Mass with Gregorian Chanting

Feb 20th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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Mass with Gregorian Chanting

We will be in Italy for three Sundays
-one leaving Umbria and traveling into Rome
-one in Positano
-one in Ortigia
Does anyone know of a mass in any of these locations that might have some Gregorian chanting? I think I read somewhere that there is a mass at 11:00 AM in Rome (or maybe it was Venice) that includes Gregorian chanting but I'm trying to find out if there are masses at other times or even on other days that may have this as well.
galelstorm is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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You'd have to leave Umbria awfully early to get to the mass with Gregorian chanting at Sant'Anselmo on the Aventine in Rome; it's at 8:30 am. However, there's also Vespers at 7:15 pm. There are services at the same time every day at Sant'Anselmo.
Zerlina is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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Sant'Antimo has Gregorian chants about 5 times a day. It's quite a drive to get there, but absolutely gorgeous and worthwhile.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 06:19 PM
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zerlina-I was afraid this would be the case for trying to hear them in Rome. I do want to take our time so I will keep the 7:15 vespers in mind. Thank you!
St. Cirq-I discovered a thread 92006 I think) about Sant'Antimo and also Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore. Now I must take a look a the michelin map to see approximately how long it would take to arrive at either from Bevagna. Thanks!
galelstorm is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 08:00 PM
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We visited the Sant'Antimo Abbey in Castelnuovo dell'Abate to see the Gregorian chanting. The Abbey is impressive, and in a gorgeous setting. However, the chanting was brief (only about 10 minutes), and involved only four singers, so we were a bit disappointed. I would hate to think of someone driving many hours for it.

We then drove to the other abbey, the Abbazia di Mont'Olivetto Maggiore, definitely worth a visit. But we did not see the chanting there, so I can't report on it.

This is taken from my trip report at:

justretired is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 05:02 AM
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As a minor fan of early liturgical music, I've never managed to find much in Italy outside Rome. There's a reasonable amount at the 1100 Sunday Mass at Monte Oliveto, but little more than OK, and when I attended, it was interspersed with really, really mediocre singing (of those awful 19th/20th century hymns far too many Catholic churches often limit themselves to, turning their backs on the robust popular hymnms written by Protestants) from a visiting lay choir. There's also Vespers at 1815/1830.

Italian churches are generally a lot worse at publicising their music on web sites etc than they are at the singing itself - which, in general is itself third rate. So there might be hidden jewels I've missed: but apart from the two Tuscan abbeys, I've never succeeded in finding much plainsong or Gregorian chant outside Rome.

However, I've occasionally noticed that the list of services in Italian cathedrals I'm visiting midweek sometimes includes a phrase like "Domenica: 1100 (or 1030) Santa Messa Solenne (canto gregoriano). Since every Italian village with more than one horse gets its own bishop - and few of those cathedrals ever have a website - it's worth checking while you're there, especially in larger towns like Siracusa or Naples, what the musical offering is at the main Sunday Mass in the cathedral. Generally, though, provincial Italy seems not to have the lay choirs with an enthusiasm for earlyish sacred music that are ten a penny in Catholic and Anglican churches everywhere in England - and, with a collapse in religious vocations, there just aren't the monks anymore.

HOWEVER, Rome still probably has the world's highest concentration, outside Southeast England, of singers able to give decent performances of early sacred music. You MIGHT strike lucky any Sunday at the main Mass at St Peter's, St John Lateran or Santa Maria Maggiore. You most certainly will strike lucky at the early Sunday Mass at Santa Sabina on the Aventine (the loveliest church anywhere that takes music seriously) and at the neighbouring Sant'Anselmo (charmfree recent building, but the home of the Pontifical Academy of sacred music).

St Peter's also has really high quality traditional liturgical music - mostly Gregorian, but occasionally Gregorian-like, such as Victoria's settings - at the main feasts, such as Good Friday, and at some religious events you wouldn't have thought about, like Vespers on New Year's Eve and the Saturday before the first Sunday in Lent. I've never found a reliable source predicting when (the Vatican website appears uninterested in telling the world what it's planning to do): but if you're passsing Rome near a major feast (or its vigil, or its octave day), it's worth spending a good bit of time on the web trying to find out how it was celebrated musically last year.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 05:09 AM
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Thanks Larry. I found on Michelin that it will take approximately two and a half hours to get from Bevagna to Sant' Antimo. I would hope for at least thirty minutes of bliss in listening to the chanting, ten minutes is awfully brief. Fodor's Italy book (2004 when I was originally supposed to make this trip) recommends Sant' Antimo over Monte Oliveto Maggiore but reading more about it I think you are correct. Off to read your trip report now, thanks again
galelstorm is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 10:02 AM
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flanneruk-Wow, I missed your post earlier as we must have been typing/posting at the same time. You are a veritable fountain of information! I'm glad I'm not alone in my appreciation of the ancient chants. Zerlina's recommendation on vespers at San'Anselmo are looking better by the minute. Monte di Oliveto does sound enticing even if it is merely for a visit and maybe even a visit to a nearby winery! I will not give up my quest just yet and will continue to look for a mass somewhere that includes this lovely form of worship and music.
Thank you!!!
galelstorm is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 10:14 AM
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If you attend a mass at Sant'Antimo, it will last longer than 10 minutes... It will still only be a few monks chanting, though, because the community is very small.
Zerlina is offline  

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