the famous little signs. So we carried on decoding other pieces in the same way. The more we moved on, the more something became clear: we had brought out melodic cells, entire musical phrases and cadences which we now find in the Byzantine tradition.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 07, 2019, 01:57:33 PM
I came across an interview with Sister Marie Keyrouze, who works with Peres. I find what she says really exciting because it reveals what Peres means when he says "In musicology, like in the sciences, we must have experiments", and it shows why the notational issues aren't as simple as San Antone wants to have us think. It also suggests that Jerome may not be completely correct when he suggested

What she describes is pure speculation, and appears to start with a conclusion, i.e. that Byzantine practice is relevant to interpreting Gregorian neumatic notation - and then, lo and behold, they prove it through singing it that way.  That's not how musicology works.  You first look at the evidentiary evidence and then you see if it leads you somewhere.  You don't begin at the end and cherry pick from some sources to support your hypotheis.

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Here's some information about chant notation from An Overview of Gregorian Chant, Dom Eugene Cardine::

Quote
The oldest notations are very incomplete, though they are irreplaceable for their rhythmic and interpretive indications.  They represent the melodic line in only rudimentary way.  They clearly indicate the number of notes sung to a syllable, but not the melodic intervals between the notes.  They show only the successive movement - up, down or unison.  Quite often, even these general indications exist only for notes represented within the same graphic entity.  A precise indication of size of the intervals (diastematic notation) does not come until later, its speed of arrival more or less depending on the country.  In Aquitania (the South of present-day France and some of Spain), diastematic indications appear from the very beginnings of notation in the tenth century.  They become perfect in the eleventh, with the notes stratified above and below a line traced into the parchment with a stylus.  On the other hand, the melodically imprecise notation called "in campo aperto" (literally "in an open field," that is, without landmarks) or in "pure neums," persisted the longest in the Germanic countries.  In Switzerland it was used right up to the fifteenth century.

So a schematic view of Gregorian chant's manuscript tradition can be divided into three stages: the eight century, which offers the text alone; the tenth century, when "pure neums" appear above the same text; and the tenth to eleventh centuries, when the neums begin appearing stratified with increasing accuracy above and below a line.  This line was imaginary at first, but was later traced with a stylus, and flanked by one or more additional lines.  Among these, according to a system popularized by Guido d'Arezzo in the eleventh century, one was often colored to indicate the location of the note above the half-step - red for "fa", yellow or green for "do".

It is on these three successive planes that a critical restoration of the chant must be based, taking into account an inevitable diminishing of the unanimity of the manuscript evidence at each successive phase, and in the reliability of the musical version put forward.

At the stage where the neums are written on a staff, which is generally made up of four lines, we truly can come into contact with Gregorian chant, but there are two conditions: first, that we neglect none of the interpretative signs which abound in the oldest notations made in "pure neums"; and second, that we retain only those pieces of the repertory from the still earlier manuscripts containing no notation whatsoever.  We can thus arrive at what is called the "foundation layer of Gregorian chant," which can be reconstructed with a fairly satisfactory degree of certainty and precision.

Chant went through a period of decadence from the 16th through the 18th centuries as polyphonic composers began to alter the melodies according to the current style. Palestrina was involved in this effort, and I assume that composers like Dufay who wrote chant contributed to the deterioration.

More from my book,

Quote
After the troubled period at the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries, musicologists took up the research previously begun in France by Father Jean Lebeuf and Dom Pierre de Jumilhac and more particularly by Dom Martin Gerbert in Germany.  Due to the Romantic spirit of the times, these men were drawn to a study of the Middle Ages even more than their predecessors had been.  The most interesting promoter of the movement was Francois-Joseph Fetis.  Dom Gueranger, the first abbot of Solesmes, took an interest in his work and encouraged it, largely because of his own pressing practical needs.  He was looking for good editions of the chant for a group of monks he had just gathered.

There was, however,  major obstacle impeding any real progress.  Although already judged the best, the earliest notations were still indecipherable.  The neums without staves were like Sibylline signs inviting a whole set of fanciful explanations.  None of these seemed to provide the vital, elusive clue needed to unravle the mystery.  A jesuit priest, Father Lambillotte, had already established the principle of collating manuscripts from the different schools, but that was as far as he went.  Then on December 18th 1847, by pure chance, the key to the notation was discovered when Felix Danjou came across the Codex H. 159 of the library of the Montpellier School of Medicine.

This manuscript, which was later published as the eight volume of the Paleographie Musicale (1901-1905) is originally from Sant Benigne in Dijon.  Written for didactic purposes, it contains pieces belonging to the Proper of teh Mass grouped according to their musical categories and tones.  But the manuscript's special importance lies in the fact that there are two notations, one neumatic and the other alphabetical.  Below the French neums, and precisely corresponding with the groups of notes contained in the graphic designs, are minuscule letters going from a to p in a continuous series.  At the time the manuscript was found, many people imagined that it was the rediscovery of "St. Gregory's original."
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2019, 08:37:21 PM
What she describes is pure speculation, and appears to start with a conclusion, i.e. that Byzantine practice is relevant to interpreting Gregorian neumatic notation - and then, lo and behold, they prove it through singing it that way.  That's not how musicology works. 

Have another read of it maybe. 

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2019, 08:39:30 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81nN647lJ2L._AC_UL160_SR160,160_.jpg)

I’ve been playing this non stop the past couple of days, I love it.

Can anyone check to see if it has an interesting booklet and if it does, scan and upload it for me?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 07, 2019, 09:36:37 PM

Here's some information about chant notation from An Overview of Gregorian Chant, Dom Eugene Cardine::




As far as I know, Eugene Cardine proposed himself a radical interpretation of the interpretation of neumes proposed by  Pothier, an approach which put him into opposition with the Solesmes establishment.  Cadine’s own work has been disputed by Jacques Vieret.

My point is not to get to the bottom of all this, I can’t, I’m not part of an academic environment any more. There does seem to be quite a lot of debate about this sort of thing.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 08, 2019, 02:50:35 AM
As far as I know, Eugene Cardine proposed himself a radical interpretation of the interpretation of neumes proposed by  Pothier, an approach which put him into opposition with the Solesmes establishment.  Cadine’s own work has been disputed by Jacques Vieret.

I have seen nothing to suggest that Cardine was in opposition with the Solesmes establishment.  His books are offered on their site, and he is described in glowing terms as one of the most important teachers there for decades.  The lengthy excerpt I quoted from his overview is simply a summation of the historical process that led to the four-line notation of chant and the important manuscripts and scholars along the way.

He does not offer any ideas of his own, certainly nothing that would diverge from their tradition.

Quote
My point is not to get to the bottom of all this, I can’t, I’m not part of an academic environment any more. There does seem to be quite a lot of debate about this sort of thing.

I don't think there is any real debate about the issue of how to interpret chant or the validity of the Solesmes method, which is why I have found this entire discussion frustrating, and what dissuaded Jerome Weber from taking part at GMG.  I do think that there are some revisionist outliers like Peres making some noise.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 08, 2019, 03:11:08 AM


I don't think there is any real debate about the issue of how to interpret chant or the validity of the Solesmes method

You're wrong


Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 08, 2019, 03:29:26 AM
I have seen nothing to suggest that Cardine was in opposition with the Solesmes establishment.

This may be of interest, taken from an interview with Prof. Godehard Joppich (Frankfurt), for a doctoral thesis by Eerik Joks at the University of York (UK)

Quote
Why did Cardine leave Solesmes to go to teach in Rome?


I think that they sent Cardine away from Solesmes. When Joseph Gajard was a schola master and Cardine became more and more aware that Gregorian chant in Solesmes is not properly sung, what happened was that they sent him to Rome. That was the only reason. It is not possible to combine the Cardine and the Solesmes way of singing. It is like
fire and water – this is how Cardine thought.. .

When you met Eugène Cardine in 1957, was his understanding of neumes already fully
developed?

Not completely developed. For example, he was still convinced that each neume has an accent on the first note. This is completely wrong. About 1962‐63, I wrote my first article about torculus specialis. After reading it, Cardine commented: ‘Every neume has accent on the first note, except torculus specialis’.

 Was it the understanding of Joseph Pothier that every neume has an accent on its first note?

Yes, it was Pothier. Mocquereau’s principle was that accents go according to groups of 3
and 2. It is important for history to know how far Cardine’s understanding of neumes was
developed when he came to Rome in 1952. I believe his understanding was already scholarly. In Solesmes at this time, and probably until now, they actually sing according to Pothier’s principles. Anyhow, 21 years ago when Cardine died, they sang according to Pothier’s principles. They never sang according to Mocquereau’s principles. One thing for Cardine was studying neumes but the other was singing according to this study. He was able to study neumes but it was not possible to sing according to this study in Solesmes. Only when he went to Rome did he start to realize his scholarly work. Until then, it was just a study of signs. Perhaps he tried out different possibilities for himself, but to realize this in Solesmes was impossible.
 
How do you think, did Cardine also propose his ideas to Gajard?

I do not think that he spoke about it to Gajard. I am convinced that even if he had shared his thoughts with him, a man like Gajard would never change his manner of understanding chant.

I understand that, but it is a very long time from 1928‐1952. Something must have
become known about his ideas.

His solemn vows were 1930 and he started his work after that. Only then was he able to go alone to the ‘Paleo’ [a manuscript room in Solesmes]. Before taking solemn vows, it was forbidden for novices to go to the ‘Paleo’ unaccompanied. Therefore, only in 1930 did he have a chance to look at the manuscripts. Of course, he did not know at this time what was going to happen – he was just curious to see the manuscripts or the photos of the manuscripts. You can see it here [Godehard takes the Graduel Neumé]. He started with the same piece that I started with 30 years afterwards. He told me that the first pieces he copied were the Introits Exurge,Ciricumdederunt me,  and Esto mihi. Here he started to copy neumes, as he was convinced that it is important to know what neumes communicate to us.


This happened in 1930?

I would not say 1930, but 1932. We will probably never know. Of course, he had his duties in the community. It was not possible for him to sit all day and study manuscripts. I know that he was an organist and he had to accompany singing of psalms during the Office. He had to do it always using the same sequence of chords. He could never change even one chord. I accompanied the Office in my monastery for many years using different registrations and different harmonies. I asked him once why he did not change the harmony. He said ‘No, no, no – I was not allowed. I have to use only these harmonies’. These harmonies were repeated in some cases 20 times, if it was necessary. When Rome asked for one teacher for Gregorian chant in 1952 it appeared to be the best solution to send Cardine to Rome. They used a principle ‘promoveatur et amoveatur’. They were glad that he went to Rome and it was ‘quiet’ again in Solesmes.


I am very interested in this one single question of Cardine going to Rome. I have several
quotes from his friends that he was unhappy about leaving Solesmes. How do you
comment?

I think it is true. When school finished on the day of St Peter and St Paul on 29 June he left Rome immediately. On the same evening, he took a train to Paris where his sister lived and after that, he went straight to Solesmes. He did not stay there for one hour more than necessary. He loved his home and he loved Solesmes. For me it was difficult to study with him in Solesmes. He was a monk of Solesmes and he lived the life of Solesmes in every way. I remember that once I was in Solesmes and we were standing on the opposite sides of the choir. When he was singing he was ‘nodding’ the book according to the rhythm of Solesmes singing style. I admired his love towards his home monastery. I asked him: ‘how can you stay here and still sing Mocquereau’s system?’ He replied that it is not straightforwardly Mocquereau’s system; rather it is Pothier’s system. But Pothier’s system was like [Godehard sings a short example in a rather floating manner but stressing first notes of every neume element]. You can here it on recordings of Solesmes. Cardine was able to adapt to life and singing in Solesmes for three and a half months until he returned to Rome on 15 October. He was happy in Solesmes. He was happy. 


If Gajard was convinced that he was teaching Mocquereau’s system and Solesmes was never actually using it, what was it that he taught?

When he went to teach, he taught Mocquereau, but in Solesmes they still performed according to Pothier. When people came to Solesmes, they were confused, because they did not hear what they had learned from Gajard. If people wanted to hear how Mocquereau’s rhythm sounded they had to go to another monastery, where Mocquereau’s system was followed.   Cardine always told me that it was not possible to switch in the community from one performance practice to another. It was impossible. During the time of Mocquereau, there were still so many monks who sang according to the system of Pothier. It was not possible for Mocquereau’s system to be realised. Novices studied the Mocquereau system but they never performed accordingly in Solesmes.   It would be very interesting to know what was the relationship between Gajard and Cardine. That we probably will never know. 

When was Graduel Neumé finished?

