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Novititae Cantus, an electronic newsletter pertaining to chant: Volume 2

Subject: notitiae cantus
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 95 17:52:51 CEST
From: Guido Milanese


An International Newsletter
for Gregorian Chant and other Repertoires of Western Chant

II 2
April-June, 1995


Investigationes de cantu
G.M.............Rhetoric and Chant: a new field of investigation

Practica cantus
Michael Chesnutt..........Gregorian Chant in the Danish Diaspora
Scott R. Knitter.......................Another Chant-Book Source
G.M...........Information on Gregorian Seminars and other Events
G.M.......................................NC form of publication
Ken Sybesma...............................Liber usualis for sale
G.M.....................Gregorian Chant Seminar in Italy (again)

Notitiae Cantus
Subscription to this newsletter through e-mail is free. A
hardcopy of _Notitiae Cantus_ will be made available to sub-
scribers who require or prefer this mode of publication. In
order to cover the cost of printing and postage, an annual
charge of $15 will be asked for this service. Preferred
languages for contributions are Latin and English. Please direct
your comments or questions to the Internet address For Gopher users, the files are available from
the archive for on ftp: //;
/pub/earlym-l; /Notitiae.Cantus; /Notitiae.Cantus.# (1, 2 ecc.).
This issue has been sent to 275 e-mail subscribers; 35 printed
copies were sent to musicians, liturgists, and musicologists.

Genova, 20 luglio 1995
Guido Milanese
Salita del Passero 11, I-16126 Genova GE, Italia
Tel. +39.10.252959
Universit Cattolica, Largo Gemelli 1, I-20123 Milano MI,
Italia Tel. +39.2.72342-750, fax -740

