Chant Village News


Film - Of Gods and Men - Gregorian chant galvanizes cast

Read the NPR review and watch clips of new, award-winning French film about Algerian monks facing a life and death dilemma.

An excerpt from the review:

"The other key to the film is music. Although the monks have divergent opinions and biographies, their unity is palpable whenever they come together in Gregorian chant. In one of the movie's most stirring moments, the men sing in response to the armed helicopter circling above their home.

"It was during their singing lessons, Wilson [Lambert Wilson, who plays the abbot] recalls, that "the actors fused into a team and the community spirit began." That may give the music too much credit, but the ensemble cast's interplay does feel warm and unforced. Wilson himself (who's best known in the U.S. for the two Matrix sequels) seems far more serene than his usual cinematic self."


Gregorian Chant (Cambridge Introductions to Music)

A chant book for everyone
by one of the world's leading medieval chant scholars

David Hiley's

Gregorian Chant (Cambridge Introductions to Music)

(2010, Cambridge University Press)

Concise (270 pages), economical (under $30),
filled with illustrations, examples and crystal-clear explanations,
this is an indispensible addition to any chant lover's library.

What is Gregorian chant, and where does it come from? What purpose does it serve, and how did it take on the form and features which make it instantly recognizable? Designed to guide students through this key topic, this book answers these questions and many more. David Hiley describes the church services in which chant is performed, takes the reader through the church year, explains what Latin texts were used, and, taking Worcester Cathedral as an example, describes the buildings in which it was sung. The history of chant is traced from its beginnings in the early centuries of Christianity, through the Middle Ages, the revisions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the restoration in the nineteenth and twentieth. Using numerous music examples, the book shows how chants are made and how they were notated. An indispensable guide for all those interested in the fascinating world of Gregorian chant.

Designed to guide students through this key topic in music studies, this book examines what Gregorian chant is, where it comes from, and how it took on the form and features which make it instantly recognizable. Containing examples from medieval manuscripts, the book shows how chants are made and notated.

David Hiley is Professor in the Institute of Musicology at the University of Regensburg, Germany.

Find out more, or order it at . .


Chant Camp at Stanford University, 10/19/09

Susan Hellauer of and her illustrious Anonymous 4 colleagues led a Chant Camp at Memorial Church, Stanford University on Monday Oct. 19, 2009. They were joined by Prof. William Mahrt and Prof. Jesse Rodin of the Stanford Music Dept. who gave presentations on various aspects of medieval and Renaissance chant. The event was sponsored by Stanford Lively Arts, who also presented Anonymous 4 in concert on Wednesday October 21 with their newest program Secret Voices: Music of the Las Huelgas Codex, a collection of 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-voice music from an early 14th-century manuscript from a royal Cistercian convent in north central Iberia.

The event was covered by Stanford University News and the San Francisco Classical Voice, where you can read more about it, and see photos and video.


In Chant, Listening and Singing Become One By CHLOE VELTMAN New York Times, November 21, 2009

Read the article by San Francisco singer & writer Chloe Veltman, who attended Chant Camp sponsored by San Francisco Renaissance Voices on Nov. 14. And join Anonymous 4 for their concert The Cherry Tree on Dec. 3 at the Herbst Theater.


Pope Calls for Return to Gregorian Chant

In an article for the Telegraph of London, Malcolm Moore reported on Pope Benedict's dissatisfaction with the state of modern Catholic worship music, as well as the Sistine Choir itself, along with the organ and organist.

This is seen as a call for a return to the purity of Gregorian plainchant, and other Baroque and earlier forms of sacred polyphony.



Acclaimed music scholars to join Notre Dame faculty

By: Michael O. Garvey
Date: November 24, 2008

Peter Jeffery and Margot Fassler, specialists in sacred music and liturgy, will join the music and theology faculties of the University of Notre Dame, according to John T. McGreevy, I.A. O'Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

. . .  Read the entire article on the Notre Dame University newswire:


Robert Aubrey Davis (Millennium of Music) reviews Chant: Music for the Soul

Chant: Music for the Soul

Robert Aubry Davis reviews Chant: Music for the Soul for The Bob Edwards Show:

The A & R guy for Universal Classics and Jazz in London was playing Halo one day…you know, that best-selling video game with the weird pseudo-Gregorian Chant soundtrack. “What we need here,” Universal’s Tom Lewis thought, “is a fresh new group singing this stuff”…so, he advertises in European papers for groups to submit videos—kind of like the early rounds of American Idol. . . .

Read the entire review at Millennium of Music

AND, bonus: interview with chant scholar and Fanfare reviewer Fr. Jerome Weber, also on the Millennium of Music website


Champion of chant: Prof. William Mahrt of Stanford

Read Cynthia Haven's article on Prof. William Mahrt and his longstanding work with the St. Ann Choir in Palo Alto, California.

L.A. Cicero
William Mahrt directs the St. Ann Choir

William Mahrt directs the St. Ann Choir, which he says has had a "fruitful interaction" with Stanford's doctoral students of musicology, who find it "a very wonderful laboratory for the study of the music of history."


Universal Music signs Cistercian monks to recording contract

It was a new-meets-old story. Earlier this year, Universal Records posted an audition notice on YouTube, looking for an ensemble to record Gregorian chant. They don't have a TV, but they do have a computer, and a choir of monks from the twelfth-century Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz near Vienna responded with an audition video. And they snagged the gig. Now the recording has been released in Austria and Germany (worldwide release to follow shortly)  -- on the same label as Amy Winehouse and Eminem -- and the abbot is reeling at the miraculous turn of events. Read the Reuters article on Yahoo news.

Listen to samples from the recording, and get a free download at the recording's own website.