Masterpieces of Gregorian Chant

Masterpieces of Gregorian Chant
Cat. No. CDB017
Music disc: CD-AUDIO

The Polish Chamber Choir-Schola Cantorum Gedanensis
Jan Łukaszewski – conductor
Stanisław Koryto – organ

Disc content


  1. Repleatur os meum – 2’10”
  2. Ut queant laxis – 1’15”


  1. Veni Domine – 0’25”
  2. Creator alme siderum – 0’55”
  3. Rorate caeli – 2’57”


  1. Puer natus est – 1’02”
  2. Dies est laetitiae – 0’33”
  3. Adeste fideles – 1’30”


  1. Attende Domine – 1’33”
  2. Christus factus est – 2’38”
  3. De pacem Domine – 0’59”
  4. Stabat Mater – 1’34”


  1. Alleluia – 1’02”
  2. Surrexit Dominus – 1’49”
  3. Victimae paschali laudes – 1’49”
  4. O filii et filiae – 1’08”


  1. Ave verum Corpus – 1’33”
  2. Adoro te devote – 1’02”
  3. Ubi caritas1 – 1’12”


  1. Cor lesu sacratissimum – 0’38”
  2. Venite ad me – 0’33”


  1. Ave Maria – 1’10”
  2. Ave maris stella – 0’56”
  3. Salve Regina – 1’46”
  4. Sub tuum praesitium – 2’06”


  1. Caecilia famula tua – 0’29”
  2. Cantatibus organis – 0’45”


  1. Annua recolamus – 1’30”
  2. Exultet – 2’40”
  3. Flectamus genua – Levate – 0’22”
  4. Hac festa die – 1’10”
  5. Sanctus – Agnus Dei – 3’23”
  6. Ortus de Polonia – 0’54’
  7. Gaude Mater Polonia – 0’31”


  1. Kyrie – 3’16”
  2. Gloria – 3’18”
  3. Credo – 5’04”
  4. Sanctus – Benedictus – 1’17”
  5. Agnus Dei – 1’05”

Total time – 59’48”


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© ℗ 2003 Bearton

Masterpieces of Gregorian Chant

The li­tur­gi­cal so­lo chant of the Ro­man Ca­tho­lic Church per­fec­tly fu­sed such achie­ve­ments of an­ti­qu­ity as me­li­sma­tic set­ting, syl­la­bic re­ci­ta­ti­ve, hymn me­tre, dia­to­nic mo­de, an­ti­pho­nal­-re­spon­so­rial sin­ging and the lan­gu­age of the Ro­mans. Al­tho­ugh it was con­stan­tly re­for­med and en­ri­ched thro­ugho­ut cen­tu­ries, a hu­ge mo­no­lith of li­tur­gi­cal mu­sic has be­en cre­ated. Still, va­rie­ty has al­ways be­en ac­cep­ted in the form of dif­fe­rent kinds and ver­sions. This kind of sin­ging is known as pla­in­song, pla­in­chant, li­tur­gi­cal chant, or Gre­go­rian Chant.

Gre­go­rian Chant has play­ed an im­por­tant ro­le in Eu­ro­pe­an mu­sic and cul­tu­re. It was cul­ti­va­ted not on­ly in the Church, a but al­so in all scho­ols from the Mid­dle Ages thro­ugh the who­le 18th cen­tu­ry. The mo­tifs and ti­tles of Gre­go­rian chant ha­ve be­en used by com­po­sers till this day.

The won­der­ful Gre­go­rian Chant cre­ated, ca­red for and pro­tec­ted by the Church, after the re­form of li­tur­gy by the se­cond Va­ti­can Co­un­cil in 1965 and the in­tro­duc­tion of the ver­na­cu­lar for li­tur­gies ce­ased to be the Church sin­ging par excel­lan­ce. It be­ca­me the pro­per­ty of the who­le world of mu­sic lo­vers who ad­mi­re be­auty and tra­di­tion.

