Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song
The Missa De Angelis and Rock of Ages – A Joyous Experience!
We experienced a beautiful funeral liturgy last week, singing Missa de Angelis, an array of gospel hymns, and two solos from Handel’s Messiah! What fun! This musical combination basically “said it all” about the lovely lady who passed away. One person actually noted to me that they “had never seen a chant Agnus Dei and Rock of Ages side by side.”
That comment made me think. We live in a time when the chant is being re-discovered, employed ever more and more in worship services, and is being made available to an increasing number of people. In the same breath, I would also say that we live in a time where there are a good number of folks looking back – looking for the music – the faith – of their childhood which was part of their spiritual formation. I believe I heard the result of part of that searching in that liturgy. The singing of Rock of Ages actually energized the mass movements, which, in turn, energized the communion hymns. All of a sudden, it was as though people had discovered that they could LOVE IT ALL!
I know that may not be a revelation for everyone, but I believe it is for many. Loving and understanding chant actually opens doors for understanding other styles of music but – more important – opens doors just for the understanding of text and music which has the ability to inspire and move the listener to pray. What an amazing experience!