Your favorite Gregorian Chant(s)

I’m curious to know your favorite plainsong melodies.

I’ll start. The movements of the Requiem Mass. “Lux aeterna and In paradisum” make me weepy every time. Too bad one has to go to a concert venue to experience nowadays.

My favorites-- Ave Maria, and Mass 9-- though I was sick of that one, little did I know how much I would miss it.

– Vidi aquam.

– Salve Regina (the Dominican chant).

– Ave Maris Stella.

– O Lumen Ecclesiae (hymn to St. Dominic):

O Lumen Ecclesiae,
Doctor veritatis,
Rosa patientiae,
Ebur castitatis,
Aquam sapientiae propinasti gratis.
Praedicator gratiae, nos junge beatis.

O Light of the Church, Teacher of truth, Rose of patience, Ivory of chastity, you freely distributed the waters of wisdom. Preacher of grace, unite us with the blessed in heaven.

– Dies irae. (Can’t understand why some people find this depressing.)

No matter how many times I hear the Missa Angelis, I still am still amazed :slight_smile:

Veni Creator Spiritus ( and O Beata Trinitas ( are also favourites of mine.

I’ll keep going…

Adoro to devote
Pange lingua
Ubi caritas
Veni Creator Spiritus
Victimae paschali laudes

All of these have been put to english texts which IMHO doesn’t really work. Stick with the latin–much smoother.

Not really, our choir still does Requiem Masses on request, and a friend whose mother died earlier this spring, arranged a beautiful Latin Requiem Mass for her (in the Ordinary Form), but it was another schola singing.

I’m sick of the Missa Angelis (so too is apparently the Vatican’s choirmaster). Most don’t consider, at least the Kyrie and Gloria, to be Gregorian chant actually. It is dated (17th century) much later than the Gregorian period. The Kyrie in particular is too “cheerful”. Too many choirs gravitate to the Missa Angelis because “the people know it”, missing out on other beautiful kyriales such as Orbis Factor (Kyrie XI).

That said, this is a very difficult thread to answer! I have so many favorites from both the Divine Office and the Mass.

I’ll throw this one out though, the Magnificat antiphon for Christmas second Vespers:

Hodie Christus natus est

We use the Orbis Factor during Ordinary time. The only time we use the Missa Angelis is during the Easter season, so I haven’t been able to become “sick of it” yet. I wasn’t too sure if the Missa Angelis was considered “Gregorian” or not, but I was listening to it at the moment and thought I might as well include it :slight_smile:

About Requiem Masses… my best friend’s great-grandfather had a traditional Latin Requiem Mass about a month ago.

I actually prefer Old Roman chant, but my favorite “Gregorian” chants and hymns (I’ll include the ordinary chants as well) have to be:

Gloria XV
Ubi caritas
Pange lingua
Improperia I (the trisagion especially)
Crux fidelis
Deus Israel

You Canadians are doing something right. I’d like to hear from American Catholics if there is equivalent interest and tolerance for chant. I have my suspicions.

Tolerance…I love it too much to use the word tolerance.

But I also love Early polyphony.

We don’t sing much Latin at my church, but last year we did get to sing Panis Angelicus and it was wonderful.

It’s not all roses, we’ve been chased out of two parishes… and not because we aren’t good at it, even the monks who heard us say we’re comparable if not better than they are.

It usually boils down to the pastor. The last parish we were kicked out if, had a very orthodox pastor who would chant the priest’s parts (in French plainchant), which complemented us nicely; and the pastor reluctantly kicked us out because the wardens wanted us out to make room for another choir (non-Gregorian). I think they got tired of us, and recently the priest got tired of them and quit the parish to go into hospital chaplaincy.

We find that having a fixed parish can be problematic. When we got kicked out last year, we changed to visiting different parishes each month. We’ve been enthusiastically received, we’re a “treat”. We had one older priest break down in tears after we sang Mass with him last winter. The downside to this is that it requires much more organization and planning to find willing parishes, coordinate with choristers’ availability, etc.

That said, in Quebec I know of at least 4 choirs, a small semi-professional schola, and two abbeys using Gregorian chant regularly. The abbey I am associated with as an oblate, uses it every day at Lauds, Vespers and Mass, plus for the hymns for the other offices, and the responsory and Marian antiphon at Compline. A woman’s abbey near Montreal uses it daily as well.

In my diocese, we’ve been fed cotton candy for so many decades that the attitude toward meat and vegetables is positively mutinous. Those who want meat and vegetables are either saying nothing, or else they’re vastly outnumbered by those who want candy. My little chant group did the music for Easter Sunday at one of the local parishes, and the priest commented during the Mass that the music was depressing.

A very sad summation of the state of modern Catholic liturgical music. Unfortunately, the same is true at my parish, though I’m feverishly trying to change it.

I will add you (and others trying to do the same) to my prayer list. Sadly, you are facing, like most of us, an uphill battle.

I’m afraid my suspicions are being confirmed here. Because of 40+ years of liturgical experimentation and the rejection of so much of the “old,” looks like even rudimentary knowledge of chant is totally foreign to most modern Catholics. The few responses to my initial post leaves me to believe most see this discussion as “greek” and irrelevant.

I have a feeling that allowing copyrighted music into the Mass was a grievous mistake. Church music shouldn’t be a source of profit, it should draw from a very rich well of tradition. And I’m sure if language was a barrier, there are communities of monks that would love to take on the challenge of setting the propers to chant in the vernacular. I’ve been to a Cistercian abbey where they did just that (in French in this case) and it came across much better than the vile little jingles that pass as “sacred” music these days.

I love the Missa De Angelis.

There. I said it.

I know it’s not popular with some people, either because parts of it were composed too late in history and they don’t consider that “greogorian” enough, or it doesn’t “sound gregorian” enough, or because it’s too familiar (which ought to be a good thing, but anyways) and it gets sung too much but by golly, I’m not a chant puritan and I like it.

(I’m not directing this at anyone on this thread, by the way.)

The Kyrie might be too cheerful for a Kyrie, but I think it’s a beautiful and haunting melody.

That said, people should explore the rest of the Kyriale (the standard collection of Gregorian chants for the Mass Ordinary) and discover the the other wonderful chants that exist for the Mass. I’m fond of Missa I Lux et Origo (Mass for Easter time) myself. I like the Gloria from Missa IX Cum Jubilo too.

These are some of my favorite Gregorian chants:

Vexilla Regis (hymn for Holy Week for the Liturgy of the Hours and Holy Thursday
at Mass)

Viri Galilei (introit or entrance chant for Ascension of the Lord)

Puer Natus Est Nobis (introit for Christmas)

Assumpta Es Maria In Caelum (introit for Assumption from Graduale Simplex)

Assumpta Es Maria (alleluia from Roman Gradual)

Laetatus Sum (gradual or chant between the readings for Laetare Sunday,
also known as 4th Sunday in Lent)

The last time I heard somebody who attended a local parish say they didn’t like Church music, I told them, “You haven’t heard any yet.”

Re chant in the vernacular: how did chant in French work out, overall? Chant may work in some vernacular languages (I hear it works very well in Polish) but I agree with the earlier poster who said it doesn’t work with English. There may be a very few chants in English that are good (though none spring to mind at the moment), but English and chant are just a very poor fit.

I think chant in English can work. Here are two examples:

Offertory for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Alleluia for the Nuptial Mass (ordinary form)

The Eastern Orthodox adapt their chant to English. See this video for an example at the beginning.

*I love the Kyrie Eleison, especially the way this Kyrie Christe Eleison is sung.

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