This al­bum pre­sents the works in a mo­re free man­ner (in­tro­du­cing fe­ma­le vo­ices and the or­gan), but with a gre­ater ar­ti­stic per­fec­tion. So­me stan­zas, mar­ked at the ti­tles, ha­ve be­en cho­sen from lon­ger com­po­si­tions. The of­fi­cial li­tur­gi­cal bo­ok Li­ber Usu­alis of 1951 has be­en our ma­in so­ur­ce of the pre­sen­ted works, ar­ran­ged ac­cor­ding to the tra­di­tio­nal Church year.

Repleatur Os Meum. The re­cord starts with this mo­re re­cent com­po­si­tion expres­sing the joy of sin­ging in pra­ise of God. The an­ti­phon is com­bi­ned with Psalm 116, Laudate Domino, of a si­mi­lar con­tent.

The hymn abo­ut St John the Bap­tist Ut Queant Laxis writ­ten by Paul the De­acon in the 8th cen­tu­ry pro­vi­ded the ba­sis for the the­ory and prac­ti­ce of chant te­aching (sol­mi­za­tion). [LU 1504; LU stands for the Li­ber Usu­alis].

The an­ti­phon Veni Domine is used in the Ad­vent li­tur­gy. Co­me, O Lord, to streng­then us in pe­ace, to ma­ke us re­jo­ice in thee with per­fect he­art [LU 327].

The Ad­vent hymn Creator Alme Siderum (ori­gi­nal­ly Con­di­tor al­me si­de­rum) da­tes from no la­ter than the 10th cen­tu­ry. [LU 324]. It is com­bi­ned with the an­ti­phon Veni Domine.

The re­spon­so­rial Ad­vent chant Rorate ­Coeli was com­po­sed in Pa­ris pre­su­ma­bly by L’abbé Bo­ur­get. It was pu­bli­shed in 1634 (Di­rec­to­rium cho­ri). The text co­mes from the Bi­ble. Cf. Isa­iah 45: 8 [LU 1868].

The ca­rols in La­tin: Puer Natus In Bethleem ­ (14th/15th cen­tu­ry) and Dies Est Laetitiae we­re known in the who­le of Eu­ro­pe. In Po­land, the songs and the­ir va­rio­us trans­la­tions we­re al­so ve­ry po­pu­lar, par­ti­cu­lar­ly in the 16th cen­tu­ry. The­ir me­lo­dies we­re used as can­tus fir­mi in ma­ny po­ly­pho­nic com­po­si­tions.

Adeste Fideles, the Chri­st­mas chant of Irish ori­gin, has the me­lo­dy by John Re­ading to an Old­-En­glish text from ca 1746. The La­tin text was pro­ba­bly ad­ded la­ter (ca 1793) by L’abbé Bor­de­ries in Fran­ce. The ca­rol was extre­me­ly po­pu­lar in ma­ny co­un­tries, both with the La­tin text and in va­rio­us trans­la­tions [for the Po­lish trans­la­tion see: J. Wę­cow­ski’s bo­ok Ko­lędo­wać Ma­łe­mu, War­sza­wa 1992, p. 106].

Attende Domine. The re­spon­so­rial pe­ni­ten­tial chant of French ori­gin (Priere du Pro­ces­sio­nal Pa­ri­sien, 1871). The text is ba­sed on an old Mo­za­ra­bic li­ta­ny [LU 1871].

Christus Factus Est. The ela­bo­ra­te chant with a lar­ge com­pass of the me­lo­dy was used to de­mon­stra­te the skills of a go­od can­tor. The text is ba­sed on the Epi­stle of St Paul to the Phi­lip­pians (2: 8-9). It forms a gra­du­al for Maun­dy Thurs­day and oc­curs in The Old Te­ne­brae [LU 653].

