Thursday, July 29, 2021

Gregorian Chants in Chinese

Here are some videos from a very interesting YouTube channel started about eight months ago, dedicated to sacred music for the Roman Rite sung in Chinese. According to the channel’s description, these adaptations of the traditional Gregorian chants are the works of Fr Vincent Lebbe (1877-1940), a Belgian priest of the Congregation of the Mission (also known as the Lazarists, from the title of their mother-church in Paris), who dedicated his life to the evangelization of China. Commenting in the forum in which I found them, a native Chinese-speaker notes that they are written in classical Mandarin, which would not necessarily be easily understood by most Chinese people today. This is, of course, fully consonant with the Church’s authentic custom, which has always been to use (or create) an elegant and literarily elevated form of whatever language She prays in.
There are about 80 more videos on the channel itself. It goes without saying that if this can be done in Chinese, which has very little in common with Latin, there is no good excuse for not doing something similar in other vernacular languages that are far closer to Latin.

The simpler form of the Salve Regina.
The responsory Duo Seraphim from Sunday Matins of the seasons after Epiphany and Pentecost.
The Te Deum.
The Vidi Aquam.
The introit of the Requiem Mass.

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