I do not know exactly when it was finished. I think that all neumes were already copied when he was called to Rome. The indexing of course continued. In 1960, I made the first 20 copies of Graduel Neumé by using photos. When they heard in Solesmes that I was already circulating the Graduel Neumé, the director of the Solesmes Editions said that ‘we must print it’. Solesmes printed the first version in 1966. 
[…] 
Cardine’s obligation in Rome was not to teach the performance of chant. There was another teacher for that. Cardine was teaching paleography. I remember that I went to Raffael Barrata to sing. After that, you had to forget everything before you went to study with Cardine, because it was so different. Only when Cardine left Musica Sacra did they start officially to teach semiology.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 08, 2019, 03:57:07 AM
Cardine does refer to a debate, in earlier decades concerning rhythm.  Nowhere does he even address ornamentation since the assumption is that the melodies have been deciphered.

He writes this:

Quote
Obviously, the practical singing of chant should be based on scholarly research also.  No longer is it necessary to fight the excessive, emphatic articulation or hammering of the notes which was so common in the last century (19th).  But today there can still be an exaggerated equalization of notes, a "plainsong," which is in marked opposition to the variety of graphic designs observed in the early notations.  Consequently, in order to avoid the resulting monotony, some singers fall into the trap of embellishing their performance arbitrarily with crescendos, decrescendos, accelerandos, and retardandos inherited from romantic music.  Such practices spell death for the true nature of the chant.

He goes on:

Quote
The correct manner of performing and interpreting is perfectly indicated by the neumatic designs.  They show, for instance, one or more long notes followed by lighter, flowing ones in all sorts of combinations.  Their energy and intensity serves to highlight and color the musical accents suggested either by the text or by the melody itself.  This gives the chant its ever fresh, limitless variety.

He addresses the margin for subjectivity on the part of a singer:

Quote
Of course, there is also a subjective element in singing the chant, just as in any living musical tradition.  For Gregorian chant, it involves establishing the right balance and proportion between all the prescribed variations in the duration and intensity of the notes.  The margin left to the singers for interpreting the chant is really quite large.  However, there can be no authentic expression of the chant if the objective indications provided in the manuscripts are contradicted.

Note that he limits the singers' interpretation to rhythm, phrasing and flow - not ornamenting the melody with extraneous notes.

Here he describes the debates:

Quote
However, it was on the subject of chant rhythm that debates were most frequent and most vehement.  Many experts wrote on the issue, but without having sufficient knowledge of the chant.  Most of them started off with preconceived notions and prejudices - "musical rhythm must be this way and no other ... ." According to all of them, some kind of measured time was absolutely indispensable.  But that was the only point they agreed upon.  Each one advanced his own theory with different explanations and different practical applications.  In general, they tended to limit themselves to only a few selected pieces of the chant.  Sometimes their choice of pieces was purely arbitrary and quite misleading, since unsuspecting readers were led to believe that the rest of the chant repertory was similar to the examples advanced in support of the theory being presented.

Sounds familiar.

Quote
Even performances illustrating these theories could be deceiving.  Take the system of Georges Houdard, with its theory of neumatic beats, for example.  According to this theory, each neumatic entity or syllable has the same time value, regardless of the number of notes involved.  Performance of the chant according to this theory required extraordinary virtuosity and was capable of producing spectacular impressions.  But Mr. Houdard was quite obviously unaware of the very notion of the neum, which the best manuscripts often represent in different ways without altering its signification in the least.  So far, none of the mensuralist systems has been able to stand up to the test of paleographic evidence.  Their authors either totally ignore the evidence, interpret it incorrectly, or disdainfully reject it.

He ends with a section for future research:

Quote
The manuscripts provide the unique link to rediscovering the very life of Gregorian chant performance.  Their evidence is perhaps less direct and less clear on the point of rhythm than it is about the musical construction and the melodic line.  But we must resign ourselves to this fact, and strive in all honesty to discover the surest method of extracting from the neumatic, graphic designs their full meaning in every possible detail.

Such is precisely the object of Gregorian Semiology, a field of study which has already produced significant results over the past century, and which must continue to progress still further.  This science is based on two criteria. The first, which deals more with the material, graphic order, concerns the shape and design of the signs used around the 10th century to transcribe music sounds.  The second, which belongs more to the practical, aesthetic order, concentrates on the musical context in which each sign is used.

I am not transcribing these excerpts in order to convince you of anything, but to put this material in this thread as a baseline reference of the history of chant notation and interpretation.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 08, 2019, 04:07:12 AM
This may be of interest, taken from an interview with Prof. Godehard Joppich (Frankfurt), for a doctoral thesis by Eerik Joks at the University of York (UK)

The Cardine book I've been quoting from is a translation of an earlier book (not sure of the publication date), but copyrighted by Solesmes in 1992, so what Joppich says about Cardine being at odds with Solesmes does not make much sense.

The jacket has this blurb, "The modern liturgical movement owes a great debt to Solesmes monk Dom Eugene Carine (1905-1988), whose tireless research in the ancient manuscripts uncovered the elusive secrets of Gregorian Rhythm, thus revealing some of the original pristine beauty of Gregorian chant."

I think the quote you posted makes more of a controversy than there might have been.  Mocquereau and Pothier worked together, and Mocquereau was responsible for creating the Liber Usualis, the primary book used for daily mass chant. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 08, 2019, 06:25:37 AM
Godehard Joppich is well worth exploring I think, I’ve heard one of his St Gall recordings, a Passion, which is rather relaxing in small doses, and I can see there are a lot more - good singers with a sense of meaning what they’re chanting.

As far as I know there’s nothing on record by Eugene Cardine, maybe he sounded a bit like Joppich. 

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61Sqg4TQvoL._SS500.jpg)

I know that Cardine was interested in manuscripts. And so is Peres. In that anecdote of Marie Kayrouze, you can see how it was marks around the neumes in a Milanese manuscript that prompted the experiment, with very exciting results.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 08, 2019, 05:21:01 PM
Some Mary Berry recordings I've been listening to:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61q9fco8WIL._SY355_.jpg)

The Coming of Augustine

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61JgKpqTKJL._SY355_.jpg)

12th Century Chant

(https://direct.rhapsody.com/imageserver/images/Alb.250384550/500x500.jpg)

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

Wonderful singing.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 08, 2019, 11:19:30 PM
Here's the Castrato Alessandro Moresschi singing a lamentation in a very declamatory style, this style (cantillation ) seems as close to speech as to song. I think people think it's related to the authentic Balkan style in epic poetry -- this is what the Iliad would have sounded like in C5 BC Athens (in my dreams)


https://www.youtube.com/v/F6bdPCVwoMw

This CD contains some amazing cantillation in the sanctus


(http://a51.idata.over-blog.com/200x179/2/84/31/12/Pochette-Messe-des-Morts.jpg)

This is I think Corsican style cantillation, maybe can someone confirm, a lamentation, very good about 2 minutes in whatever it is

https://www.youtube.com/v/KdqqjwE_Rk8

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: aligreto on June 08, 2019, 11:23:15 PM
Cross post from the Listening Thread....


Gregorian Chant:


(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/y2MAAOSwkXRbbXMP/s-l1600.jpg)


Recorded in a warm and slightly reverberant acoustic which greatly enhances the rich tones of the singers. The performance sounds devotional without being academic.


I cannot add anything to the debate but the above old offering was always very pleasing to my ears. There may or may not be a modern digital iteration. It is worth hearing.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2019, 02:15:43 AM
Cross post from the Listening Thread....


Gregorian Chant:


(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/y2MAAOSwkXRbbXMP/s-l1600.jpg)


Recorded in a warm and slightly reverberant acoustic which greatly enhances the rich tones of the singers. The performance sounds devotional without being academic.


I cannot add anything to the debate but the above old offering was always very pleasing to my ears. There may or may not be a modern digital iteration. It is worth hearing.

I was able to find it on Spotify.  Very nice.  Hebert Dopf appears to be Jesuit priest, and it is nice to hear a German group.  Thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: aligreto on June 09, 2019, 02:22:25 AM
I was able to find it on Spotify.  Very nice.  Hebert Dopf appears to be Jesuit priest, and it is nice to hear a German group.  Thanks for posting.

It is only a modest contribution to this interesting thread but you are most welcome. That album got very good press back in the day. I am pleased that you enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 10, 2019, 06:24:05 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81y+GNZtEgL._SS500_.jpg)

I believe that one of the areas that Poisblaud has researched is intonation, and that here they sing in just intonation. The music is astonishing, and anyone who thinks that Gregorian chant is boring will be confounded if they listen to this. It is amazing music making. Poisblaud is clearly resting on the shoulders of  the pioneering work of Peres and Deschamps, but it’s hard to say who’s the giant - him or them. Let’s say, they’re all major.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 10, 2019, 08:45:55 AM
Alleluia has traditionally been a word which has been subjected to vocalise by chanters. Here are some examples I like

Tremendous powerful singing here, by Luc Terrieux

https://www.youtube.com/v/NgIa0BZmxSo

Very touching vocalise here by the Chanterelle Lanza del Vasto, a community in Arche which took its inspiration from Gandhi -- a simple life, natural life.

https://www.youtube.com/v/kG1y5sffjRo

And a polyphonic improvised chant here, by a group of students

https://www.youtube.com/v/4UhFA86vShA&list=PLEGoRwL9yA_NC7M1xOAdtHVDQWGCWVhlQ
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 10, 2019, 10:41:11 AM
Alleluia has traditionally been a word which has been subjected to vocalise by chanters.

I am not sure what you mean, but Alleluia chants are typically melismatic - but this music is notated and not improvised.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 10, 2019, 10:57:00 PM
I'm impressed by the simplicity and austerity of the music in this declaimed Sanctus here.

https://www.youtube.com/v/0K3M7XcMc8c


Contrast with the virtuoso singing of the Absolve here -- what a dramatic interlude in the ceremony, just listening to it made me think how theatrical a mass could be, with readings and dramatic music.

https://www.youtube.com/v/Wd1qaaQ5Hnw

or the bel canto Gregorian Viderunt Omnes -- this sounds fabulous to me when it's sung by a woman singing solo, but I couldn't find anything on youtube, this is a bloke singing solo. Starts after about 1 and a half minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ODh7FEjPS8g&t=1m33s
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 11, 2019, 02:59:26 AM
I just want to put here some preliminary reactions to interpretations 9th century music which I've started to explore a bit more, manuscripts in Switzerland, St Gallen, some of which is attributable to a named poet, Notker (the stammerer -- Balbulus.) I can find three recordings with substantial amounts of the music viz: Joppich, Morent and Vellard

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/562/MI0003562361.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)   (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-DAen8HuL._SX355_.jpg)     (https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/278/MI0003278854.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

The thing I want to point out is that prima facie both Morent and Vellard are fast and inexpressive, while Joppich takes his time to let the musical gestures be felt. It sometimes feels to me as though Morent's and Vellard's singers are going on about a shopping list while Joppich’s are declaiming poetry.

I'm a bit cautious here, I don't think I am but I could be doing Morent and Vellard an injustice. And maybe, just maybe, Joppich is gilding an already beautiful lily and hence spoiling it. I'd be surprised to find either of these things were true, but I'm certainly open to the possibility.

So this makes me wonder how their tempos were determined. And how the details of their expression, of note formation etc -- the vocality and sonority of their singing--  were determined. The booklets to Morent and Vellard are full of paleographic stuff, but they are disappointingly silent about their performance decisions, I don't have the booklet to Joppich (can someone upload it for me?)

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 12, 2019, 08:56:02 AM
Anyone read this?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41KP9ZRWHFL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 13, 2019, 04:42:15 AM
I was pleased to find this review of Joppich’s St Gallen recordings on Amazon because I know that reviews like this are the sign of interesting music making


 
Quote
Chant lovers, including me, who enjoy listening to the monastic choirs of St. Peter's of Solesmes and Santo Domingo de Silos will hate this CD set. I bought it because it had chants that are not in my collection. I do not much like my other chant CD in which Godehard Joppich directs the choir. Therefore, I did not expect this to be my favorite chant CD set. Nevertheless, that CD was at least listenable. This one sounds like a bull in a china shop.

In chant one syllable will often be sung to two pitches which call for a slight diminuendo. In this set the two-pitch diminuendo disappears to almost a whisper. Getting so soft in just two pitches results in what sounds more like gasping than singing. Sometimes the group delivers such a diminuendo on a one-pitch syllable. This jerkiness does not express the meaning of the text, either. On the contrary, it only detracts and distracts from it. It clutters the line. Other words in a phrase are frequently detached to no purpose. Such devices might be effective if used judiciously and strategically. Unfortunately, they occur so often in this that one seldom hears a long, legato, graceful phrase. Such overuse is affectation, not expression


For my part, discovering Joppich has been a bit of revelation of how interesting Roman Catholic chant can sound, in addition the the St Gallen I’ve been enjoying this

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/190374098816.jpg?1449501926)

This may just end up being my favourite setting of the requiem mass.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 13, 2019, 04:58:02 AM
I too appreciate that Amazon review, its first sentence lets me know the recording is not for me.  But I will have to check out recordings by choir of Santo Domingo de Silos.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 13, 2019, 05:50:15 AM
I too appreciate that Amazon review, its first sentence lets me know the recording is not for me.  But I will have to check out recordings by choir of Santo Domingo de Silos.

