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Monday, 23 February 2009

The Chant, and "Accessing a Naive State of Bliss"

The Irish Times has a long piece on the power of music as experienced by the Benedictines of Glenstal Abbey, County Limerick.

Acknowledging that Gregorian chant has a special relationship to Catholic Liturgy, Br Cyprian Love speaks of the way it helps order time, calms one physically, evokes memory and emotion, focuses the mind... all good, all true.

What I like is the way Br Cyprian points to other musical forms and styles that share this power to "take you on a spiritual journey," (a "journey," I wish to add, that does not preclude utter stillness -- the stillness that is the furthest thing possible from passivity or inertia

It's important to remember that the "chant jocks" and sacred music fanatics are not, none of them, (none of us?,) so far as I know, of the Gregorian or nothing mindset they are accused of by the Ephemerists.

Rather, we hold Gregorian chant as the ideal, and any music that takes its inspiration from the chant, any music for which the chant serves as a model, any music with the same values, is a worthy avenue of exploration for liturgical musicians.

(So no, sorry, that would not include the cha-cha, head-banger, serial music...)

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