Adorate Deum / Gregorian Chant from the Proper of the Mass (Alberto Turco/ Elite/ Nova Schola Gregoriana) (Naxos: 8.550711)
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Gregorian Chant from the Proper of the Mass
Gregorian chant represents the continuingmusical tradition of the Catholic Church. In legend, at least, theregularisation of Christian chant has been attributed to the sixth century PopeSt. Gregory the Great. Gregorian chant is, in fact, the form of plainchant thatlargely but not entirely replaced local forms of chant during the Middle Ages.
Manuscript sources are preserved from the 10th and 11th centuries,but these are clearly part of an earlier tradition. The term Gregorian chant isgenerally acceptable, in popular usage, to describe the official chant of theChurch. This chant has musical value and interest in itself. Its historicalmusical importance is immeasurable, since much of the liturgical music of theMiddle Ages and of the Renaissance was based on melodies drawn from this bodyof music. In later years, particularly in the nineteenth century, theconnotations of elements of the chant continued as part of the common fund ofmusic to which composers might refer, notably in the chant for the Dies irae (Day of Wrath) from the RequiemMass, the opening notes of which provided a thematic allusion for Liszt's Totentanz and an idee fixe forRachmaninov.
Gregorian chant is monodic, modal and in freerhythm. It has a single melodic line, without harmonic or polyphonic elements;it came, at least, to make use of the eight church modes, scales represented bythe white notes of the modern keyboard and starting on D (Dorian mode), E(Phrygian mode), F (Lydian mode) and G (Mixolydian mode), the names drawn fromthe different ancient Greek modes; the rhythm of the chant follows that of thewords. It is possible to classify types of chant very simply as syllabic,neumatic and melismatic. Syllabic chant takes one note to a syllable,represented generally in the musical settings of the Psalms. Neumatic chant mayuse groups of from two to four notes to a syllable, as often in the hymns ofGregorian chant, and melismatic chant indicates the use of a large group ofnotes for one syllable, as found in the florid music for the Alleluias of theliturgy.
The liturgy of the Catholic church centres onthe Mass. The Ordinary of the Mass, the elements that remain constantthroughout the year, includes Kyrie(Lordhave mercy), Gloria (Glory be toGod in the highest), Credo (Ibelieve), Sanctus (Holy, holy,holy) and Agnus Dei (Lamb ofGod). The chants of the Proper of the Mass are those that differ from day today, according to the season or the saint or event to be celebrated. The Properconsists of introit, gradual, alleluia, tract, offertory and communion, towhich may be added sequence and possible tropes, these last representingadditions to the liturgy, musical, verbal or both, many of which were removedin the changes that took place as a result of the Council of Trent in thesixteenth century.
The introit is to be sung, started by one ormore cantors according to the day, as the priest approaches the altar at Mass. Adorate Deum (Worship God, all you angels:Sion has heard and is glad) is the introit for the Third Sunday after theEpiphany. Da pacem (Grant peace,O Lord, to those that worship you) is the introit for Mass of the EighteenthSunday after Pentecost. Dominus illuminatiomea (The Lord is my light and my salvation) is the introit for theFourth Sunday after Pentecost and Laeteturcor (Let the heart of those that seek the Lord rejoice) is theintroit for Mass on the Friday after the Fourth Sunday in Quadragesima (the last Friday beforePassion Sunday).
The gradual and the alleluia come after thechanting of the Epistle, bridging the gap between it and the chanting of theGospel. Dirigatur (Let my prayergo up as incense) is the gradual for Mass on the Nineteenth Sunday afterPentecost, elaborately melismatic in form. Domine,Dominus noster (O Lord, Our Lord, how wonderful is your name) is thegradual for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost and lacta cogitatum tuum (Casty our thoughts on the Lord) is forthe Sunday within the Octave of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Laetatus sum (I was glad when they said tome) is the melismatic introit for Mass on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
The highly melismatic alleluia verse Adorabo (I shall worship inyour holy temple) is part of the Mass for the Dedication of Church and the De profundis (Out of the depths) is fromthe Mass for the Twenty- hird Sunday of Pentecost. Deus judex justus (God, just judge) follows the gradual lacta cogitatum tuum on the Sunday withinthe Octave of the Sacred Heart and LaudateDeum (Praise God) is the alleluia verse for the Second Sunday afterthe Epiphany.
The offertory follows the singing of theCredo, preceding the offering of bread and wine. De profundis (Out of the depths) is the offertory of theTwenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, its text slightly different from thealleluia verse on the same day. Domineconvertere (Turn, O Lord) is the neumatic offertory for Mass on theSunday within the Octave of Corpus Christi, while Jubilate Deo (Rejoice in God) is the offertory of the Massof the Second Sunday after the Epiphany. JustitiaeDomini (The true justice of the Lord) is to be sung as the offertoryon the Third Sunday of Lent.
The communion verses are chanted at thecommunion in the later part of the Mass Circuibo
(I shall go about and sacrifice) is the communion verse for Mass on the SeventhSunday after Pentecost and Dominus dicit:Implete hydrias (The Lord says: fill the water-jars), a reference tothe Marriage Feast at Cana, the Gospel for the day, is for the Second Sundayafter the Epiphany. Dominus firmamentum meum
(The Lord is my strength) is the communion verse for the Fourth Sunday afterPentecost and Qui manducat (Hewho eats my flesh) for the Ninth Sunday. Gustateetvidete(Taste and see how gracious is the Lord) is sung on theEighth Sunday of the same season.
Nova Schola Gregoriana
Soloist: Alessio Randon
Choir: Nicola Bellinazzo, Domizio Berra, Giacomo Carniti, Olivo Damini, GiuseppeFusari, Franco Guglielmi, Gianlorenzo Maccalli, Renato Magoga, Giorgio Mazzucato, Enrico Speroni, Roberto Spremulli, Giulio Urbani, MarianoZarpellon.
The Nova Schola Gregoriana is a group that hasdevoted itself to the study of Gregorian chant during the course of the lasttwenty years, basing its work on the research of scholars such as Dom EugeneCardine, Dom Jean Claire, Luigi Agustoni and of the present artistic director,Alberto Turco. The Schola has won international critical acclaim for itsperformances, with participation in the festivals of Paris, Avignon, Avila,Cuenca, Corno, Pomposa and Arona among others, with concerts throughout Italy,France, Switzerland and Greece, and tours in Japan and the United States ofAmerica. The ensemble performed at the first centenary of the CongressoGregoriano at Arezzo and International Congresses of Gregorian chant at Cremonaand Verona, in addition to its part in the celebration of the sixth centenaryof the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna. In 1987 the Schola was awarded theGolden Orpheus of the Paris Academie Nationale du Disque Lyrique, Fundacion J.
Alberto Turco, an authority on Gregorianchant, is director of the musical establishment of Verona Cathedral. He is alecturer in Gregorian chant in the Pontifical Ambrosian Institute of SacredMusic