Academic journal article The Hymn

A Gregorian Chant Handbook

Academic journal article The Hymn

A Gregorian Chant Handbook

Article excerpt

A Gregorian Chant Handbook by William Tortolano. Chicago: GIA Publications, Inc., 2005. 68 pp. ISBN: 1-57999-539-X. U.S. $9.95.

William Tortolano, Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts/Music at St. Michael's College in Vermont, is a graduate of Boston University and the New England Conservatory of Music. In addition, he has a Licentiate and Doctorate in Sacred Music from the University of Montreal, and has researched Gregorian chant at St. Pierre de Solesmes in France and at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome. His studies, teaching, and professional activities for many years make him an ideal person to write a much-needed practical guide on Gregorian chant for today's church musicians. This is, indeed, a practical book, and it makes no pretense at being a scholarly treatment of the subject. Tortolano's subject is obviously one which is very dear to his heart.

Gregorian chant has generally had an unhappy history since the liturgical reforms that were adopted by the Roman Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. The document issued by the council on the subject of the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4 December 1963), had declared that the use of Latin was "to be preserved" and that Gregorian chant was to be given "pride of place" in Catholic worship, but within only a short number of years Latin had practically disappeared from worship, along with most of the church music that had been long associated with Roman Catholicism. Proponents of chant quickly divided into two camps, one favoring the translation of Gregorian chant to suit the new vernacular liturgy and the other favoring the retention of Latin, insisting that language and music were inseparable. Neither group could claim significant or widespread success in preserving the use of Gregorian chant, much less giving this music the "pride of place" envisioned by the Church Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.

It has been argued for about the last forty years or more that congregational singing in Latin is contrary to the larger goal of seeking the active participation of the people. However, I would cite my own parish of St. Anne in Rochester, New York, to support my contention that this argument is not necessarily a valid one. In addition to a hymnal, all the pews at St. Anne have copies of the Liber Cantualis, which includes seven chant Masses (plus the Requiem), hymns, canticles, and psalms. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.