Sant' Antimo Gregorian Chant

Old May 25th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Sant' Antimo Gregorian Chant

Does anyone know what is the best time of day to hear the Gregorian Chant? Also do you think it is better to go on a weekday or Sunday? Is it possible to hear a mass sung?

I have the schedule, just wondered if anyone had any first hand experience.

Thanks for any information you can provide.

Sebina
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Old May 25th, 2008, 04:00 PM
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sebinah,

I visited on my last trip and it was a real highlight. Beautiful abbey and surroundings, peaceful, austere and ancient building. In the morning, the sun beams into the church and you can hear the birds cooing in the rafters. (Don't know if they were doves or pigeons!)

I went on a Saturday early morning for the 9:00 am mass. Just a few people, some local worshipers, some visitors. Stayed for the whole mass.

Afterwards the "visiting hours" started at 10:00 am and the tour buses were rolling in as I left.

Highly recommend going early or very late. Buon viaggio.

http://www.montalcino.net/sant_antimo.htm
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Old May 25th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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We went to a Sunday Mass and it was pretty crowded. The singing and chanting echoing off the ancient stone walls is quite haunting.
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Old May 25th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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We attended a chanting in the early evening and it was extremely peaceful and only a handfull of people in the church. What an experience.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 05:50 AM
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What is the difference between chanting and the priests singing a mass? We went to S. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice for what was supposed to be the chanted mass and to me (not raised Catholic, my husband is) it seemed to be like any other mass I've been to. It was lovely but I would love for someone to explain the difference to me.

We are planning a visit to Sant' Antimo on our next visit to Italy and hope to have a better understanding of the service.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 06:37 AM
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I'm not catholic so I have no real knowledge but I can tell you what we heard/saw during one of the chanting sessions at Sant'Antimo.
I think it was 6 of the monks that came in, sat down with three on one side and 3 the other, facing each other. They held books and simply chanted...there were no other acts of worship that were being performed. I guess that "mass" would involve other acts of worship?
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Old May 26th, 2008, 06:48 AM
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Thanks for your reply Carol. That is more like what I expected. What we attended in Venice was a high mass with the monks singing the responses. So you have answered my question, there is a difference.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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Vespers is sung prayer in the Catholic faith, I believe usually called evensong in the Episcopal/Anglican faith although I have been to Moravian Vespers.

The Catholic "mass" is the equivalent of the Prostestant worship service and involves (among other things) a homily (sermon) and, very importantly, transubstantiation (changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ), one of the Catholic sacraments. High mass does have chanting and incense.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 07:44 AM
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Hi Sebina-
I was in Tuscany in October, and stayed just down the road from the Abbey for the express purpose of attending the chants- I went to several and really loved going to the very early morning session. The light is so beautiful then, and there weren't crowds, And after going twice, the third time was fascinating because the different personalities of the monks become more eveident as I got familiar with them- some very subtle interaction went on even as they were chanting.

There's a lovely path to walk just across the road that I recommend also.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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b-starr:
You must know the restaurant there that we enjoyed so much. Coming from Montalcino, it was right on the curve in Castelnuovo dell'Abbe as one heads down to the abbey. There were outside tables, but it was far too cold.

All Saints Day weekend, about 1:00 Sunday afternoon. Of course, we didn't realize until later that this was high lunch time on a big family holiday. The place was packed to the rafters with large families. Wine flowed freely and the food just kept on coming. We'll never know, but I wonder now whether we may have "crashed" some family's private party. If so, they certainly treated us graciously!

Afterwards we drove on over Mount Amiata. In every little village it was time for passaggio. Black-clad nonnas leaning on the arm of a strapping grandson. Beautiful young women dressed in their Sunday best. It was like a scene out of The Godfather. A most memorable day.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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Hi JeanneB,
Oh yes-I know the restaurant you mention, we passed it each time we went down the road to the Abbey and again on one of our "Giros".