Investigationes de cantu

*Rhetoric and Chant: a new field of investigation*

Ancient rhetoric was a complex art and it is difficult for us to
understand it in a proper way. One of its part was called
_pronuntiatio_ (or _actio_) and its aim was to teach how to per-
form successfully a speech, a lecture etc. There are several
modern manuals useful for an introduction to this field, but
what interests us in this newsletter is a point that, although
rarely investigated, is extremely important for those who wish
to study chant: Gregorian Chant shows a deep influence of the
ancient "rhetorical civilization", if you like this phrase.
In Gregorian Chant there are two ways to use the text of
the Bible. The former is simple chanted `reading' (the technical
word is _cantillatio_), and it is used e.g. to `chant' the les-
sons (_lectiones_) of the Mass, of the Vespers and so on. For an
example, see in the _Graduale Romanum_ (or in the _Triplex_):
there is a `basic' pitch (for example A [= la]) and at textual
articulations (full stop, colon...) the pitch changes. There is
no need to write the music of a _lectio_, because after a few
attempts a good _cantor_ will be able to chant the text directly
from a book with no written music. In this case, the chant is
very unadorned and is depending only on the _syntax_ of the
text. Another simple example is the chant of the _orationes_; a
more elaborated instance is the Preface of the Mass.
But we like Gregorian Chant not only for the _formulae_ of
the readings! The study of the relationship of text and music in
the real repertoire shows how carefully the ancient composers
were able to emphasize particular words and phrases. For
example: take a look at a little _communio_ (Dicit dominus
implete hydrias, _GR_ or _GT_ 263). The text says: "cum gustas-
set architriclinus aquam vinum factam dicit sponso"... (the
president of the banquet, having tasted the water transformed
into wine, said to the bridegroom:...). The most important word
is _aquam_ or _vinum_? The important point is that the two words
are used one beside the other, and the composer uses, on the
last syllable of _aquam_, a neume frequently utilized to
emphasize a textual connection (we use to call it _torculus
specialis_); and the first syllable of _aquam_ has a _t(enete)_
in the neumes (see the _GT_ with Einsiedeln notation). In the
performance, we will give some emphasis to this word, because
_water_ was transformed into _wine_ (_aquam... vinum factam_)!
The surprise of the _architriclinus_ is showed also by the
rhythm used on the final word (_factam_).
This is a little example showing that Gregorian Chant was
written by people who wished to give to the meaning (and not
only to the syntax) of the text its adequate `vibration'. But
the choice of the word to be highlighted was not depending on a
personal and arbitrary choice of the composer. The highlighted
word was a word, or a phrase, on which the Fathers of the Church
(basically Augustine, Cassiodorus, Bedas) had concentrated their
attention. An example: in the _tractus_ of the First Sunday of
Lent (_Qui habitat_: GR 73-6) there are several occurrences of
the conjunction _quoniam_ (`because'). The neumes show a deli-
cate and fairly rapid performance of this words, but in only one
case (v. 11: _quoniam in me speravit..._) Sankt Gallen and Laon
manuscripts agree requiring to sing this word with a particular
attention to a clear pronunciation, almost slow. Why? Because
ancient exegesis informs us that these are words of God Father
himself: therefore they require a different kind (1) of musical
composition and (2) of performance.
Just two easy examples of a fascinating investigation.
Some bibliography, now, on this rather new and very important
chapter of modern studies in Gregorian Chant. I would suggest,
first of all, the works of Godehard Joppich. See for example
"Die rhetorische Komponente in der Notation des Codex 121 von
Einsiedeln", in _Codex 121 Einsiedeln: Kommentar_, Lang, Bern
1991, 119-88; there is an Italian translation in the journal
_Note Gregoriane_ 2, 1993, 7-73 (the first example quoted above
was used by Professor Joppich in a lecture). For the even more
fascinating study of "exegesis and Gregorian Chant", I can sug-
gest two articles of Massimo Lattanzi, published in another
Italian journal (_Studi Gregoriani_ II, 1987, and VIII, 1992);
the 1987 article is devoted to the _quoniam_ I discussed above.
If there are readers interested in preparing an English transla-
tion, I will ask the authorization of the author and of the
publisher. I have given an account of this topic in a paragraph
of recent paper ("Retorica, sensatezza, discorso: una proposta",
in the journal _Nuovo Areopago_, 14/1 [1995], 43-56). Those
interested in a copy, please drop a line.

Practica Cantus

*Gregorian Chant in the Danish Diaspora*
Michael Chesnutt

Michael Chesnutt is the Director of the Schola
Caeciliana, Copenhagen. I thank him for this bright and
interesting paper. Michael Chesnutt can be reached at the
University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Humanities,
Njalsgade 80, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.
FAX +45 353-28399 - Internet:

