Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gregorian Voices

Big evening planned, attending the Live in Europe 2012 tour of "The Gregorian Voices" at St. Médard Church.   The dresses came out and everyone looked very fashionable.

The Gregorian chant is the oldest musical manifestation of the Occident and it has its roots in the songs of the old synagogues, since Jesus Christ's times.

The first Christians and disciples of Christ were converted Jews, and prayed by continuing to sing the psalms and songs of the Old Testament as they were accustomed to do.

The formation period of the Gregorian chant includes the centuries I to VI, reaching the peak in the centuries IX, X and XI, the beginning of the Middle Ages.

The name is an homage to Pope Gregory I (540-604) who did a collection of pieces, publishing them in two books. He also began the “Schola Cantorum” that gave great development to the Gregorian chant.

These new age "monks" from 2012 sing ecclesiastic orthodox songs, chants from the Renaissance, Baroque, classical songs and even pop music adapted to a Gregorian style.  We loved hearing "Hallelujah" by our own Canadian, Leonard Cohen, "Yesterday" by The Beatles, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan, and "Sailing" by Rod Stewart.  A group favourite was "Ameno" by ERA.

"The Gregorian Voices" group filed into the darkened church, their cowls covering their heads, and  stood quietly for a few moments.  We waited with bated breath.  When they started to sing, those rich voices sent shivers up and down our spines.  Although it has a religious background, Gregorian Chant is becoming more and more appreciated by lay people who recognize its mystic quality and how it lends itself to meditation.

After three encores, this group of eight men filed to the front of the church and greeted every single attendee.  I bought their double CD and had my programme autographed by each one of them, something I will treasure always.

An unforgettable evening!

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