Gregorian Chant

Gregorian Chant

Ref: CDG1278

1 Salve, festa dies
2 Sedit Angelus
3 Christus resurgens
4 Introit and Kyrie
5 Gloria in excelsis Deo
6 Haec dies
7 Alleluia - Pascha nostrum
8 Fulgens praeclara
9 Credo in unum Deum
10 Terra tremuit
11 Sanctus
12 Agnus Dei
13 Communion - Pascha nostrum
14 Angulare fundamentum
15 Christe redemptor
16 Ex more docti mystico
17 Veni redemptor gentium
18 Vexilla regis prodeunt

The Monks and Novices of Saint Frideswide

CCL CDG1278
Cover Image: Two monks chanting at a lectern 15th century Lebrecht Music & Arts
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Gregorian Chant

The sixth-century Pope Gregory is often credited with creating the body of plainchant which bears his name. He was a great man and highly influential, a superb administrator in many fields who organised many of the things we take for granted today such as our Western calendar.

It is clear to us today that rather than creating the chant itself Pope Gregory simply oversaw its categorisation and organisation. The music itself was almost certainly much older and came from Roman and Gallic traditions at the very least. So much of the music is probably even older than the sixth century and it puts us in touch with some of the very oldest thoughts of our civilisation.

Plainchant used specific modes, which are the equivalent of our modern day keys. Some of their names are well known such as Dorian (normally beginning on D) or Aeolian, which normally begins on A. Each mode had a specific character and was believed to impart certain moods or feelings. These sentiments were carried into more modern times and composers even in the 19th century would write in specific keys (which by then had superseded modes) when they wished to express a particular feeling or emotion. Each mode also presented the melody with a series of intervals, which could be specific to that mode which helped to inflect even more characteristics.

It is certainly music of extraordinary beauty and its melodic lines became the basis of so much, if not all, later composition. This programme assembles a selection of this music based around a medieval mass with the usual Kyrie (preceded by an Introit), Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Around these movements we have placed a series of other types of word setting.