Wednesday, April 04, 2012

C: Chant, Chartreuse, Carthusians

I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this up, but I seem to have another movie to team with some music.

The music? Chant. Gregorian chant to be exact. I used to sing it, long time ago and far away. That last is true, in time, in space, in other ways also.

I consider the upwelling of interest in the form, over the past decade or so, as something fortuitous. It's enabled us to collect music that otherwise might not have been recorded.

There is something about the form, dating back a millennium (or so) that touches the listener. At least, so I believe. And, given the popularity of the good monks of Santo Domingo De Silos, others also believe it.

The first monks I heard, even before I began to sing Gregorian chant, were from the Abbey of Solesmes, in France. They were responsible for bringing the music form back into prominence long before the good Benedictines above.

And, you cannot say you've heard Gregorian chant until you've experienced Latin sung with a pronounced French "ue" sound in words like "Sanctus", "Alleluia", "sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper". It's the kind of thing that can stay with you for life.

And the movie? A rather special one, about a rather special calling. That of the Carthusians - those monks who gave the world the liqueur, Chartreuse. The only color, I'm told, that was named for a liqueur. And who are these monks?

Well, one way to find out is to view the movie, Into Great Silence. Be prepared for a journey quite unlike any you might otherwise take. The movie could qualify as silent, as there is little in the way of dialogue. One monk does speak. He is interviewed.

For the rest, silence, prayer, some laughter and chatting during a weekly walk. And time measured on a scale different to that we are accustomed to.

That last sinks in as the movie proceeds. But is underscored by an epilogue - presented as text at the end of the movie. The filmmaker had requested access to the Grande Chartreuse, the head monastery of the Carthusian Order. The response: they would consider it and would respond when it was time.

Thirteen years later, the response came back. Yes. It was time.

16 comments:

  1. I don't think I've every heard Georgian Monks chant, I have somewhere an old tape for Buddhist Monks chanting, that is unbelievable, so vibrating - chants that vibrate through you. Maybe should explore Georgian chants too!

    Finding you posts very interesting. ^__^

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    1. If you do go exploring, the Chant series is a good place to start.

      Glad you're enjoying the posts, Helen. I'm having fun. Yes, "fun". I'm sure that's what this is. :)

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  2. I love the ending of your post.

    Look forward to your challenge run…

    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Yes, the ending to the movie was just perfect. It said everything about their life.

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  3. At least it must have been a well considered response.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, now following yours.

    mood
    Moody Writing
    @mooderino
    The Funnily Enough

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    1. Well considered. A good way of phrasing it.

      Thanks for following.

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  4. I love that particular CD. It's so peaceful. Kudos to you for ever learning to sing it. Thirteen years? Yes, time does flow differently for them. ;)

    By the way, you thought you were signing up at the last minute for A to Z? Well, 1926 blogs signed up. 375 of those were AFTER yours!

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    1. 375 AFTER mine! We're all nutz, we know that, right?

      And yes, time does flow in a different way, at a different pace, measured against an entirely different scale for the monks. It has its attractions.

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  5. I have never heard monks chant!

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    1. Treat yourself. You'll enjoy it.

      Or, should you prefer, there are CDs of Benedictine Nuns also singing. http://www.amazon.com/Voices-The-Benedictine-Nuns/dp/B003VWDP1U/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1333558860&sr=1-1

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  6. I love to listen to a good chant. Brings back thoughts of the days of old.

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    1. Yes, it does. And good memories.

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  7. I must say that I love to hear the monks chant and had no idea that Chartreuse the color came for the liqueur. What a great piece of trivia :)

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    1. I didn't know that either until a couple of years ago. But that particular shade of green/yellow is the color of the chartreuse liqueur - and so it acquired the name.

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  8. My roommate and I used to listen to the Chant album you pictured back in our undergrad days (early to mid 90s). By listen I mean blast on our stereo. People thought we were odd. Perhaps we were ... but we enjoyed it. Thanks for the memory and the interesting A to Z posts.

    Brian

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    1. Chant blasting on your stereo - wonderful!

      Glad to have provided the memory. Thank you for the comment.

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