Yes well they’re much more forceful, alpha male chanting.

 I wonder if Rebecca Stewart was influenced by Joppich in the chant she recorded for the Machaut mass.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 13, 2019, 11:24:25 AM
Yes well they’re much more forceful, alpha male chanting.

Sounds like a completely inappropriate way to sing Gregorian chant, IMO, of course.   8)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 13, 2019, 12:24:07 PM
Sounds like a completely inappropriate way to sing Gregorian chant, IMO, of course.   8)

Yes I agree, but the loud and proud singing style seems quite common in this type of music,  one of the reasons I appreciate Joppich so much is that he is very intimate and quiet and peaceful, as that Amazon review which tickled me so much makes clear.

The big bold male singing style came up for me again recently listening to this recording

(http://resources.wimpmusic.com/images/e3b74d9e/2ebe/4a1f/b0f4/44d597a3c4f5/640x640.jpg)

In quasi-declaimed music like this, I just don’t like their assertive and explosive way of making sounds with their voices. But there’s no other way of experiencing the music, as far as I can see the mass hasn’t been recorded by anyone else.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 14, 2019, 08:59:02 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/BgLZrFHUHLY


This is a bit of music for Palm Sunday called Ingrediente Domino, I don't know if the edition comes out of Solesmes,  what I've been most impressed by is how well made it is tonally -- the way tensions are built up and resolved -- Schubert couldn't have done better than this! I think it's very good.

Was this music written like a song is written for lyrics? The phrases of the words and the phrases of the music seem to fit like hand and glove.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 14, 2019, 09:00:10 AM
Yes I agree, but the loud and proud singing style seems quite common in this type of music,  one of the reasons I appreciate Joppich so much is that he is very intimate and quiet and peaceful, as that Amazon review which tickled me so much makes clear.

The big bold male singing style came up for me again recently listening to this recording

(http://resources.wimpmusic.com/images/e3b74d9e/2ebe/4a1f/b0f4/44d597a3c4f5/640x640.jpg)

In quasi-declaimed music like this, I just don’t like their assertive and explosive way of making sounds with their voices. But there’s no other way of experiencing the music, as far as I can see the mass hasn’t been recorded by anyone else.

And yet in her Abelard, in Planctus David, which I listened to just now, she gets them to sing less spiritedly. But it would be misleading, I think, to say that she gets them to sing the song expressively. If I'm right about that, the interesting question is,  why not?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 14, 2019, 12:05:54 PM
https://www.youtube.com/v/BgLZrFHUHLY




Was this music written like a song is written for lyrics?

Answer: Not exactly. The tune is standard adapted to different words, here's Judas Mercator Pessimus,

https://www.youtube.com/v/YO6BTRV0XOM

The two chants mean different things -- so whatever the relation is between words and music in chant, it's not an expressive one. The role of the music is not to express the ideas in the words.

(I wonder if there examples like this in later music, where (eg) Bach uses the same music in different contexts to set words with totally different emotional content.)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 14, 2019, 01:06:26 PM
The role of the music is not to express the ideas in the words.

My understanding is that chant melodies were designed to elucidate the text, i.e., not utilizing word painting but being especially concerned with making the text understood, getting the accents of the words correctly and phrasing for understanding.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 14, 2019, 08:05:28 PM
My understanding is that chant melodies were designed to elucidate the text, i.e., not utilizing word painting but being especially concerned with making the text understood, getting the accents of the words correctly and phrasing for understanding.

I’d be interested in where you got this idea from - I mean I can imagine it’s a common thing that people say, but I wonder if you’ve looked into it more critically.

Of course the one does not exclude the other - that’s to say the musical content may fit the phrase structure of the words well and the music may contain expressive effects which evoke appropriate sentiments.

Furthermore even if the music isn’t designed in a evocative way, the most effective role of the chanter may still be to sing it in an expressively, so as to let the listener grasp the sense of the words and to move the listener in a way which supports the sense of the words.

A very interesting piece to think about in this respect is the (fabulous) piece Collegerunt Pontifices. Also Jubilato Deo Universa Terra (the chant, not the renaissance motet! ) I’ll try to post something about them later, at least if I can find decent performances of them on YouTube.

Another thing to think about is the evangelist in Bach’s Matthew Passion - there the words matter very much, but chant doesn’t seem to be acting like Bach’s music there. Chant seems more expressive.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 03:17:00 AM
Here's a magnificent thing from the point of view of expressiveness, Collegerunt pontifices

https://www.youtube.com/v/mfs5WmYl694

I just think it would be perverse to say that in this performance the sonority of the chant does not reflect the horrific seriousness (I can think of a better phrase) of the meaning second verse

Quote
But one of them, called Caiaphas, since he was high priest that year, prophesied, saying:
"It is best for you that one man shall die for the sake of the people, lest the whole nation perish."
So from that day they plotted to kill him, saying:
"Lest perhaps the Romans come and take away our home
and our nation."

What I can't say is whether that's due to performance decisions made by these singers, or whether it's due to some intrinsic property of the melody.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 03:33:59 AM
And here's another expressive thing, Jubilate Deo

https://www.youtube.com/v/nugzozGEmiQ

Quote
O be joyful in God, all ye lands:
 sing praises unto the honour of his Name:
O come hither, and hearken, all ye that fear God: and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul.
Alleluia.

So the striking thing is this leaping melisma on the second occurrence of "jubilate", the repetition at the start. Why is there this unusual musical gesture at that point? I think that's a valid question.

Is it soppy to see this as an image in music of the prayer leaping up to heaven. Something needs to be said to account for it.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 03:44:39 AM
And here's Dirigatur oratio mea

https://www.youtube.com/v/nugzozGEmiQ


Quote
Let my prayer be set forth in thy sight as the incense: and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice

Is it just me who hears in the structure of this melody an image of clouds of incense wafting up to heaven?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 07:15:10 AM
And here's one which actually seems to use onomatopoeia, a turtle dove cooing in the melody


https://www.youtube.com/v/gw4Tf3ZAhUE


Quote
The sparrow has found herself a home,
and the turtle dove a nest where she may keep her young:
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 07:29:01 AM
And yet, what can you make of a setting like this, of Deus Deus Meus?

If you look at the words, it's like the most expressive stuff in the world


Quote
1. O God, my God, look upon me; why hast Thou forsaken me?
2. Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
3. O my God, I shall cry by day, and Thou wilt not hear; and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.
4. But Thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.
5. In Thee have our fathers hoped; they have hoped, and Thou hast delivered them.
6. They cried to Thee, and they were saved; they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded.
7. But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men and the outcast of the people.
8. All they that saw Me have laughed Me to scorn; they have spoken with the lips and wagged the head.
9. He hoped in the Lord, let Him deliver Him; let Him save Him, seeing He delighteth in Him.
10. But they have looked and stared upon Me; they parted My garments amongst them, and upon My vesture they cast lots.
11. Deliver me from the lion's mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
12. Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him.
13. There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come; and the heavens shall show forth His justice.
14. To a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

but if you listen to the way it's sung in the Solesmes style, you'd say that the singer doesn't give a damn about the suffering expressed in the poem, he's reprehensibly indifferent to it, and as music it is irredeemably boring

https://www.youtube.com/v/Ztm_vLGh2zA

Well that's how it looks to me. Even as a prayer, I don't see how this can work, but maybe I don't understand prayer. It makes me think of Claudius in Hamlet

Quote
“My words fly up, My thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go”

This is the sort of thing which makes me  think that the Solesmes way isn't the best way. How anyone can think that that interpretation of Deus Deus Meus has an "incomparable power to express prayer" and has a "spiritual effect" or that the singers manifest, indeed can manifest if they sing like that, "perfection . . . in understanding" is a mystery to me and I suspect it's nonsense.


Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 15, 2019, 10:34:05 AM
And yet, what can you make of a setting like this, of Deus Deus Meus?

If you look at the words, it's like the most expressive stuff in the world


but if you listen to the way it's sung in the Solesmes style, you'd say that the singer doesn't give a damn about the suffering expressed in the poem, he's reprehensibly indifferent to it, and as music it is irredeemably boring

https://www.youtube.com/v/Ztm_vLGh2zA

Well that's how it looks to me. Even as a prayer, I don't see how this can work, but maybe I don't understand prayer. It makes me think of Claudius in Hamlet

This is the sort of thing which makes me  think that the Solesmes way isn't the best way. How anyone can think that that interpretation of Deus Deus Meus has an "incomparable power to express prayer" and has a "spiritual effect" or that the singers manifest, indeed can manifest if they sing like that, "perfection . . . in understanding" is a mystery to me and I suspect it's nonsense.

After reading your posts in this thread for a while I cannot help but think that at a fundamental level you do not understand chant, nor its purpose.  You seem to want it to be theatrical, which it most definitely should not be. What you find boring I hear as a decent rendition of the chant: expressive but not drawing attention to the singer.  But why a solo?  It ought to be sung by the choir.

Anyway, that's just my thought after reading your most recent post.

Here's Solesmes doing it - much better all round.

https://www.youtube.com/v/ZJjv9I-VqiY
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 12:33:12 PM
I think my real problem is that I don't know what prayer is.

Here's a better one, solo and longer.

https://www.youtube.com/v/g-3tgsbowUA

You seem to want it to be theatrical, which it most definitely should not be.

 I intend to explore this, as there clearly was in medieval times a close connection between liturgy and drama. There's a whole bunch of things on record with very large chanted sections, which I'd like to get to know better, this is something I dip in to from time to time

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41NDKX6RXKL.jpg)

and this is something I very much enjoy

(https://img.discogs.com/3pTjvQlgnKO-J7LHlyAopTifAVQ=/fit-in/595x519/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2085133-1263141956.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 15, 2019, 12:50:25 PM
I think my real problem is that I don't know what prayer is.

Here's a better one, solo and longer.

https://www.youtube.com/v/g-3tgsbowUA

 I intend to explore this, as there clearly was in medieval times a close connection between liturgy and drama. There's a whole bunch of things on record with very large chanted sections, which I'd like to get to know better, this is something I dip in to from time to time

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41NDKX6RXKL.jpg)

and this is something I very much enjoy

(https://img.discogs.com/3pTjvQlgnKO-J7LHlyAopTifAVQ=/fit-in/595x519/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2085133-1263141956.jpeg.jpg)

There were things like passion plays and music drams such as the Play of Daniel, but regarding theatrical effects entering the worship service, that was strictly frowned upon if not prohibited outright.  As late as the Baroque church authorities were strongly critical of secular styles "infecting" the mass settings. 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 15, 2019, 01:01:41 PM
I think my real problem is that I don't know what prayer is.

This is probably even my problem, and has probably prevented me from getting any serious interest in chant.

Quote from: Mandryka
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41NDKX6RXKL.jpg)

and this is something I very much enjoy

(https://img.discogs.com/3pTjvQlgnKO-J7LHlyAopTifAVQ=/fit-in/595x519/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2085133-1263141956.jpeg.jpg)

But these two I have enjoyed too, along with recordings of the play of Daniel.

What I have heard of the Solesmes  I have found conventional and boring. They really make chant seem endless, which is not the same as timeless.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 15, 2019, 02:11:59 PM
This is probably even my problem, and has probably prevented me from getting any serious interest in chant.

What I have heard of the Solesmes  I have found conventional and boring. They really make chant seem endless, which is not the same as timeless.

Since you admit to not having any serious interest in chant, I take your criticism of Solesmes with a grain of salt.  I have said more than once, they are the reference model, IMO, of how chant ought to be done. 

Chant is sacred music of the most sublime quality, and I consider it highly inappropriate to look for dramatic or theatrical performance aspects, or even to stress solo performance.  Except for short isolated sections sung by the celebrant, the majority of chant is performed by a male choir. 

I suspect Mandryka and, to a lesser extent, yourself are expecting chant to offer attributes that are not native to it.  Separated from the mass experience, chant has become viewed as just another genre of Classical music.  But that is not correct, in my view; it should never be seen as anything but sacred liturgical music, and not to be experienced from a secular perspective.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 08:02:49 PM
Since you admit to not having any serious interest in chant, I take your criticism of Solesmes with a grain of salt.  I have said more than once, they are the reference model, IMO, of how chant ought to be done. 

Chant is sacred music of the most sublime quality, and I consider it highly inappropriate to look for dramatic or theatrical performance aspects, or even to stress solo performance.  Except for short isolated sections sung by the celebrant, the majority of chant is performed by a male choir. 