The an­ti­phon Da Pacem Domine is a pray­er for pe­ace. In the Pa­ris li­tur­gy this mu­sic had ano­ther text (Deus me­mi­ne­rit te­sta­men­ti sui, et fa­ciat pa­cem nec de­se­rat in tem­po­re ma­lo). The an­ti­phon is often per­for­med to­ge­ther with the pe­ni­ten­tial chant Parce Domine, which asks for­gi­ve­ness of gu­ilt (Sup­pli­ca­tio) [LU 1867, 1868].

Polish Chamber Choir

Polish Chamber Choir

The Ma­rian se­qu­en­ce Stabat Mater was at­tri­bu­ted to the Fran­ci­scan Ja­co­po­ne da To­di (d. 1306). The stu­dies by the gre­at hym­no­lo­gist Kle­mens Blu­me (d. 1932) in­di­ca­ted that St Bo­na­ven­tu­ra (d. 1274) was the au­thor. To­day we can sa­fe­ly ascri­be this be­au­ti­ful 13th­-cen­tu­ry Ma­rian Planc­tus to the Fran­ci­scan circ­les in ge­ne­ral, for it co­uld ha­ve had se­ve­ral au­thors. Its sim­ple and mo­ving text was and still is used by nu­me­ro­us com­po­sers. It has be­en ma­ny ti­mes trans­la­ted and pa­ra­ph­ra­sed in va­rio­us lan­gu­ages. It al­so has a few chan­ting me­lo­dies, of which a sim­ple ver­sion (can­tus sim­plex) has be­en cho­sen [LU 1874].

The Easter sec­tion be­gins with the Ho­ly Sa­tur­day Alleluia, sung three ti­mes, each ti­me one to­ne hi­gher [LU 759].

Surrexit Dominus is the sin­ging from the for­mer Easter In­vi­ta­to­rium. The an­ti­phon Sur­re­xit is al­ter­na­ted with the ver­ses of Psalm 94. We ha­ve cho­sen a ne­wer me­lo­dy, Al­ter to­nus re­cen­tior ad li­bi­tum [LU 768].

The Easter se­qu­en­ce Victime Paschali Laudes is at­tri­bu­ted to Wi­po of Bur­gun­dy (d. 1050). The work has be­en the so­ur­ce of ma­ny li­tur­gi­cal my­ste­ry plays and songs, such as Christ Has Ri­sen from the De­ad or Thro­ugh Thy Ho­ly Re­sur­rec­tion. This Mass se­qu­en­ce was per­for­med in Po­land as ear­ly as the 14th cen­tu­ry du­ring the Re­sur­rec­tion pro­ces­sion. It had the form of a dia­lo­gue be­twe­en cler­gy­men, who sang in La­tin (li­te­ra­li­ter) and the com­mon pe­ople, who an­swe­red in Po­lish (po­pu­lus vul­ga­ri­ter). The work has had ma­ny Po­lish trans­la­tions and the se­qu­en­ce oc­curs in a num­ber of ma­nu­scripts [LU 780].

O Filii Et Filiae. A ne­wer chant of French ori­gin, it has the text by Je­an Tis­se­rand (d. 1494), the cha­pla­in of Qu­een An­ne of Brit­ta­ny, to the me­lo­dy of the 13th­-cen­tu­ry De qu­ibus nos. In Li­ber Usu­alis (p. 1875) the chant is writ­ten in the con­tem­po­ra­ry men­su­ral no­ta­tion (3 me­tre).

Ave Verum Corpus is a short Eu­cha­ri­stic hymn. It used to be a tro­pe to the Sanc­tus and it was sung du­ring Mass after the Be­ne­dic­tus. It is tra­di­tio­nal­ly con­si­de­red to be the se­qu­en­ce of the 13th­-cen­tu­ry Po­pe In­no­cent IV. The pie­ce co­mes from the col­lec­tion of the So­le­smes Be­ne­dic­ti­nes (LU 1856).

The text of the hymn Adoro Te Devota is ascri­bed to St Tho­mas Aqu­inas (d. 1274) and the me­lo­dy to Adam de St. Vic­tor of Pa­ris (12th cen­tu­ry). Al­so a new me­lo­dy by E. Cha­bot (1924) is known (LU 1856).