The sounds of the chant were silenced in Danish churches when
the use of Latin in the Protestant liturgy was finally dis-
continued in the first half of the seventeenth century. They
returned about 150 years ago when the Roman Catholic church
resumed its public mission after the enactment of full religious
toleration in 1849. The Ultramontane tendencies of the Catholic
minority, which included a small but influential number of
academics and other socially privileged persons, ensured the
revival and maintenance of the tradition until the outbreak of
pastoral (and aesthetic) civil war that readers of this newslet-
ter have their very special reasons to regret - I am referring,
of course, to the movement for a vernacular liturgy that reached
Scandinavia from Germany soon after World War II, and was
destined to carry all before it at Vatican II.
Everyone knows that the Council, though not abolishing the
Latin rite, made it extremely difficult for priests and
musicians to retain it in the face of charges of obscurantism.
In post-conciliar Denmark the death blow was administered
directly by the hierarchy, who made it very clear that Latin was
to be discouraged, and promoted congregational hymn singing in
the national Lutheran tradition - and indeed to a great extent
to Lutheran texts! Sunday High Mass in Latin is now to be heard
only once or twice a month in major churches (including the Pro-
Cathedral in Copenhagen), the only exception to this being the
Church of the Sacred Heart, which is a parish in central Copen-
hagen run by the Jesuits. And it is a very long time since
Sunday Vespers was sung in any language or in any place except
religious houses.
The response of church musicians who feel that they no
longer have a proper home has been to go outside and present the
repertoire in concert form or at para-liturgical events. (The
latter are mostly sponsored by the established Lutheran church,
which spends a good deal of money on its own music and does not
mind listening to other traditions.) This policy was adopted a
long time ago by Danish composer Bernhard Lewkovitch, formerly
director of music at the Catholic Pro-Cathedral, who for many
years led the ensemble _Schola Cantorum & Gregoriana_ in per-
formances of his own music and of historical repertoire includ-
ing the chant. Some of Lewkovitch's work is to be heard on old
LPs and a handful of recent CD transfers.
Since 1993 the role of Lewkovitch's group has been taken
over by _Schola Caeciliana_ under the direction of the author of
this article, who also served for a time as director of music at
the Pro-Cathedral - thereby learning the eternal truth of the
adage that you can lead a horse to water but not force it to
drink. The ensemble is named for the Cecilian movement in
nineteenth-century Germany; it consists of 10-12 adult male
singers, including falsettists, and its repertoire comprises
polyphonic masterworks by English and continental composers of
the Renaissance (Tallis, Byrd, Victoria, Palestrina, and others)
as well as chants of the Mass and Office. Our work has been sup-
ported so far by grants from the Nordic Music Committee and the
Danish Music Council, and our first CD project is scheduled for
late 1995 - it will document the Latin Mass as it was still
occasionally sung in Lutheran Denmark as late as the turn of the
sixteenth century.
A selection of concert programs over the last year and a
half will illustrate our presentational philosophy better than
many words:

November 1993/January 1994: Gregorian Propers for All Saints and
the Epiphany were combined with William Byrd's polyphonic
Ordinary for men's voices in a program celebrating the 450th
anniversary of Byrd's birth. This program was presented in
Copenhagen, Stockholm, and the Faroe Islands.

April 1994: The Gregorian Passion according to S. John was sung
(with Byrd's polyphonic setting of the Turba choruses) in a Good
Friday concert in Copenhagen that also included the Gregorian
Improperia with falsobordone sections by Palestrina.

October 1994: The Gregorian Requiem Mass and Compline were sung
in Copenhagen on the Sunday afternoon preceding All Souls.

December 1994: The Gregorian Propers for the Third Mass of
Christmas were combined with a polyphonic Ordinary by Palestrina
in a concert in Copenhagen celebrating the 400th anniversary of
Palestrina's death.

February 1995: The Gregorian Propers for Quinquagesima were com-
bined with a polyphonic Ordinary by John Shepherd and motets by
Tallis in a concert in Aarhus, Jutland, on the last Sunday
before Lent.

April 1995: A shortened version of Tenebrae for Good Friday with
polyphonic responsories from Victoria's Office of Holy Week was
sung on Maundy Thursday in the historic Carmelite church in
Elsinore, and on Good Friday in Copenhagen.

Attendance figures of between 150 and 200 people, many of them
young, at the majority of these concerts suggest more than just
superficial curiosity about the music (though the Spanish monks
have certainly helped), and an apparent acceptance of the idea
that it should be sung in appropriate surroundings and at
appropriate times in the liturgical year.
The members of Schola Caeciliana are professional and
semi-professional singers who work with the group because they
believe it has a mission. We should very much like to hear from
colleagues who want to exchange ideas, or who are planning
courses or concert presentations in our area of mutual interest;
funding trips can admittedly be a problem, but problems exist to
be overcome!

