LATIN MASS SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE. 15 FEBRUARY 2010
LAUNCH OF THE GREGORIAN CHANT NETWORK
A new organisation – The Gregorian Chant Network - has been launched to organise training in Gregorian Chant and to link singers and choirs singing Gregorian Chant for the Catholic liturgy, with the support of the Latin Mass Society, Una Voce Scotland, the Association for Latin Liturgy, and the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge.
On Saturday 30th January, at a meeting at the London Oratory, 35 Chant directors, Gregorian Chant experts, and interested parties, including representatives from more than twenty Gregorian Chant scholas from all parts of England, Wales, and Scotland, and the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, met to launch a new association to coordinate and promote Gregorian Chant training initiatives, and to facilitate mutual support, both moral and practical, among chant scholas. They were addressed by Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, which sponsored the meeting, and Colin Mawby, the composer and former Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral. The meeting ended with Vespers in the Little Oratory, led by Fr Anthony Alexander.
Dr Shaw introduced the Gregorian Chant Network and outlined its practical work, which was further discussed in an open forum. Mr Mawby gave a paper on the importance of Chant, and led a practical session on conducting a chant schola.
The Gregorian Chant Network (GCN) is supported by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS), and its Scottish equivalent, Una Voce Scotland, the Association for Latin Liturgy (ALL), and the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge. The LMS and UV Scotland promote the use of the usus antiquior of the Roman Rite (the Traditional Latin Mass). The ALL promotes the use of Latin in the liturgy in both forms of the Roman Rite. The Schola Gregoriana, which was founded by the late Dr Mary Berry CBE, provides training in the Chant, sings at events (including Mass in both forms of the Roman Rite) across the country, and has a programme of recording CDs.
The GCN’s first training event will be a three-day course at the Oratory School, Reading, 9-11th April, directed by Nick Gale, the Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral. The course will cater for beginners and more advanced singers alike.
More details can be found on the GCN website:
The Gregorian Chant Network is unique in the UK as a collaboration between groups which promote the Traditional Latin Mass (the LMS and UV Scotland), a group primarily associated with the New Mass (the ALL), and a group of professional singers (the Schola Gregoriana).
Gregorian Chant is called for in both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ forms of the Mass, with Vatican II calling for it to have ‘pride of place in liturgical services’. In the fifty years leading up to the Council the Chant underwent a widespread renaissance in the Church, with the help of scholarly work of the monastery of Solesmes in France. Following the Council, however, Chant fell out of widespread use in the Catholic liturgy. In the context of the renewed interest in the liturgy stimulated by Pope Benedict XVI, interest in the Chant is growing once more. The spread of the Traditional Mass, allowed greater freedom under Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, is creating a greater demand for the Chant, which is required for its sung forms. The ‘Reform of the Reform’ movement, which seeks to improve the Mass promulgated in 1969, has also led to the restoration of Chant in many churches.
The repertoire of Gregorian Chant includes much music composed for the Mass between the 4th and the 8th Centuries, and chants for the Office which go back to the time of Christ and earlier. It is written in square notes on a four-line stave, from which modern musical notation developed, and requires special skills for its interpretation and performance. It was described by Vatican II and Pope Pius X as specially suited to the Roman liturgy.
For further information contact John Medlin at the LMS: 020 7404 7284