On the songs from this CD
Not too long ago, I made a second pilgrimage to the Basilica of St. Louis in St. Louis, MO, as well as to the older Basilica (they have two), where I spent three days and took many nice photos.
The Basilica is already well documented online, so I won't attempt to top the great "stuff" already published.
One of the souvenirs from this "voyage" was a CD from their bookstore. It's hard to get a feel for the musical selections offered and most people (I'm guessing) might just go with their "guts" to purchase. That's what I did.
Listening to the CD
On the road trip back to WI, I popped the above CD into the player and, very shortly, this is what I heard- traditional chant of the 11th century, Viderunt Omnes by Perotin which is #2 on the program as sung by Gloria Dei Cantors.
I remember that I had to keep telling myself that if it converted the pagans it must be good.
But "Franc"-ly, there were too many "hee hees" and "hahahas" going on in the second selection and it didn't work for me. I set the CD aside for a time.
In a "re-listen" a few months later, I found it most agreeable, especially the selections toward the end of this CD. Although one with the "heehees", I often skip over even to this very day. It is an acquired taste for sure. However, I do understand it better now:
"Such singing singing was held by Christian mystics to be the highest level of Christian utterance: 'it is a certain sound of joy without words.' St Augustine wrote, 'the expression of a mind poured forth in joy.' It came to be called jubilated singing, after jubilus, Latin for a call upon God (compare ju,-pronounced yoo as in yodel or yoo-hoo)." From the booklet Eternal Chant, an anthology. The Monks Choir of Liguge Abbey arrangement of this chant is completely different. link.
A Shorter Arrangement
Above is a shorter version of Viderunt Omnes as recorded by a different group of cantors and a little easirer to listen to. The Illuminations in the video are from the ZurichCodex Mannesse -argesarge (of the mid 12th to early 14th century) and go well with the music visually but they don't reflect the theme of the music which is Psalm 98, the jubilant singing of the moment when God's salvation is made known to all the Earth. View the pictorial link to more Codex art.
Living During that Time
Henry Adams (d.1918), great-grandson of President John Adam wrote a book of memoirs titled Mont-Saint- Michel and Chartres.
In the introduction, he suggests that the reader place himself in the life of an everyday person from that period.
To better understand Viderunt Omnes, I have done that.
Imagine a group of pilgrims en-route to their destination. Since it is a long journey on foot, one pilgrim begins to " bebop"- in the traditional sense. Others in the group take note, join in and add more.
Little is known about Perotin's life so we may never know how this chant was composed, but probably not in the way I've described.
The Gothic Virgin Queen
In the same book, Adam's book writes about the famous Vitrail de Notre-Dame de la Belle Verrière de Chartres (Stained glass window of Our Lady of Chartres Beautiful Canopy) also called The Blue Virgin is located in the Cathedral of Chartres, France. They say Adams fell in love with the Blessed Virgin Mary there.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
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