Yesterday, I made a phenomenal discovery—or at least I think it is. I was looking on YouTube for any tracks from an CD of Ensemble Organum called Chante Corse, which are Franciscan chants from 17-18 century Corsica. I always loved the Eastern flavor. Listen for example to the Tantum Ergo.
But what I discovered blew me away. Ensemble Organum has also produced a CD of chants from—ready for this?—the Knights Templar. Apparently, the chants are from 12th century manuscripts found in the Temple in Jerusalem. Here are the real Templar lost secrets and ancient wisdom and—guess what?—its all Catholic. No Templar baloney here.
I am linking to several videos from YouTube that feature tracks off the CD.
The first is Crucem Sanctam Subiit:
Crucem sanctam subiit,
qui infernum confregit,
accinctus est potentia,
surrexit die tertia. Alleluia.
Lapidem quem reprobaverunt
aedeficantes factus est
caput anguli, alleluia.
He bore the Holy Cross,
who broke the power of hell;
He was girded with power
He rose again the third day, alleluia
The stone that the architects rejected
became the cornerstone, alleluia.
It is half chant and half military march, as the Templars were both monks and knights. Awesome:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
The other track I am posting is the Templar version of the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen). One version of the origin of this Marian antiphon in such common usage within the Western Church is that it was written as a crusader march:
It has also been attributed to Adhémar, Bishop of Podium (Puy-en-Velay), whence it has been styled “Antiphona de Podio” (Anthem of Le Puy). Adhémar was the first to ask permission to go on the crusade, and the first to receive the cross from Pope Urban II. “Before his departure, towards the end of October, 1096, he composed the war-song of the crusade, in which he asked the intercession of the Queen of Heaven, the Salve Regina” (Migne, “Dict. des Croisades”, s. v. Adhémar). He is said to have asked the monks of Cluny to admit it into their office, but no trace of its use in Cluny is known before the time of Peter the Venerable, who decreed (about 1135) that the anthem should be sung processionally on certain feasts.
Tremendous basso profundo drone!
I am blown away.
This is truly magnificent! I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like that. I’m going to have to order this CD! Thanks so much for posting these.
I have never heard of Gregorian Chant with an Eastern flair before. I love it! I’ve heard some Catholics who sort of scorn any Eastern styled music because of it’s link to the muslim world or the Byzantine Catholic Church versus the Roman Catholic one. So, I am impressed that not only is this music clearly very Catholic, but also appreciated by an orthodox Catholic priest. It’s fascinating to see the difference in tonality, etc when you hear music from other parts of the world .. and yet, like the chants, to hear so much similarity! Thanks so much for sharing this.
For people who like the Eastern tonality, here’s a modern-day piece that my daughter recently played by a modern composer, Hazo. It’s called Arabesque and I found it on youtube performed by a GA All-State band. I love it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQsgb-0rDhg&feature=PlayList&p=DED0518D814E6BF1&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=88
I don’t know, maybe the piece I shared has more of a muslim or non-Catholic flair to it. I really don’t know … so hopefully no one gets mad at me! But, I do think that different music from other regions can be so interesting. In the case of the Chants, it shows how people incorporate what’s around them to worship within the same church … it’s not JUST a Western church. Our Lord is much larger than that!
GREAT Find! Thanks for the info. I will definetly be digesting this! Ave Maria
Father, this is an excellent find!
And all the best on your upcoming camps.
I think that you might be mixing up the Byzantine Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox church. You appear to be doing so in your above post. We attend a Byzantine Catholic Church and all the chanting is Eastern and it is Catholic. It is also the same as Russian ORthodox. It is a confusing issue but I think that one needs to be very careful in how they describe things.
Well, I do know people in the Ukrainian Catholic Church but I admit to not understanding all of the Eastern Rites (that don’t really follow the Pope) and yet are accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. I know how the split happened many years ago historically, but never understood why those churches are accepted by the Vatican while others are not.
As for this Eastern Chanting, I think what I enjoyed about it was those unique middle Eastern tones (they actually use a different scale than we do) that give it a very unique style. In the past, I always felt that the middle eastern religious songs were mostly muslim or Jewish. I’ve never heard as much Christian music from this genre, though I know it exists. The piece I shared has that unique tonality to it but I wasn’t sure if it was totally secular or if it had links to the other religious groups … this is what concerned me about sharing it here.
Anyway, my point is that I really enjoyed these Chants that Father shared … they’re so similar and yet so unique and I was pleased to see the Christian links to this genre of music.
The Eastern rites of the Catholic Church do follow the pope. The rites represent the liturgical traditions and cultures coming from various places around the world. Before the schism they were all under the pope. Afterward, the Eastern Rites were split. So now there are, for example, Ukrainian Catholics who follow their own rite and are under the pope and Ukrainian Orthodox who follow the same rite but are not under the pope. This is what makes it so confusing.
As far as the Eastern flare of the Templar chants is concerned, it is quite understandable and even predictable.
The Church has always assimilated culture, purifying, rejecting the bad and sanctifying the good. Both Classical and Gothic architecture are examples of this assimilation by the Church—Classical coming from Greece and Rome, Gothic coming from the Northern countries. In fact, the gothic got its name from the next generation, during the Renaissance, when “gothic” was considered a pejorative term, meaning “rude” and “barbaric” (the Goths were considered savages by many of the Italian Renaissance). There is still on ongoing fight about which is more Catholic.
I am no historian, but the Templars were first crusaders and many of them would have spent considerable time in Byzantium. Likewise the Holy Land was full of Eastern Christians, though Islam was bringing about a dwindling of the population.
This process has happened over and over again throughout history. No wonder one can hear the strains of both the Christian and pagan East in the chants of the Templars.
Another example of this that I have blogged about is the beautiful Manueline architecture of Portugal. My understanding is that it represents the assimilation of both Gothic, Italian and Eastern influences, including those of East India, and I speculate, North Africa. One of the finest examples of Manueline architecture is the Convento de Christo in Tomar—once again, a Templar institution.
I just noticed that in the chant Crucem Sanctam Subiit the “alleluia” chorus is ended, not by a repetition of the alleluia—which is what I thought when I was not paying close attention—but by just a “aaahh,” delivered in a staccato and forceful fashion. I wonder if this is a war cry. I imagine this could have been sung on horseback during long marches. I would really like to know.
Thank you for your support of the encampments. God bless you.
Exquisite. Five times I’ve listened to Tantum Ergo, and five times I was brought to tears of joy, and every time it was completely unexpected. I immediately bought the CD. Thank you and God bless you.
I go to a Ukrainian Catholic Church! It’s a very interesting rite. I’ve been to a few other Eastern Catholic Rites as well, and have always enjoyed them.
Thanks for posting! God bless.
Another instrumentation of Tantum Ergo can be found here:
in this case, sung in Saint Stephen’s in Vienna to the tune of the old Austro-Hungarian anthem “Gott Erhalte Unser Kaiser” at the funeral of Archduke Karl Ludwig, son of Blessed Charles of Austria and brother of HIRH Otto.
Beautiful music. Makes me feel like marching or deep in prayer.
A friend gave me the link to your site. The music is awesome Padre! I look forward to visiting and listening again.