I suspect Mandryka and, to a lesser extent, yourself are expecting chant to offer attributes that are not native to it.  Separated from the mass experience, chant has become viewed as just another genre of Classical music.  But that is not correct, in my view; it should never be seen as anything but sacred liturgical music, and not to be experienced from a secular perspective.


It looks to me as though you believe Solesmes style chanting of deus deus meus is sublime  (= beautiful?)  but I can’t see this because I’m not a Catholic and I’m not participating in a mass.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 15, 2019, 09:29:15 PM
Interpretations of Deus Deus Meus which find a closer link between music and words are  in these CDs, the Joppich is particularly moving in fact -  he’s here and elsewhere  the best discovery I’ve made since starting this little exploration of chant.

 (https://img.discogs.com/hz7o7r3atTprzEAmT2tNzxqrnIs=/fit-in/600x598/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3832259-1346230705-3167.jpeg.jpg)

(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/PAwAAOSwBp5Zrq42/s-l300.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61UP3aomXQL._SS500.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 15, 2019, 10:44:45 PM

It looks to me as though you believe Solesmes style chanting of deus deus meus is sublime  (= beautiful?)  but I can’t see this because I’m not a Catholic and I’m not participating in a mass.

Just by your use of the adjective "beautiful" you expose your value system as it pertains to chant.  One need not be participating in a mass to listen to chant as I suggest, one need only listen to it without the same aesthetic expectations one might have when listening to Chopin, or Schubert.

The word I used was sublime, which is not synonymous with beautiful in my mind. 

I was taught that the Hebrew the word for holy is etymologically related to the word for separate, the idea is that the holy is distinct from the profane, or more softly, the secular.   This idea is what I am thinking of when I evaluate a chant recording: Does it seem like a holy performance or is it more secular.

I think you should be able to guess which manner of singing I prefer, and not only that, the manner I think is appropriate.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 12:06:52 AM

This idea is what I am thinking of when I evaluate a chant recording: Does it seem like a holy performance or is it more secular.


Godehard Joppich was a Christian and so is Damien Poisblaud, I'd be surprised if Anne-Marie Deschamps and Lykourgos Angelopoulos weren't and we know that Marcel Peres has his roots in the church.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2019, 02:09:47 AM

Chant is sacred music of the most sublime quality, and I consider it highly inappropriate to look for dramatic or theatrical performance aspects, or even to stress solo performance.  Except for short isolated sections sung by the celebrant, the majority of chant is performed by a male choir. 

I suspect Mandryka and, to a lesser extent, yourself are expecting chant to offer attributes that are not native to it.  Separated from the mass experience, chant has become viewed as just another genre of Classical music.  But that is not correct, in my view; it should never be seen as anything but sacred liturgical music, and not to be experienced from a secular perspective.

There are many other kinds of sacred liturgical music. Take f.i. Machaut's messe, which many newer recordings incorporate into a complete service including chant. I can not say, that I look - or listen - for dramatic or theatrical performance neither in the Machaut messe nor in the chant. What I look for is expressivity and not harmless celestial beauty.

BTW which elements in a performance are required in order to indicate it as being holy?
 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 02:49:16 AM
BTW which elements in a performance are required in order to indicate it as being holy?

A selfless performance, one where the performers are not exercising their ego.  This is why choirs are more often used as opposed to solo singers, and why ornamentation is subdued if used at all.

I hear plenty of expressive singing in the Solesmes performances.

Godehard Joppich was a Christian and so is Damien Poisblaud, I'd be surprised if Anne-Marie Deschamps and Lykourgos Angelopoulos weren't and we know that Marcel Peres has his roots in the church.

So? 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 02:58:34 AM

So?

Just thinking of Deus Deus meus, one of these must be true I think   

1. Their performances are holy and you recognise it 
2. They have tried to perform in a holy way and have failed
3. They have not tried to perform in a holy way, they don’t agree with you that it should sound holy
3. Their performances are holy and you don’t see it
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 03:02:47 AM

I hear plenty of expressive singing in the Solesmes performances.



Absolutely, all those examples I posted yesterday!

But NOT in Deus Deus Meus, unless you identify indifference with holiness.  Or identify the absence of any sense of connection with the meaning of the text, with rendering the meaning of the text universal.

 I conclude that not all chant performances are equal in this respect, and I see the expressive flatness of the Solesmes Deus Deus Meus as bad, bad, baddy bad - given the meaning of the text.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 03:22:18 AM
Note two senses of expression in music

1. Intrinsic - the harmonies or the rhythms or some other structural aspect of the score reflects some semantic aspect of the text.
2. Extrinsic - the way the singer creates sounds is designed to elicit a response from the listener, a response which reflects some semantic aspect of the text.

There’s no dispute here (yet!) that Deus Deus Meus is not intrinsically expressive. My beef is with a style of singing which deprives it of extrinsic expressiveness.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 04:26:11 AM
Just thinking of Deus Deus meus, one of these must be true I think   

1. Their performances are holy and you recognize it 
2. They have tried to perform in a holy way and have failed
3. They have not tried to perform in a holy way, they don’t agree with you that it should sound holy
3. Their performances are holy and you don’t see it

My belief is that your first #3 is what is going on.

Note two senses of expression in music

1. Intrinsic - the harmonies or the rhythms or some other structural aspect of the score reflects some semantic aspect of the text.
2. Extrinsic - the way the singer creates sounds is designed to elicit a response from the listener, a response which reflects some semantic aspect of the text.

There’s no dispute here (yet!) that Deus Deus Meus is not intrinsically expressive. My beef is with a style of singing which deprives it of extrinsic expressiveness.

I would disagree that either of those descriptions of expression in music is appropriate to chant.  "Reflecting the semantic aspects of a text" is a dramatic rendition of it.  A sacred performance is not dramatic or theatrical.  A sacred or holy performance expresses the singer's faith and devout reverence for the text as an artifact of God and to celebrate the glory of God as a form of worship.

These texts are canonical, and the performance is part of a ritual.  The last thing that should happen is for the performer to treat it almost operatically, drawing attention to himself and away from the purpose of the chant in the first place, which is to point to God.

To the extent the ego is evident, God is withdrawn.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 04:33:22 AM
Performing/recording chant outside of a liturgical service already puts it outside the realm of the holy.  Entertainment is the purpose of all commercial recordings, but chant has nothing to do with entertainment.

Solesmes recordings are made during a liturgical service and are meant for instruction, not entertainment.  There might be other choirs who do the same thing, but any serious sacred music performed outside of a worship service is being treated inappropriately, IMO.  This why my preferred recordings of the Machaut Messe incorporate all of the liturgical aspects, and in a couple of cases (Parrott's and Mary Berry's, I think) they were, in actual fact, recorded during a service.  Those recordings which strip Machaut music from its liturgical context and offer just the composed sections are 100% wrong-headed.

Of course there are works, e.g. the Brahms Requiem, which are routinely performed at concerts, but I do not think Brahms imagined his work as functional liturgical music.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 04:52:42 AM
A sacred performance is not dramatic or theatrical.

But San Antone, the liturgy is a Middle Ages drama.

Quote from: Hornorius of Autun, Gemma Anime, c.1100, describing the mass
Thus our tragic actor [i.e. the celebrant] represents by his gestures in the theatre of the Church before the Christian people the struggle of Christ and teaches to them the victory of His redemption. Thus when the celebrant says the fratres he expresses Christ placed for us in agony, when he commanded his disciples to pray. By the silence of the Secreta he expresses Christ as a lamb without voice being led to the sacrifice. By the spreading out of his hands he represents the extesion of Christ on the Cross. By the chant of the Preface he expresses the cry of Christ hanging on the cross.

I repeat

Quote
By the chant of the Preface he expresses the cry of Christ hanging on the cross.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2019, 04:56:24 AM
These texts are canonical, and the performance is part of a ritual.  The last thing that should happen is for the performer to treat it almost operatically, drawing attention to himself and away from the purpose of the chant in the first place, which is to point to God.

I thought the essence of chant was the words. A good performer may well manage to draw the appropriate attention to the text without drawing attention to himself.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 05:10:09 AM
But San Antone, the liturgy is a Middle Ages drama.

I repeat

No, it isn't.  The Catholic Mass is not a play; it is a worship service.  I don't care how many people you quote, if they say otherwise, they are simply wrong and probably have a non-religious agenda.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2019, 05:10:26 AM
Entertainment is the purpose of all commercial recordings….

I do not think this is true. There are lots of recordings with spiritually elevating or educational purposes.

Quote from: San Antone
Solesmes recordings are made during a liturgical service and are meant for instruction, not entertainment.  There might be other choirs who do the same thing, but any serious sacred music performed outside of a worship service is being treated inappropriately, IMO.  This why my preferred recordings of the Machaut Messe incorporate all of the liturgical aspects, and in a couple of cases (Parrott's and Mary Berry's, I think) they were, in actual fact, recorded during a service.  Those recordings which strip Machaut music from its liturgical context and offer just the composed sections are 100% wrong-headed.

I haven't got the time to sit through a whole service just to hear Machauts messe or part of it. And you can say, that I do not hear it in its true context, but having heard the context a few times, the context is in my mind, and I do not need to hear it all the time.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 05:12:37 AM
I thought the essence of chant was the words. A good performer may well manage to draw the appropriate attention to the text without drawing attention to himself.

The words are standard texts either from the Bible, Psalms mostly, or the Mass or the Daily Office services.  These are well known to devout Catholics, nothing new there.  What chant brings to the experience are the melodies.  These are designed to enhance the understanding of the text and to focus the mind on God.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 05:15:06 AM
I do not think this is true. There are lots of recordings with spiritually elevating or educational purposes.

Then strictly speaking they are not commercial recordings.

Quote
I haven't got the time to sit through a whole service just to hear Machauts messe or part of it. And you can say, that I do not hear it in its true context, but having heard the context a few times, the context is in my mind, and I do not need to hear it all the time.

That is neither here nor there.  How you choose to listen to Machaut's mass has nothing to do with its purpose nor his expectations of how it will be heard. And anyway I was not talking about how an individual might listen to it, but how it is performed/recorded.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 05:38:10 AM
No, it isn't.  The Catholic Mass is not a play; it is a worship service.  I don't care how many people you quote, if they say otherwise, they are simply wrong and probably have a non-religious agenda.

What!. Honorius of Autun was a fucking monk and a recluse, a hermit, who studied with St fucking Anselm. He was a popular christian writer, he wrote about theology and stuff like that.  If he's not a catholic, a bloody devout one, I'll eat my hat.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2019, 05:46:16 AM
How you choose to listen to Machaut's mass has nothing to do with its purpose nor his expectations of how it will be heard. And anyway I was not talking about how an individual might listen to it, but how it is performed/recorded.

I think you mentioned what you prefer yourself:

Quote from: San Antone
This why my preferred recordings of the Machaut Messe incorporate all of the liturgical aspects....

I just stated, that I prefer the Machaut messe performed in the most often recorded way, which is without chant.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2019, 05:51:33 AM
The words are standard texts either from the Bible, Psalms mostly, or the Mass or the Daily Office services.  These are well known to devout Catholics, nothing new there.  What chant brings to the experience are the melodies.  These are designed to enhance the understanding of the text and to focus the mind on God.

A little addition to correct any mistakes about what I meant:

A good performer may well with the help of the music manage to draw the appropriate attention to the text without drawing inappropriate attention to himself.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 06:12:26 AM
What!. Honorius of Autun was a fucking monk and a recluse, a hermit, who studied with St fucking Anselm. He was a popular christian writer, he wrote about theology and stuff like that.  If he's not a catholic, a bloody devout one, I'll eat my hat.

I can only assume he was not implying that primarily the Mass is theatre or drama, but was using figurative language.  The Mass is simply not intended to be drama.  All religious services are meant to channel the congregation's expression of faith, belief in and worship of God.  This is very different from a Shakespeare play.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 06:17:56 AM
I just stated, that I prefer the Machaut messe performed in the most often recorded way, which is without chant.

Nothing wrong with that - as long as you don't go further and say that your way was the intention of Machaut.  He intended it to be a mass setting, which means the entire mass with Machaut's composed sections worked in between the other liturgical sections. 

A good performer may well with the help of the music manage to draw the appropriate attention to the text without drawing inappropriate attention to himself.

I agree - but again, chant is normally performed by a choir, not a solo singer.  So, your focus on an individual singer displays a priority I do not think is primary to chant.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 08:21:10 AM
These [chant melodies]  are designed to enhance the understanding of the text

How do they do that? Maybe take Deus deus meus as an example.

These are well known to devout Catholics, nothing new there. 

But it's in Latin.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2019, 08:29:01 AM
Nothing wrong with that - as long as you don't go further and say that your way was the intention of Machaut.  He intended it to be a mass setting, which means the entire mass with Machaut's composed sections worked in between the other liturgical sections.
 

I would never dream of questioning the fact, that Machaut's messe was meant to be part of a service.

