Friday, March 06, 2009

The Music Speaks Along with the Words

From Dom Gajard's untranslated work Les plus belles mélodies grégoriennes:

When we were at the noviciate, we observed, while serving his private Mass, that after the introit, the gradual, the offertory, the communion – all the sung pieces, in short – he would mark a pause, not found in the rubrics, and absorb himself in meditation. One day, one of us made bold and asked why he stopped so, and he received this answer, "For the sung pieces, the missal only gives the text which lends itself to many interpretations. What interests me is to know the Church’s interpretation, and I believe that it is clearly given in the melody which dresses up the text in the Graduale. So I stop for a while to bring the melody to mind. Gregorian, you know, is the official commentary of the liturgical texts, authentically given by the Church herself."

(Trans. Denis Garneau)

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