Gregorian chant: The Grandfather of music
Lately, Gloriæ Dei Cantores’ chant recordings have received a lot of favorable attention. We’re thrilled, of course—we view Gregorian chant as the beloved “grandfather” of all western music, and it provides the heartbeat of our monastic vocation. “Seven times a day will I praise thee,” says the psalmist, and we endeavor to join him faithfully through the Liturgy of the Hours. The fruits of this opus Dei—this work of God—are sweet indeed.
Now I know that not everyone views chant as the “full contact sport” that we tend to engage in here in our monastery by the bay. The CDs most of our customers hear in the peaceful setting of home, car, or office, with those clean, smooth lines and (hopefully!) unified voices are generally only achieved after a lot of mutual knocking off of corners and filing down of rough patches amongst the Schola members—a challenging process, but in the end, always a cause for gratitude. As regular folks, we have experienced the innumerable benefits of worshiping daily through this vibrant form of sung prayer—the experience of unity, the seeming secret language of prayer, the sparks of inspiration that occur when the critical mechanism of the mind takes a break and the heart opens.
We know we’re not alone in finding these sparks, because Gloriæ Dei Cantores sings a lot of other music—the early masters like Josquin and Palestrina, up through Bach, Mozart, Rheinberger, Brahms, Liszt, Faure, Vaughan Williams, and the list goes on—and we’re always excited to find that thread of Gregorian chant that has managed to weave its way through the music of the centuries, still living and breathing, into today’s choral music.
So if you’ve been reluctant to stray too far from the purity of chant, we invite you venture out into the other choral treasures that Gloriæ Dei Cantores has come to know and love—Gregorian chant’s great-great-grandchildren, if you will. It’s a lineage and heritage worth exploring.