Quote from: San Antone
I agree - but again, chant is normally performed by a choir, not a solo singer.  So, your focus on an individual singer displays a priority I do not think is primary to chant.

The rather indifferent singing style of Selesmes in Deus Deus Meus reduces it in a way to background music for religious dreaming, kind of minimalist "Gebrauchsmusik". I often have this feeling, when I listen to chant. With a few exceptions (some kinds of dance music) I think background music is unsuited for listening, and my problem with chant is maybe, that I expect and need more "substance" in the music I listen to.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 08:29:33 AM
He intended it to be a mass setting, which means the entire mass with Machaut's composed sections worked in between the other liturgical sections. 



What would be interesting is to know how the propers relate to Machaut's ordinarium settings. Do we even know which propers would have been used? Are there musical relationships which unify all the sung components of the mass into a single cycle? If not I can't really see much point of listening to the whole shooting match at home, while sipping a glass of wine and glancing at a magazine etc.  (I think we've discussed this in the past and I think you knew the answer, I'm sorry I just can't remember)

Don't forget that even if you listen to all the chanting you're hardly recreating any sort of mass experience anyway -- no host, no celebrant etc.

I suppose there's a point about texture. Machaut must have intended the new sounding polyphony to contrast with the familiar sounding Gregorian material.  But we're all very familiar with polyphony, and indeed Machaut's mass, so that's not going to work unless the ordinary settings can be rendered in a suitably disorienting novel way . . . shades of Schmelzer here  >:D
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on June 16, 2019, 08:43:55 AM

I suppose there's a point about texture. Machaut must have intended the new sounding polyphony to contrast with the familiar sounding Gregorian material.  But we're all very familiar with polyphony, and indeed Machaut's mass, so that's not going to work unless the ordinary settings can be rendered in a suitably disorienting novel way . . . shades of Schmelzer here  >:D

I see what you mean, but then the question of HIP or non-HIP becomes rather irrelevant, and we are only dealing with taste. And afterwards we can discuss who has got the best taste
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 09:34:51 AM
How do they do that? Maybe take Deus deus meus as an example.

But it's in Latin.

[edited this post taking out some extraneous material on the Mass, which I was not sure about.]

"Deus, Deus Meus" is associated with Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter).  There are a variety of hymns that can be sung, but usually one is chosen which has to do with the mass of that day.  In this case, Palm Sunday, the text chosen has to do with Jesus' suffering. But the text itself is a Psalm, #22, which predates the time of Jesus by about 1,000 years or more, i.e the time of David.

There is absolutely no basis to assume that the choir must sing this hymn as if they were enacting Jesus in Gethsemane.  In fact that is a rather superficial way of thinking about the purpose of these chants and how they work in a mass.

Solesmes simply sing the text as it should be done, straight-forward, without making a big show of it.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 16, 2019, 10:12:38 AM


"Deus, Deus Meus" is associated with Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter).  There are a variety of hymns that can be sung, but usually one is chosen which has to do with the mass of that day.  In this case, Palm Sunday, the text chosen has to do with Jesus' suffering. But the text itself is a Psalm, #22, which predates the time of Jesus by about 1,000 years or more, i.e the time of David.


Excellent.thank you




There is absolutely no basis to assume that the choir must sing this hymn as if they were enacting Jesus in Gethsemane.  I



I can well imagine that it would an unusual way of doing it in a mainstream white middle class Catholic church in London. But given what Honorius of Autun says it may have been the way it was sometimes done c. 1100.


  In fact that is a rather superficial way of thinking about the purpose of these chants and how they work in a mass.



What would a deeper way be to think of the purpose of these chants and the way they work? In particular, I'd be interested in any ideas you have about the relation of the music and the text. Liturgy in the middle ages was a dramatic affair, with ritual gestures and props and very emotional texts. The question we're concerned with is the role of music in all of that.




Solesmes simply sing the text as it should be done, straight-forward, without making a big show of it.

You're begging the central question of this discussion. That's BAD!!!!!

But let me note that all this started with an appraisal of the idea that the Solesmes way is authentic, it captures the way things were done in the early western church. That's why it's relevant to be enquiring about medieval liturgical practices, and why I was keen to introduce medieval dramatic liturgies into the discussion.




Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 16, 2019, 11:50:35 AM
I can well imagine that it would an unusual way of doing it in a mainstream white middle class Catholic church in London. But given what Honorius of Autun says it may have been the way it was sometimes done c. 1100.

That is your assumption based on one quote you have selected and posted.  I am not convinced that the Medieval church service was done dramatically, and would be very surprised if it were.  As I've posted previously, church authorities were quite explicit in keeping secular styles out of the sacred music and for a long time after the Middle Ages.

Quote
What would a deeper way be to think of the purpose of these chants and the way they work? In particular, I'd be interested in any ideas you have about the relation of the music and the text. Liturgy in the middle ages was a dramatic affair, with ritual gestures and props and very emotional texts. The question we're concerned with is the role of music in all of that.

My impression is that we've already had this discussion; it seems you keep asking the same question, whereas my answer will not change: ego-less, selfless, non-individualistic, i.e., a holy performance.  Absolutely not theatrical or dramatic; the chant mostly sung by a choir, not as a solo performance.

Quote
But let me note that all this started with an appraisal of the idea that the Solesmes way is authentic, it captures the way things were done in the early western church. That's why it's relevant to be enquiring about medieval liturgical practices, and why I was keen to introduce medieval dramatic liturgies into the discussion.


Well, to be honest you've only quoted one source, without any context for the quote.  But, I have no reason to doubt the scholarship of the Solesmes monks, and considering their motivation, and history, theirs is probably coming at this whole question from the correct orientation..
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 18, 2019, 10:52:37 AM
Damien Poisblaud on the offertories

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Introduction

The Latin liturgical chant that is called 'Gregorian in fact stems from different repertoires ran-ging from Spain to the Gauls of the Northeast, by way of Aquitaine (in southwestern France), Northern Italy and... Rome. The decision to record these Great Offer-tories was guided by a desire to bring out the richness of the purely Hispano-Frankish portion of this 'Gregorian repertoire. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the latter is generally known essentially as choral singing, but History also offers us as a marvellously rich solo re-pertoire calling for the virtuosity of highly experienced cantors.

The long melismas that we encounter in the verses of these anthems show the fantastic develop-ment that these pieces underwent towards the Carolin-gian era. Having progressively fallen into oblivion since the Middle Ages, it would nonetheless seem that they represented the 'cantors bravura piece'.

Melismatic singing customarily means or-namented singing. All musical traditions, be they western or eastern, attest to the importance of vocal ornaments. Moreover, the earliest Latin manuscripts systematically note this, and the extreme precision with which these vocal effects were written down leads us to suppose this that was a general practice in which cantors had to de-monstrate certain know-how. Voce et arte, 'with voice and art', as Raban Maur taught in 840.

Although synonymous with an accom-plished art, ornamentation can nonetheless become a pitfall in which the music can get bogged down or the text is lost. More than an appendix for embellishment, it fulfils the essential function of articulation within a melodic movement. This is what allows for finding the the right supports, meting out the voice's energy, accenuating what should be accentuated so that the melody finds its dynamic balance and that the text is thereby well 'spoken'.

The modern western singer must therefore be particularly careful as to the sense that this ornamen-tation may have. Far from being a difficulty to overcome, it will, on the contrary, help in finding the appropriate intervals (if possible, non-tempered), organising the melodic development and furthering the emergence of the text. The inflections of his voice will espouse the ex-tremely precise graphic notation of mediaeval copyists, whose pen basically only transcribed what the ear was hearing. He will have to discern what comes from the vocal process or from the melodic development itself.

The injunctions of Gregory the Great (590-604) for curbing the extravagances and vanity of the virtuoso cantors should not make us overlook the constant concern of the Latin Church to glorify the Word of God through church singing. 'Let the young man be lacking in neither presence nor agility,' taught Master Alcuin. The cantor must achieve this libertat canendi, which Amalaire de Metz learnt from his teacher, Alcuin—doubtless the freedom of a singer who has thoroughly mastered his art...


The musical composition makes these offertory anthems a unique repertoire by the brightness of the colours, surprising contrasts and extraordinary freedom of expression. The gestures and postures of the characters evoked recall those found in medieval iconography or stained-glass windows: Moses prostrate, turning his face towards Him whom he beseeches; Job, overwhelmed by his ruin, lifting his eyes towards Heaven from whence he awaits new happiness (ut videat bona...); God rushing down the slopes of Mount Sinai to meet Moses or the faces, model the bodies, make praying, imploring passing in the breath of a breeze (dum pertransiero...). breasts thrill, and smile at the intense life palpitating in Here, it is up to the voice to paint the colours, sculpt the heart of the notes!
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 18, 2019, 11:07:43 AM
The Great Offertories by Mathieu Smyth

Quote
The Great Offertories

The Carolingian liturgical chants known as 'Gregorian' are not authentically Roman but are hybrids built on a Roman foundation. Yet, even recently, a cer-tain taboo hovered over the subject of the real impact of the Carolingian hybridisation. For apologetic moti-ves, consecutive to the history of the restoration of this repertoire at the turn of the 20th, it was necessary that Gregorian chant be Roman. However, this repertoire was not purely Roman any more than the rest of the Roma-no-Frankish liturgy imposed by the Carolingians. They sought to replace the old liturgy of the Gauls by the Ro-man liturgy but succeeded above all in bringing about the blending of the two rites.

 Since taking into account the 'old-Roman books, which enlighten us a bit about the pre-Carolingian Roman liturgy, since Dom Jean Claire's discovery of a musical modality that is specifically non-Roman, including His-pania, Gaul and Lombard Italy, and especially since the delimitation of a Hispano-Gallican repertoire within the offrrtoria of the Romano-Frankish gradual, we can no longer ignore that the Romano-Frankish repertoire is the fruit of a hybridisation and lack of education: 'Gre-gorian chant is that which was born outside Rome and spread primarily in France under cover of the name of Pope Saint Gregory, beginning at the end of the 8th cen-tury [...] Gregorian chant is the product of the Pippino-Carolingian liturgical renaissance, which introduced in France a new liturgy labelled "Roman" to replace the Gallican liturgy".

Dom Jean Claire brought to light the predilection of the Milanese, Mozarabic and Gallican repertoires for the archaic recitation note (the 'mother note') of D. Within this modality, the dominant and fi-nal remain on the same D, this being surrounded by its 'mother-cell': A-C-D (but the degrees designated by these notes are part of a diatonic scale, the hexachord defined by Guido of Arezzo in the llth century, which has only an analogical value in relation to melodies ela-borated outside this context—above all if we view this scale via our modern tempered scale). This dynamic musical structure normally corresponds to what theorists of the Latin ocroechos (the eight musical church modes) defined a posteriori as the plagal protus, or second mo-de—when the piece is identified as such, this being far from automatic—, of which the final is in D (or A when this mode is transposed to the fifth) and whose dominant is located a minor third above. However, this principle is sure only for the pieces that are, liturgically and mu-sically, the most archaic: psalmodies, holiday anthems, tracts or recitatives, whose age we know through other channels. It was not easy to change a melody rooted in the oral tradition: 'The Roman cantors having left again, the Gallican cantors set to work [...). As concerned the texts common to both liturgies (Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater, Te Deum), they simply kept their traditional Galli-can melodies. (...1. As for the cantilated texts, they took the texts from the Roman [.. .] but kept their traditional cantilation tones (D)

Fortunately, there exist other means besi-des just musical archaeology for updating the origin of a piece. Comparing the Visigothic, Milanese, Romano-Frankish aid old-Roman repertoires, Kenneth Levy, in his article 'Toledo, Rome, and the Legacy of Gaul', had no trouble showing that the famous series of non-psal-mic 'offertories' of the Gregorian antiphonaries could not have come from Rome even though the old-Roman books had taken them in'. It was quite some time be-fore someone perceived the non-Roman origin of these pieces accompanying the procession of offerings before the Eucharist. The strength of prejudices as to the purely Roman nature of the 'Gregorian' forbids it, except for a few more perspicacious minds like Dom Louis Brou'.

