Thursday, May 13, 2010

FW: Some Thoughts on the Loss of Gregorian Chant

Good thoughts from this Pastor Peters on adding to the present from the past…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Saturday, May 01, 2010 2:38 PM
Author: Pastor Peters
Subject: Some Thoughts on the Loss of Gregorian Chant


I remember reading somewhere that Richart Hillert, composer of the famous "This is the Feast" canticle of LBW/LW/LSB/ELW fame and notoriety throughout Christendom, once regretted that the through composed music of his setting and other modern settings had so thoroughly replace Gregorian Chant as the primary musical language of worship.  As one who delighted in the sound of the Fryxell setting of SBH, and kept pretty much in tact in LBW, I can well understand his words.  For nearly 1400 years this chant was the voice of the Church gathered in the liturgy.  Of course there were other settings and chants (the Scottish and Anglican chant among them for Lutherans) but Gregorian was the chant that taught the Church to sing with one voice, more than any other.

Alas, though we love to listen to it on CDs, the sound of Gregorian Chant is seldom heard among Lutherans and this is sad.  I am not advocating giving up what we have but suggesting that this is a form worthy of retention as we add to it the various other forms of music and chant.  We struggle with it so now because we are so accustomed to through composed musical forms, or, the refrain and chant settings found in such abundance today.  While I do retain a certain fondness for the Deutsche Messe and its hymnic settings of the ordinary, I do not think it healthy that a congregation choose these for exclusive use.  As much as I like rhymed and metrical forms, they do impose a certain wooden character to the free flowing character of the ordinary.

Just a few thoughts as I sit preparing for tomorrow and the Divine Service...

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