*Another Chant-Book Source*
Scott R. Knitter
Scott R. Knitter can be reached at the Internet address

Paraclete Press in Orleans, Massachusetts, USA, is another
source for Solesmes publications of chant and spiritual writ-
ings. I provide the following information as a satisfied
customer, not as someone who has any vested interest in the com-

Paraclete Press
P O Box 1568
Orleans, Massachusetts 02653
Phone (800) 451-5006
Fax (508) 255-5705

Among the items in the liturgical chant brochure:

3001 Graduale Romanum $ 40.95
3002 Graduale Triplex $ 58.95
3003 Antiphonale Monasticum $ 56.95
3004 Liber Hymnarius $ 53.95
3006 Psalterium Monasticum $ 49.95
3009 Liber Cantualis $ 12.95
3012 Processionale Monasticum $ 31.95
3017 Liber Concelebrantium $ 9.95
3051 Gregorian Missal $ 33.95
9186 Ordo Solesmensis $ 7.95

[information from the 1994 brochure of Les Editions de Solesmes
items offered by Paraclete Press]

*Information on Gregorian Seminars and other Events*

I regret to say that, as a consequence of some family problems,
I was forced to delay the edition of the current issue of NC
(due more than one month ago). Therefore, I could not give use-
ful information on several events, particularly on:

_Liturgical Music And The Restoration Of The Sacred_
The fifth Annual Colloquium Sponsored by Christendom Col-
lege in Collaboration with the Church Music Association
of America: June 20-25, 1995
Christendom College Campus
Front Royal, Virginia 22630, U.S.A.
Information sent by Joe Kelly (

_Latin Liturgy Association_
Fifth National Convention, Cleveland, Ohio:
June 10-11, 1995
Information sent by James F. Pauer (

My apologies for being useless in this case. I hope that Joe
Kelly and James F. Pauer will be so kind to send an article on
these conferences _post eventum_. In the meanwhile, I ask all
the contributors to send information on chant conferences, col-
loquia, and events several months before the scheduled date.
Thank you.

*NC form of publication: a question to readers*
NC is presently sent as a free 'text only' e-mail publication or
as a printed document to users who prefer this traditional form.
I was wondering if there are users who would like to receive the
file in one among these formats (Dos/Windows):
- a Postscript file (can be printed with any PS device)
- a RTF file (can be imported into any Windows/Mac WP)
- a TeX file
- a NotaBene file

These files can be easily zipped and UU/XX coded, and you will
be able to print them and read the newsletter with decent
formatting, styles, fonts, and graphics (_including neumes_).
I would appreciate an answer to this question (just write "My
favourite format[s] is [are] ......"). Thanks.

*Liber usualis for sale*
Ken Sybesma
I have a few copies of "Liber Usualis" for sale. My asking price
ranges from $75US to $125US depending upon condition, compara-
tive rarity, etc., plus shipping. I have a few Libers that are
entirely in Latin, a couple with French rubrics and a few with
English rubrics. Publication dates range between the 1930s and
the 1950s. Enquiries can be made to me at my e-mail address
(, or to:
Ken Sybesma
7050 Sandy Forks Rd
Raleigh NC 27615-6744

*Gregorian Chant Seminar in Italy (again)*

Title: Gregorian Chant: Text, Music, Liturgy
Place: Arenzano, Italy (near Genoa, Italian Riviera)
Dates: 4-10 September, 1995

Bonifacio Baroffio, OSB: Liturgy
Fabrizio Fancello: Organ Accompaniment
Massimo Lattanzi: Gregorian Semiology
Guido Milanese: Introduction to Greg. Chant
Piergiorgio Righele: Vocal Technique
All the lecturers: Gregorian Performance
Many among the lecturers can speak English; others
German, French, Spanish.

Hotels: Good hotels from * to *****. Price details on request.
Airport: Genoa International Airport (about 20 minutes)
Events: A concert. Vespers and Chanted Mass in the weekend.

Registration fee: Lire 150,000 (about $90). Participants who
register by the beginning of August will be offered accommoda-
tion (B&B) in a *** hotel at very cheap rates. Meals are offered
in a good restaurant within easy reach of the school. For
details please contact Guido Milanese (addresses and phone num-
bers listed above).
NB: Please excuse me for posting this again, but I had surprised
of receiving no answer at all from NC subscribers!