The Romano-Frankish series of these offir-toria is, in fact, part of a much vaster, fairly homogeneous series centred on the sacrificial themes of the Exodus, which is found in Milan and, especially, in Hispania'. In Hispania, unlike the old-Roman books in which they are the exception, non-psalmic sacrificia are the rule. Close study of the sources showed early on that the Roma-no-Frankish and Hispanic lessons are much better than those in the old-Roman books. The series is more exten-sive and its texts richer. Rome seems to have restricted it-self to undergoing the Romano-Frankish 'reflux'. On the other hand, the agreement of the Romano-Frankish and Hispanic pieces, between the texts as much as between the melodies, is often quite distinct. Even though we are not yet able to decipher the neumes of the Leon Antiphonary, it is possible to compare them with the Frankish neumes. Whereas Rome still favoured the singing of psalms and avoided centonisation and paraphrase, this was, on the contrary, a characteristic of our series of offer-tories, which does not deprive itself of arranging the text, in the manner of Hispanic lectionaries. What's more, the biblical text is close to those of the Hispanic lectionary and of the Gallican lectionary of Luxeuil. In addition, there is a parallel between the sacrificial typology drawn from the Exodus of these texts and the glosses of Isidore of Seville (De ecclesiae officiis I, 14) concerning the rites and the hymn that precede the Eucharistic sacrifice. Isidore's text indicates that he already knew a chant in this spot (the sacrificium) rela-ted to our series of offertories. This sacrificium is none other than the so-called sonar chant, which several Gallican sources situate being sung before the Eucha-ristic prayer, when the offerings are placed on the altar. If we take as a basis the first Frankish antiphonaries of the Mass, we can establish the following list: Aue Ma-ria (Le 1; but which is surely from the Carolingian era); Sicut in holocaust° (Dn 3); Angelus domini (Mt 28); In die solemnitatis (Ex 13): AMS 84; BCKS (Thursday in albis); Erit uobis (Ex 12); Precatus est Moyses (Ex 32); Oraui (Do 9); Sanctificauit (Ex 24); VIr mat Oh 1); Rlcordare (Est 14); Domine Dew in simplicitate (1 Ch 29); Oratio mea Oh 16); Stetit angelus (Ap 8); Audi Is-rael (non-scriptural and Ps 80); Viri Galilei (Ac 1); Foe-tus as repente (Ac 2); Elegerunt apostoli (Ac 6). We find in Leon: Oraui; Erit uobis; Sanchficauit; Domine Dew in simplicitate; Stair angelus; Foetus es repent• Elege-runt apostoli; certain pieces are also found in Milan.

We can thereby enlarge this Hispano-Galli-can series to certain responses of the Frankish dedication present in the anthems of the antiphonaries of the Ro-mano-Frankish service (dating from the 9th to the 12th centuries). Certain isolated elements related to this series of offertories are found finally in the Aquitaine books from the 11th and 12th centuries such as the Gaillac Gradual (Paris BNF lat. 776) or that of Saint-Yrieix (Pa-ris BNF lat. 903). One can thus add the 'sacrificial' offer-tories Altaria tuts, Holaucausta medullarta, lustorum ani-mae, Immaculatus hostiarum pieces, Sacerdotes Domini... The Aquitaine books are known, moreover, for contai-ning a rich repertoire of pro defimctis pieces of non-Ro-man origin, as well as preces litanies and anthems for the fraction stemming from the Hispano-Gallican ritual.

Even though limited, the series in its Mila-nese ver8ion has a few Hispanic pieces absent from the Frankish books, or provided with a lesson more conso-nant with the Hispanic version. There are other, non-psalmic offertories unique to Milan, such as the highly theophanic Ecce apertum est remplum of the Nativity, which is close to Armenian and Syriac chants, originally from Jerusalem, for the procession of contributions.

The Leon series is by far the richest (the texts being longer and more numerous), even though certain pieces present in Gaul are lacking. There is hardly any doubt that their origin must be sought in the penin-sula, during the golden age of the Visigoth kingdom in the 7th century or even a bit earlier. A few clerics there apparendy got in the habit of imitating the eastern cus-tom of singing a hymn during the procession of gifts but without servility, resorting to a repertoire endowed with a very particular set of themes. From there, it allegedly spread in various forms throughout the rest of Hispania. Shortly thereafter, Milan and Gaul received part of this repertoire in relatively archaic form. Whereas Gaul and Milan would preserve the repertoire more or less as was—enriched by a few local pieces composed subsequently—, Hispania would continue to develop it. In fact, the pie-ces with two or three long verses from the Leon Anti-phonary constitute a systematic re-elaboration of a much older, much more limited Hispanic repertoire, but already more substantial than those of Gaul or Milan; this is attested to by the Hispanic lessons from the old ma-nuscripts. For its part, the Gallican version would be set once it was inserted into the Romano-Frankish gradual to fill in the gaps in the repertoire of Roman offertories.


Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 18, 2019, 11:42:33 AM
I think Deus Deus Meus is not an offertory hymn but a tract, something more sober:

Quote
In their final form, tracts are a series of psalm verses; rarely a complete psalm, but all of the verses from the same psalm. They are restricted to only two modes, the second and the eighth. The melodies follow centonization patterns more strongly than anywhere else in the repertoire; a typical tract is almost exclusively a succession of such formulas. The cadences are nearly always elaborate melismas. Tracts with multiple verses are some of the longest chants in the Liber Usualis.

However, none of this is improvised; the entire melody (including melismatic cadences) is notated.

I guess our main dispute is over the aspect of improvised ornamentation; i.e., if an Eastern church tradition, e.g. Byzantine, can offer clues as to how to perform Roman chant. I see no reason to assume Byzantine chant performance history offers any indication of how Western, i.e. Roman, chant ought to be done. 

And to add to this, since chant's primarily function is how it is used in church services, either the mass or offices, then how the church wishes chant to be performed takes precedence, IMO.  How a musician such as Marcel Peres thinks the chant is most imaginatively performed might produce wonderful music, and can be enjoyed on its own merits - but my other dispute with you is this idea that Peres' performance is more correct/authentic than Solesmes.

Peres' chant recordings are musically very rewarding - but they are a different animal entirely than the sacred liturgical chant as is done by Solesmes.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 05:43:40 AM
My belief is that your first #3 [3. They have not tried to perform in a holy way, they don’t agree with you that it should sound holy ] is what is going on.






This is what he says he's up to.

What I find so impressive about what you say is that you are able to tell what is holy and what is not.

Quote

Les Paraphonistes

This ensemble came into being when its members met and sang through the score of the Messe des Morts (1840) in the silence of the small Cistercian abbey of Leoncel in the Vercors. The deep emotion aroused by this first reading of the requiem traced the aims of the ensemble.

 These are to restore the extraordinary evocative force of Gregorian plain-song ; to present church song in its different performance modes as a locus of intense emotion apt to lead the listener to a certain kind of interior experience (" ut per oblectamenta dulcedinis, animos incitent audientium ", Council of Aix, 816); to give the best possible performances of all kinds of texts drawn from the Holy Scriptures with a view to enabling audiences to absorb and contemplate the words in their " flesh " of sound; and to give justice to a repertoire on the brink of extinction after fifteen centuries of use for prayer throughout the Latin West.

These general objectives guide the ensembles decisions when seeking the necessary but delicate balance between historical authenticity and contempo-rary sensibilities. With regard to the Funeral Service, restoring peace of mind through the acceptance of bereavement, inspiring serenity in the face of death, and providing a dignified departure from this world for the deceased were at least as important as the pursuit of fine singing. In fact, these non-musical objectives were the main concerns of chanters in bygone ages.

Les Paraphonistes are experienced performers of early church music and share a common enthusiasm for restoring the incomparable appeal of this astoni-shingly sober, yet extremely powerful, form of song.

Damien Poisblaud
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 05:54:47 AM




An essay by Jean-Yves Hameline on The Solemn Requiem Mass Plainsong Et faux-bourdon for four parts (Cambrai, 1840)

Quote


What is today known in France as chant gregorien, a chant repertoire with monastic origins, came about in the late 19th century as the result of a long campaign by musicians and churchmen to reform church singing, the current practice of which they considered unworthy of their attempts to renew the historical foundations and " artistic " criteria of the liturgy. The Vatican Edition of Gregorian Chant commissioned by Pope St Pius X made the new reper-toire widely known, despite the fact that it was not always properly performed. This widespread adoption of Gregorian chant unfortunately masked, indeed ous-ted completely, the forms of chant previously in use in some of the older Catholic countries. This was unfortunate, because the older forms constituted a large reservoir of custom and inherited competence combining learned and popular elements passed down orally from one generation of chanters to the next over many centuries.

This recording contains excerpts from the plainsong Requiem Mass and Funeral Service. Plainsong was the result of a thousand years of continuous trans-formation and adaptation of ancient Roman-Gregorian chant. In 1840, when the Cambrai chantbooks used here were printed, plainsong was generally performed slowly and gravely, with variations of tempo depending on the degree of solem-nity of particular church feasts. This kind of chant was " ritual " rather than " artistic ". However, it could be extremely moving, more on account of its appropriateness to situation than owing to any expressive intention. Depending on local resources, it involved the participation of priest, chanter and congrega-tion. In larger churches, it was common to add a choir of clerics and (when requi-
red by the ceremonial) an organ which alternated with the chanters and congre-gation and accompanied the passages sung by all. The chanters robed in cassock or surplice stood at the lectern, generally placed between altar and nave to underline their role as intermediaries between the congregation and the clergy. They performed the plainsong from the old square and diamond notation contai-ned in large songbooks or smaller manuals which could be carried in processions and at the cemetery. Gustave Courbet's famous painting " Enterrement Ornans " shows them standing on the brink of the grave, stiff yet familiar, confi-dent in their function and appearance, suggesting a robust and firm style of sin-ging. In town churches with sufficient financial resources, the chanters, never numerous, were sometimes joined by a few choirboys. Occasionally, the singing at the lectern was supported by an ophicleide, serpent or double-bass, though these instruments were superseded later in the century by a harmonium or small pipe organ. Depending on the degree of particular feasts, the nature of particular services and the resources available, different kinds of plainsong performance were found. Faux-bourdon is one of the most ancient and most prestigious of these.


Castil-Blaze's Dictionnaire de Musique moderne (1825) describes faux-bour-don as " a form of plainsong composition written note-for-note, in which the plainsong is generally placed in the tenor against a bass proceeding in perfect chords ". Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Dictionnaire de Musique (1768) saw it as " a simple and measureless form of chant with almost equal notes and constantly syl-labic harmony ". Clearly, no one saw faux-bourdon as a musical genre in itself, rather as a sub-species of plainsong to which it owed its melodic implementation of text, its slow sustained tempo and its simultaneous declamation of the same syllables of the text by all the voices. In addition, its balanced use of the four parts, the fact that it placed the plainsong inside this vocal envelope rather than at the top as in accompanied chant, and its clear round progression of perfect chords made it admirable spatial music, a second sanctuary of sound investing the place of performance and allowing those present to harken close, drawn to the majesty of the church, the sacred ceremony and the solemn circumstances. The allure both familiar and hieratic of church faux-bourdon made it particularly appropriate to express the grave solemnity of the requiem mass and funeral service. However, the municipal undertakers' tariffs in Paris made it expensive. In the early 1850s, a third class funeral (there were nine classes in all) involved four chanters at 2 francs apiece, two serpents at 2 francs apiece, four clerics at 1 franc apiece, six choirboys at 75 centimes apiece plus 60 francs as " extra fee for chanting in counterpoint with faux-bourdon or faux-bourdon alone ". Even so, this was only half the cost of the hearse with its " bronze gallery, plummets, black drapes with silver stars, fringes and tassles, and pair of plummeted horses". In smaller country towns, however, it was probably more common for just one chanter, one choirboy, one serpent player and the officiant priest to perform the universally known and expected faux-bourdon of the Dies irae and De profundis, presumably at less cost.

This recording may be heard as a revelation of a widespread and highly convincing form of church singing, which it would have been unfair to commit to oblivion.


Jean-Yves Hameline Translated by Roger Greaves
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 19, 2019, 07:59:49 AM
What I find so impressive about what you say is that you are able to tell what is holy and what is not.

It is very simple, IMO, chant divorced from a celebration of the mass is not "holy" since the context is secular, i.e. sung (however emotionally or expressively) for a recording to be marketed commercially.  There is nothing wrong with making a commercial recording of chant, but it is entirely different than chant sung as part of the mass, which is first and foremost a worship service whose primary function is to glorify and praise God and is an example of Catholic religious practice.  A recording made of that service does not negate its religious context, which is the holy environment.

I do not know why that appears to be hard for you to grasp.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 08:31:35 AM
It is very simple, IMO, chant divorced from a celebration of the mass is not "holy" since the context is secular, i.e. sung (however emotionally or expressively) for a recording to be marketed commercially.  There is nothing wrong with making a commercial recording of chant, but it is entirely different than chant sung as part of the mass, which is first and foremost a worship service whose primary function is to glorify and praise God and is an example of Catholic religious practice.  A recording made of that service does not negate its religious context, which is the holy environment.

I do not know why that appears to be hard for you to grasp.


Ah. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a holy recording, in your terms. If I understand you correctly,  a recording isn’t holy in your terms even if the people singing it do so in a way which is entirely indistinguishable from the way they would do it if they were doing it for a real mass. It’s not really a property of how the music sounds, it’s a property of the context in which the music was made.

