Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Cantor

We have found the Messiah!

Can you imagine a relative or friend coming up to you and saying “We have found the Messiah!”

The Communion chant for last week is exactly that — Andrew telling his brother Simon that he had found the Messiah.   Perhaps like some of us, Andrew did not know what Simon’s reaction would be. Certainly, the chant gives that impression!

The chant itself is in three sections. The outer two sections are simply narrative, beautifully setting the scene. Their melodies are simple decorations of the reciting tone. However, the second sections — the actual words of Andrew — are quite emotionally and musically charged.  At the words “Invenimus Messiam” (We have found the Messiah), the chant jumps to the top of the mode and just as quickly leaps to the bottom of the mode. You can almost hear Andrew making certain that Simon would not ignore his words!  The text following — “who is called the Christ” sweeps right back up again to a modal high point on the word “called” and then gently descends into the final section of the chant.

I am always amazed that chant has the ability to make these famous words of scripture come to life in a small cocoon of musical drama.  Andrew’s words will be ringing in my ears for weeks to come!

The Community of Jesus






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