Saturday, March 17, 2007

Marie Pierik: Poet Laureate of Chant

With the rediscovery of Gregorian chant in Catholic liturgy - the momentum here accelerates at near frenzy - there is also a rising demand for literature to explain the meaning of it all. A vast literature does in fact exist, but most of it has long been out of print. We all know the feeling of scouring used book store and coming across a gem of exposition that we didn't know existed, and then longing for the whole world to have access.

With that background, the CMAA gives us Marie Pierik's 1939 book The Spirit of Gregorian Chant in free download or in print. Pierik was a lifetime student and chant enthusiast.

Like many Catholic musicians of that generation, she was inspired by the work of Solesmes to dedicate her whole life to helping the world to sing as the Church intends. I'm particularly drawn to her work because her love of the music and form is so evident. She is a scholar, a historian, a specialist but she was never shy about her utter devotion to her cause. Her prose is delightfully free of pretense. Instead it burns with the desire to communicate and explain, systematically but also warmly, why Gregorian chant is the music of the faith.

Isn't it a nice thought that she can teach again in this generation and every one that follows?

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