It also, I guess, stops non-Christians (catholics?) from ever singing holily.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Marc on June 19, 2019, 08:40:17 AM
Here's a magnificent thing from the point of view of expressiveness, Collegerunt pontifices

https://www.youtube.com/v/mfs5WmYl694


Thanks for this... I liked it much.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 08:48:01 AM
Thanks for this... I liked it much.
I see I wrote exactly the opposite of what I meant to write in my comment about it (left out a
not) I’ve now changed it. It would be nice to know who’s singing there.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 19, 2019, 09:08:04 AM

Ah. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a holy recording, in your terms. If I understand you correctly,  a recording isn’t holy in your terms even if the people singing it do so in a way which is entirely indistinguishable from the way they would do it if they were doing it for a real mass. It’s not really a property of how the music sounds, it’s a property of the context in which the music was made.

It also, I guess, stops non-Christians (catholics?) from ever singing holily.

For me, the holy aspect is a part of the holy experience of the mass.  As I've posted previously, something is holy to the extent it is separate from the secular.  It is impossible to have that happen from within a secular event.

Now, it would be possible for a choir (Christian, Atheist, or Buddhist, etc.) to make a chant recording in which many the same attributes might be present, i.e. ego-less singing - but divorced the context of religious service, it would not be "holy" but could still be very good.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 09:32:34 AM
How do you know if it's ego-less?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 19, 2019, 09:45:23 AM
How do you know if it's ego-less?

For myself, things that appear to be ego driven would include performance by a solo singer (for me chant is almost always sung by a choir, not a solo singer), bringing attention to himself, treating the chant as if it were art song. 

It may seem that I am expressing a very limited, conservative idea of how chant should be performed.  If so, it is because I refuse to ignore the history of chant, how it is intrinsic to the Catholic liturgy, and did not develop outside of the mass or office services.  In our time, the age of recordings, chant has been treated like any other style of Classical music and removed from its native environment.  This has produced the kind of artistic, performer oriented, ego-driven performance I am thinking of.

Now, I am not saying that these performances are wrong, or in any way bad.  Often they are extremely beautiful and expressive.  Chant melodies are very evocative and lend themselves to expressive singing.  All I am saying is that, for me, the best chant performances and recordings are those done as part of a religious service, e.g. the mass, and not sung as if the chant were just another form of vocal music.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 10:34:04 AM
For myself, things that appear to be ego driven would include performance by a solo singer (for me chant is almost always sung by a choir, not a solo singer), bringing attention to himself, treating the chant as if it were art song. 


Does the celebrant draw attention to himself in an egotistical way when he reads?





Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 19, 2019, 11:39:52 AM
Does the celebrant draw attention to himself in an egotistical way when he reads?

No.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 07:57:19 PM
No.

So solo rendition is egotistic when it’s following a melody, but not when it’s not. I wonder if that makes your point of view incoherent and contradictory.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 19, 2019, 08:00:05 PM
treating the chant as if it were art song. 




There are many ways to sing a song, is your point that they are all egotistical and hence inappropriate for chanting the mass?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 20, 2019, 03:29:22 AM
So solo rendition is egotistic when it’s following a melody, but not when it’s not. I wonder if that makes your point of view incoherent and contradictory.

I wonder if this discussion has run its course.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 20, 2019, 04:31:16 AM
Sure, I was thinking the same thing.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on June 23, 2019, 04:41:02 AM
This may be of interest to people who are interested in Mary Berry 

Quote from: Amy Daniel Waddle in Sacred Music Vol. 137 Number 3, page 11f
Mary Berry went to Cambridge to work on her doctorate in 1964 when she was forty-seven years old. The thesis that she presented five years later in 1969 was titled The Performance of Plainsong in the Later Middle Ages and the Sixteenth Century, and she gave a lecture with the same title in 1965 for the Royal Musical Association. In it, she poses the questions that are often asked about the authen- tic performance of early chant, “did they measure parts of the chant? At what tempo was it per- formed? Were there variations of tempo?”64 Mary Berry responded:
“on registering the answers, we might discover that it was not so
easy as we had hoped to get a single, clear, overall picture.”65 That
is, there is no one picture. Providing many examples of ancient
records and manuscripts, she showed the diversity of chants and
chant practice goes back to the time of even our earliest sources.
Speaking as a scholar who was once merely a practicing musician,
she acknowledged, “Perhaps we are too inclined to generalize when
we think even of medieval plainsong. We may forget that the reper-
toire contains different types of pieces, different styles, sung in
many different countries over a huge period of time.”66 She con-
cluded by saying that “there seems no reason why all these styles,
however divergent, should not form, together, part of a complex
whole. . .

. . . Her research of the chants of the Middle Ages uncovered evidence of practice contrary to the Solesmes method that she practiced, but Mary Berry was not afraid to incorporate new developments in research and was excited at the possibilities that paleography continued to open up. Using her new- found scholarship, she went on to found the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, which spread her practice of chant all over the world with recordings.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 23, 2019, 06:19:01 AM
Quote
" ... we might discover that it was not so easy as we had hoped to get a single, clear, overall picture.” That is, there is no one picture. Providing many examples of ancient records and manuscripts, she showed the diversity of chants and chant practice goes back to the time of even our earliest sources.

To be honest, I am not a musicologist and have no desire to be, so these kinds of issues are of little interest to me (I do like Mary Berry's recordings).  How chant was performed in the earliest periods would seem to be a dead question since we cannot really know with any confidence. Nevertheless, it is a question which continues attract much controversy and debate between sometimes very opinionated musicians (often with self-serving agendas).  That entire enterprise is a huge turn-off to me.

On the contrary, what I am mainly interested in is hearing chant done in a sacred setting, i.e. as a part of the mass, for the exclusive purpose of enhancing the celebration of the mass - as chant performance is understood by the Catholic church during my lifetime.  This is why I rely so much on the Solesmes approach (which has its own scholarship underpinnings), since for about two centuries it has been the standard recommended by the church.  But I also consider it a very compelling way to sing chant.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Florestan on June 23, 2019, 06:35:59 AM
what I am mainly interested in is hearing chant done in a sacred setting, i.e. as a part of the mass, for the exclusive purpose of enhancing the celebration of the mass - as chant performance is understood by the Catholic church during my lifetime

The big problem is that after the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church seemed to have lost any faith (pun) and interest in preserving one of its most sacred (pun again) traditions, namely the Mass itself, chant included. I have said it elsewhere but it bears repeating it here: officially renouncing the traditional Latin Mass was not only a theological error but also a cultural crime.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone on June 23, 2019, 06:43:00 AM
The big problem is that after the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church seemed to have lost any faith (pun) and interest in preserving one of its most sacred (pun again) traditions, namely the Mass itself, chant included. I have said it elsewhere but it bears repeating it here: officially renouncing the traditional Latin Mass was not only a theological error but also a cultural crime.

Yes, that is true in general and for the vast majority of Catholic churches across the world.  However, the chant tradition I am talking about has survived in monasteries.  You can find them, and the mass is said in Latin and chant is sung as it is taught by the Solesmes monks.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Florestan on June 23, 2019, 06:57:25 AM
the chant tradition I am talking about has survived in monasteries.  You can find them, and the mass is said in Latin and chant is sung as it is taught by the Solesmes monks.

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).
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone 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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS 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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka 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

(https://img.cdandlp.com/2015/11/imgL/117765610-2.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS 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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51IIxi3j0VL.jpg)
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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone 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
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51IIxi3j0VL.jpg)
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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS 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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka 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?

(https://webservices.bibliotheek.be/index.php?func=cover&ISBN=&VLACCnr=9936076&CDR=EAX1914&EAN=3760195733950&ISMN=&coversize=large)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka 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?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka 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
 
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka 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

(https://www.heraldav.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/havp1611.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone 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

(https://www.heraldav.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/havp1611.jpg)

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?
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: JBS on July 04, 2019, 05:35:25 PM
Here's the Amazon listing

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone 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

(https://www.heraldav.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/havp1611.jpg)

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:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61q9fco8WIL._SY355_.jpg)

The Coming of Augustine

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61JgKpqTKJL._SY355_.jpg)

12th Century Chant

(https://direct.rhapsody.com/imageserver/images/Alb.250384550/500x500.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: J.II.9 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://webservices.bibliotheek.be/index.php?func=cover&ISBN=&VLACCnr=9936076&CDR=EAX1914&EAN=3760195733950&ISMN=&coversize=large)
https://outhere-music.com/en/albums/dalmatica-chants-of-the-adriatic-a-395/booklet
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: J.II.9 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://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51q4rlGyRQL._SX355_.jpg)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vya2xSYSz1c
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: San Antone 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.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Florestan on July 08, 2019, 02:00:00 AM
Let me recommend a french choir singing eastern chant:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51q4rlGyRQL._SX355_.jpg)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vya2xSYSz1c

Interesting find, thank you. The Chevetogne Benedictine monastery is actually Belgian.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on August 06, 2019, 12:31:14 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51TI8LMAoIL._SX355_.jpg)

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,
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on August 06, 2019, 04:45:48 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71PNC3wvcKL._SL1400_.jpg)



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
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on December 12, 2019, 12:23:01 PM
I just want to put here some preliminary reactions to interpretations 9th century music which I've started to explore a bit more, manuscripts in Switzerland, St Gallen, some of which is attributable to a named poet, Notker (the stammerer -- Balbulus.) I can find three recordings with substantial amounts of the music viz: Joppich, Morent and Vellard

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/562/MI0003562361.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)   (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-DAen8HuL._SX355_.jpg)     (https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/278/MI0003278854.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

The thing I want to point out is that prima facie both Morent and Vellard are fast and inexpressive, while Joppich takes his time to let the musical gestures be felt. It sometimes feels to me as though Morent's and Vellard's singers are going on about a shopping list while Joppich’s are declaiming poetry.

I'm a bit cautious here, I don't think I am but I could be doing Morent and Vellard an injustice. And maybe, just maybe, Joppich is gilding an already beautiful lily and hence spoiling it. I'd be surprised to find either of these things were true, but I'm certainly open to the possibility.

So this makes me wonder how their tempos were determined. And how the details of their expression, of note formation etc -- the vocality and sonority of their singing--  were determined. The booklets to Morent and Vellard are full of paleographic stuff, but they are disappointingly silent about their performance decisions, I don't have the booklet to Joppich (can someone upload it for me?)

This post was totally unfair to Vellard!  Shame on me.

You have to have soft ears, to paraphrase an idea from The Wire.

https://www.youtube.com/v/tmZUI1LTYZQ
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on December 27, 2019, 09:23:53 AM
Quote
Enfin une réponse fondée sur des preuves scientifiques selon la sémiologie de Dom
Cardine à des courants de pensée qui font étalage de théories sans jamais parvenir
à des conclusions prouvées et irréfutables.
Un nouveau livre de chant grégorien était-il vraiment nécessaire ? Était-il opportun d’intervenir pour
modifier des mélodies millénaires, présentes depuis des siècles dans la tradition chantée vivante ? En
des temps où l’Occident a abandonné progressivement la langue latine, une proposition de
restauration ne semble-t-elle pas anachronique ?
Face à ces interrogations, et à d’autres, l’auteur explore l’histoire de la genèse du travail
monumental qui, en trente ans de recherche et d’étude approfondies au nom de la sémiologie
grégorienne, a conduit à la publication des deux volumes du Graduale Novum et, sur des bases
scientifiques, il offre les réponses aux maintes questions qui se sont soulevées, parmi les chercheurs
et en dehors de la communauté scientifique, à l’apparition de cet ouvrage, destiné à changer le cours
de l’histoire du chant grégorien.
Johannes Berchmans Göschl décrit chaque pas de ce travail, avec sérénité et précision,
documentant et justifiant chacun des choix effectués selon les manuscrits les plus anciens, à partir de
l’impulsion initiale donnée par le Concile Vatican II qui, dans la Constitution « Sacrosanctum
Concilium », percevait la nécessité impérieuse d’une nouvelle approche vis-à-vis du patrimoine de
chant inestimable de l’Église de Rome, et décrétait l’achèvement des éditions de référence et la
réalisation d’une édition plus critique des livres en usage alors.
Rien d’envergure n’avait encore été entrepris, sinon de faibles et timides tentatives qui n’ont
rencontré ni le succès ni l’intérêt escomptés. Les compétences et la constance remarquables d’un
groupe de spécialistes au sein de l’AISCGre (Associazione internazionale Studi di canto gregoriano)
ont permis au contraire de concrétiser avec le Graduale Novum ce qui n’était resté jusque là qu’un
augure. Désormais, le chant de la liturgie romaine est plus proche que jamais de ses origines.
Johannes Berchmans Göschl, Graduale Novum. Commentaire, Isotta Conti, 2019.
15 x 21 cm
160 p
50 exemples musicaux
Reliure brochée avec dos carré, cousu, collé
Couverture cartonnée de 280 g avec rabats de 10 cm
ISBN 978-2-902305-00-1
PVP : 25 € TTC + frais d’expédition
Souscription jusqu’au 31 janvier 2020 au prix de 20 € + frais d’expédition
Paiement anticipé par chèque pour la France ou par virement bancaire aux coordonnées suivantes respectivement :
• Isotta Conti Éditions
16, boulevard Saint-Germain
75005 Paris
• Isotta Conti Éditions
Société Générale
IBAN FR76 3000 3030 1000 0202 0051 967
BIC SOGEFRPP
Motif: Souscription Graduale Novum Commentaire
Le livre sera envoyé à l’adresse postale indiquée par chacun à partir du 1er février 2020.