We never did eat there though- we were at a Farm and we were feasting on mushrooms we picked ourselves and pecorino with warm honey drizzled over it and comparing different Brunellos...uh oh, I have to go back!
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Old May 26th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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I'll go with you!
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Old May 26th, 2008, 03:47 PM
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Deal! Hee hee- don't get me started....
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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I am looking at the Sant'Antimo schedule at :

http://www.antimo.it/pagine/09_BENVENUTO.html

I understand from the above posts that 'Messa' would be a mass, longer than say the 'Nona' for example. Is the chanting done at all the services ? I don't really want to go to a complete mass, but would like to combine a visit with a service/chanting. Would the 'Sesta', 'Nona' or 'terza' be what I am looking for ?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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Kelly,
it may help you to read the site in English:

http://www.antimo.it/pagine_en/00FRAME.html

I was there a few times in the early morning (Before the Messe at 9:15 and don't clearly remember how long it ran (I was more or less transfixed) but it seemed maybe an hour. If you keep the silence, I think it's possible to come and go. Others did.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 11:00 AM
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Mass will take about an hour.

The traditional life of monks requires their presence in the monastery chapel to chant the Divine Office, pray in public and meditate on several precisely defined occasions each day. Those occasions are called in this monastery's case Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline and each usually takes 15-20 minutes.

According to the doorkeeper, it IS possible to join the monks at prayer when they're singing the Office - but I arrived just after None, so couldn't tell how welcome non-worshippers would actually be.

From a consumer's point of view, the chanting at Vespers (the service known to many Protestants as Evensong) tends to have the best tunes, apart from Mass itself.

Note though that at Sant'Antimo - as in most Catholic churches that celebrate Vespers - the service on Sundays and Holydays includes Benediction - a service venerating the Blessed Sacrament which most non-Catholics (and quite a few Catholics) find a bit icky.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 11:36 AM
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Many masses are sung in Latin which is "Gregorian Chant".

To the Friars, Benedictines and Dominicans everyday is a day to thank God therefore no real difference b/w days.

The early morning Vespas, at around 515A prayers, are usually quite nice and melodic. The mass is probably the most familiar but not the most beautful of all melodies.

As they say to sing and pray at the same time is to pray twice. I enjoyed a Benedictine education for my formative years and to this day still enjoy the chant.
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Old Jun 28th, 2010, 10:40 AM
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I see that these posts are older. Does anyone know where we can find Gregorian chant in Rome, Florence, Venice, or Milan? We will be there in October of this year. Thanks a lot.
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Old Jun 28th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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I couldn't find anywhere in Milan when I lived there.

In Rome, Sant'Anselmo on the Aventine is the chapel of the Pontifical Music Adademy. There's a proper Plainsong Mass early on Sundays. Santa Sabina, where St Dominic once lived, is a couple of hundred yards away, and also advertised Plainsong at its 8 or 9 am Sunday Mass in its porch.

Otherwise, normally, that's about it. A number of Roman churches (especially Santa Maria Maggiore and of course St Peter's itself) have a sung Latin main Sunday Mass, but rarely Plainsong. Usually, the most reliable way, if you're in Rome, to hear Mass sung with decent Latin settings is to fly to London.

BUT this year the Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra is in October (http://www.festivalmusicaeartesacra.net/en/festival.php). It includes one Gregorian concert (bizarrely, with an orchestra) in St Peter's. My experience of this in the past has been:
- it's free, but
- visiting choirs just can't master St Peter's acoustics

However you DO get high-quality singers and instrumentalists singing the great settings of the Mass at a real Mass. Very rare indeed (even in London), and worth putting up with a bit of mis-balanced sound.
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Old Jun 28th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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Santa Suzanna in Rome did have Mass with Gregorian chant but I don't see it on their web site now. It was a very early Mass. You can write to them and ask if they still have Gregorian chant services.

http://www.santasusanna.org/
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