I just can't be bothered translate, basically it's a new book, scientific, gregorian. If you're interested and google translate isn't good enough, let me know.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on January 06, 2020, 09:03:06 PM
(https://img.discogs.com/fR0Q4crK1YcTwdfY2FX0JS-hZBA=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-8931622-1547419629-9942.jpeg.jpg)

The concept here is an informed presentation of a wide range of ancient European religious music styles, mostly for use in church rituals  - from, for example, Rome, Milan, St Gall. You’d expect the result to be diverse, but in fact I’m impressed by the coherence of all the music. Yes, there are different styles of singing here, but the way they’re juxtaposed just works as a CD. As such, I think the recording is a valuable glimpse into c9 European religious music making, and it reveals how vibrant the scene was. More that that, it’s a great thing to hear, not least because of Sequentia’s experience of making sense of sequences and through composed material, these guys have been doing it for years and they’ve learned how to use voice colour and how to attack the words and how to overlay the voices to make the music expressive, sometimes dramatic sometimes prayerful.


At the end of the CD there are some amazing things. For example lament based on A solis ortus cardine presented with male voices and harp, textures and colours constantly changing, fluid articulation,  it’s a very Sequentia sound. Do they sentimentalise, romanticise? They claim to be informed by what little evidence there is about how this stuff was sung back in the day, without “ neglecting [t]heir own intuition”
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: deprofundis on January 19, 2020, 08:59:42 PM
Merci monsieur Mandryka sa ma l'aiir bien , j'y jetterais un coup d'oeil.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on February 25, 2020, 11:57:20 AM
(https://static.wixstatic.com/media/37175f_63ce56e2601c4e89bdd72dec324c4563~mv2_d_1425_1425_s_2.png/v1/fill/w_400,h_400,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/37175f_63ce56e2601c4e89bdd72dec324c4563~mv2_d_1425_1425_s_2.webp)

I didn't know about this until today . . .really impressive, impeccable, fluid, beautiful singing as far as I can hear, atmospherically recorded, well worh a listen. Performance inspired by C16 manuscripts of a Christmas mass.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: deprofundis on February 25, 2020, 04:08:13 PM
(https://static.wixstatic.com/media/37175f_63ce56e2601c4e89bdd72dec324c4563~mv2_d_1425_1425_s_2.png/v1/fill/w_400,h_400,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/37175f_63ce56e2601c4e89bdd72dec324c4563~mv2_d_1425_1425_s_2.webp)

I didn't know about this until today . . .really impressive, impeccable, fluid, beautiful singing as far as I can hear, atmospherically recorded, well worh a listen. Performance inspired by C16 manuscripts of a Christmas mass.
.Dear Mandryka, I this wonderful album , Tallis Scholars outdone themselves here, Love Sarum Chant, About Chant music from Europe, have you heard of Croatian-Dalmatian Chants album called Dalmatica Chant of Adriatic
Dialogos Katarina Livjanic, Kanduri -Josko Calleta on (outhere  division arcana, you might like it, I find a strange similitude on Corsican Chants, but perhaps it's me.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on February 25, 2020, 10:30:57 PM
.Dear Mandryka, I this wonderful album , Tallis Scholars outdone themselves here, Love Sarum Chant, About Chant music from Europe, have you heard of Croatian-Dalmatian Chants album called Dalmatica Chant of Adriatic
Dialogos Katarina Livjanic, Kanduri -Josko Calleta on (outhere  division arcana, you might like it, I find a strange similitude on Corsican Chants, but perhaps it's me.

These recordings by Dialogos are very nice to hear. My problem is that there’s so much chant, so many different flavours,  different times and different regions, it’s hard for me to get my head round it all. I listen to something by Livjanic for example, register that it sounds good, and then forget - I don’t have the conceptual apparatus to subsume it.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: aligreto on February 27, 2020, 08:51:04 AM
(https://static.wixstatic.com/media/37175f_63ce56e2601c4e89bdd72dec324c4563~mv2_d_1425_1425_s_2.png/v1/fill/w_400,h_400,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/37175f_63ce56e2601c4e89bdd72dec324c4563~mv2_d_1425_1425_s_2.webp)

I didn't know about this until today . . .really impressive, impeccable, fluid, beautiful singing as far as I can hear, atmospherically recorded, well worh a listen. Performance inspired by C16 manuscripts of a Christmas mass.

I used to play that CD every Christmas Day for a number of years but I have not listened to it in some time. A really good one for those who have not yet heard it.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on February 27, 2020, 09:16:11 AM
(https://sklep.dalmafon.pl/environment/cache/images/500_500_productGfx_2333/1207.jpg)

https://sklep.dalmafon.pl/Jerycho-Marcel-Peres-966

It’s fabulous. The music evokes oxymorons - strength and sweetness; energy and intimacy. The sound quality is state of the art.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: vers la flamme on April 10, 2020, 02:49:34 AM
You know, I've just realized that I don't have any Gregorian chant in my library.

What would be a good place to start? One or two discs, please, I don't want to overwhelm myself.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on April 10, 2020, 03:25:41 AM
If you can read French them buy this book, which comes with a CD and will get you started.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51-i9mlM40L._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Que on April 10, 2020, 10:52:52 AM
You know, I've just realized that I don't have any Gregorian chant in my library.

What would be a good place to start? One or two discs, please, I don't want to overwhelm myself.


I don't have much Gregorian Chant , but I found this recording very satisfying:

(https://s.s-bol.com/imgbase0/imagebase3/extralarge/FC/5/5/8/3/9200000011933855.jpg)

Q

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on July 23, 2020, 02:56:17 AM
Useful looking online discography here

http://chantdiscography.com/index.php?home
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Old San Antone on July 23, 2020, 03:25:06 AM
Useful looking online discography here

http://chantdiscography.com/index.php?home

I think that chant discography was created by Jerome F. Weber.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 13, 2021, 08:49:46 AM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91kR9pwrT2L._SS500_.jpg)

They may be OK at singing monophonic music like some church chant,  but to me they sound chaotic when singing music with different simultaneous melodies - it may be the reverb, but honestly - they decided to recorded it with so much reverb! And their singers - especially the woman (or is it a female impersonator) - sound amateur to me. An interesting concept CD but badly executed IMO. What a disappointment.

That being said the Dunstable is priceless, I remember commenting on it before - it would be interesting to know what thinking led them to sing it like this. It’s just weird - and I’m not sure if it’s good weird! The Johannes Nucius (who he?) is strange too - with a womanny voice  singing like Mary Poppins. Yuck, bad bad baddy bad.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Old San Antone on May 13, 2021, 02:18:12 PM
(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/91kR9pwrT2L._SS500_.jpg)

They may be OK at singing monophonic music like some church chant,  but to me they sound chaotic when singing music with different simultaneous melodies - it may be the reverb, but honestly - they decided to recorded it with so much reverb! And their singers - especially the woman (or is it a female impersonator) - sound amateur to me. An interesting concept CD but badly executed IMO. What a disappointment.

That being said the Dunstable is priceless, I remember commenting on it before - it would be interesting to know what thinking led them to sing it like this. It’s just weird - and I’m not sure if it’s good weird! The Johannes Nucius (who he?) is strange too - with a womanny voice  singing like Mary Poppins. Yuck, bad bad baddy bad.

It was recorded October 1992 at The Abbey Church, Pontigny, Yonne.   I have been a fan of Mary Berry and this schola for a long time and can't agree with your assessment.

Here's some info about the recording and music:

Quote
The Abbey of Pontigny, second daughter-house of Cîteaux, was founded in 1114 in the valley of the River Serin, a typical rural Cistercian site. The Abbey church is the largest Cistercian church surviving in France today.

The imposing height and length of the building give it a remarkably warm and resonant acoustic, well suited to chant. The brilliance of the white stone enables the purity and simplicity of the early Cistercian architecture to be revealed in all its beauty.

The Abbey is rich in history. In particular, during the 12th and 13th centuries three English Archbishops of Canterbury sought refuge there: Thomas Becket (1118-1170), Stephen Langton (d.1228), and Edmund of Abingdon (c.1175-1240), who became patron saint of Pontigny.

Pentecost has a special meaning for the people of Pontigny because it was on a Whit Monday that Edmund of Abingdon, – St Edme in French – was transported from Soissy, where he died, to his final resting-place above the high altar in the Abbey church.

This recording enters into the spirit of ‘Pentecôte at Pontigny’: ritual music for the feast of Pentecost, chants gleaned from Cistercian service-books, and a selection of pieces that honour the three Archbishops.

I could be wrong but I think this schola is a male group.
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 13, 2021, 07:03:21 PM
Note this is The Women Cantors and Choir . . . I haven’t heard it properly. Will try to do so soon.

(https://img.discogs.com/uckKrDrXZZIo062thtND42w1qlE=/fit-in/600x596/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-13503969-1555437412-5384.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2021, 03:25:03 AM


I could be wrong but I think this schola is a male group.

Here's a pic showing the strong presence of ladies.

(https://img.discogs.com/IwupGjZKWtJPI764tD63m1amZnw=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-6695795-1430950827-7607.jpeg.jpg)

(Unfortunately the recording doesn't seem to have been transferred. )
Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2021, 03:38:29 AM
Re Schola Gregoriana Cambridge I was amused by this obituary -- especially the bath (because when it says "called her colleague" it leaves me wondering whether said colleague was in the house or whether it was a phone call!)  and the dog.

http://www.scholagregoriana.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/spring2017news.pdf



Quote
IN MEMORIAM

Rosemary McCabe, R.I.P. Died 5th January, 2015

The Schola is indebted to Rosemary for its foundation. In 1975 while lying in
her bath reading the magazine “Early Music”, Rosemary was struck by the
omission of any chant or reference to it. Leaping from her bath, she called her
colleague Mary Berry, and begged her to do something immediately to save the
chant declining into total oblivion. Thus was born the Schola Gregoriana of
Cambridge, run by a triumvirate consisting of Mary Berry as Director,
Rosemary as Secretary, and Margaret Aitken as Treasurer.

It was Rosemary who organised gatherings of Associates, retreats, concerts,
liturgical dramas, pilgrimages and recordings. Her attention to practical details
ensured all events ran without hitch. Her ‘down to earth’ attitude complemented
Mary’s flow of plans, though occasionally she had to say ‘no, quite impossible’
to some of Mary’s wilder ideas. Working for Mary was virtually a full time job
dealing with volumes of correspondence and telephone calls, preparing music
for instruction days, gathering material for lectures and writing reports. Her
previous work as a professor of mediaeval history until her retirement was light
in comparison to her work with the Schola.

Rosemary had a good sense of levity. During a week’s retreat at Glastonbury,
whilst Mary was lecturing Associates on the finer points of Gregorian
semiology, she suddenly asked Rosemary why she was looking out of the
window. Rosemary said her concentration had been diverted by a green
woodpecker feeding her young. Mary: “Do show us, Rosemary”, and the class
immediately relaxed.

Rosemary’s constant companion was her elderly terrier, Spy. Spy always lay
dormant at divine offices, but when the words ‘Benedicamus Domino’ were
sung, he would rouse and quit the chapel with unusual agility. He knew
Rosemary would have prepared an excellent supper for him in the kitchen.
The amazing output of the Schola during its earlier years would not have been
possible without Rosemary’s outstanding contribution.

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: (: premont :) on May 15, 2021, 03:39:11 AM
I think (Choral-)Schola's originally were male groups exclusively, and that women haven't participated until quite recently. This quote from WIKI seems to confirm that:

A Choralschola, known simply as schola, is a choir for singing Gregorian chant or plainsong. It consists traditionally of only men, but more recent groups sometimes also include female voices.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choralschola

Title: Re: Chant
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2021, 03:40:41 AM
I think (Choral-)Schola's originally were male groups exclusively, and that women haven't participated until quite recently. This quote from WIKI seems to confirm that:

A Choralschola, known simply as schola, is a choir for singing Gregorian chant or plainsong. It consists traditionally of only men, but more recent groups sometimes also include female voices.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choralschola

I'm sure, when I heard lady's voices on the CD I didn't like above, the one from Pontigny,  it was in polyphonic music I think. However, it would be interesting to hear that LP to see what the women do.