Ubi Caritas Est Vera, ear­lier known as Ubi ca­ri­tas et amor, was con­nec­ted with Man­da­tum (the com­mand­ment of lo­ve, cf. John 13: 14), the ce­re­mo­ny of the wa­shing of fe­et. The chant of Be­ne­dic­ti­ne pro­ve­nan­ce (Re­iche­nau) da­tes back to the 13th cen­tu­ry. The new text of the est ve­ra is qu­oted from the Li­ber Can­tu­alis of Ab­baye Sa­int­-Pier­re de So­le­smes, 1978, p. 108 (cf. LU 1855).

Cor Iesu Sacratissimum is an ap­pe­al to the Sa­cred He­art of Je­sus (In­vo­ca­tio ad SS. Cor Ie­su). This short pray­er sho­uld be chan­ted thri­ce (LU 1853).

Jan Łukaszewski

Jan Łukaszewski

Venite Ad Me (Co­me unto me, all ye that la­bo­ur and are he­avy le­aden…). This ever po­pu­lar pray­er is used as a ve­sper an­ti­phon at the fe­ast of the Sa­cred He­art of Je­sus (LU 977).

Ave Maria is the best known pray­er to the Vir­gin Ma­ry. It con­si­sts of Ar­chan­gel Ga­briel’s gre­eting (Lu­ke 1: 28), the words of St Eli­za­beth (Lu­ke 1: 42) and the clo­sing pe­ti­tion. The first two parts we­re known as ear­ly as the 6th­-9th cen­tu­ries as the An­ge­lic Sa­lu­ta­tion. The pe­ti­tion Sanc­ta Ma­ria was not ad­ded until the 13th cen­tu­ry. The fi­nal form of the pray­er was es­ta­bli­shed by Po­pe Pius V, who in­tro­du­ced it in­to the bre­via­ry of 1568. Sin­ce then Ave Ma­ria has be­co­me a fa­vo­uri­te pray­er of the fa­ith­ful. Its text, most often used by com­po­sers, has se­ve­ral chan­ting me­lo­dies. We pre­sent the one from the So­le­smes Be­ne­dic­ti­ne col­lec­tion (LU 1861).

Ave Maria Stella is a be­au­ti­ful Ma­rian hymn at­tri­bu­ted to Paul the De­acon (d. 799). It has a num­ber of me­lo­dies. The Li­ber Usu­alis gi­ves three of them and ano­ther one to the fo­urth stan­za, Mon­stra te es­se ma­trem, cho­sen he­re (LU 1863). The hymn is a da­ily pray­er in ma­ny con­gre­ga­tions and or­ders.

The Ma­rian an­ti­phon Salve Regina must ha­ve be­en writ­ten by the turn of the 12th cen­tu­ry. It has a mo­re ela­bo­ra­ted syl­la­bic ver­sion from the ti­me it was ori­gi­nal­ly com­po­sed and a sim­pler one, to­nus sim­plex, from the 13th cen­tu­ry. We use the lat­ter (LU 279), which was extre­me­ly po­pu­lar in Po­land, whe­re so­me Sa­lve fo­un­da­tions and fra­ter­ni­ties exi­sted. The pie­ce has be­en often trans­la­ted and pa­ra­ph­ra­sed, as it is al­so used at fu­ne­ral ce­re­mo­nies.

Sub Tuum Praesidium, one of the ol­dest Ma­rian hymns, was cre­ated in the East in the ear­ly cen­tu­ries of Chri­stia­ni­ty. Con­nec­ted with the Lo­re­to Li­ta­ny, it is wi­de­ly used in li­tur­gy. In Po­land, this kind of chant, both in its mo­no­dic La­tin and po­ly­pho­nic Po­lish forms, was per­for­med du­ring pray­ers for the Fa­ther­land, espe­cial­ly in hard ti­mes li­ke war or bon­da­ge – in chur­ches as well as at pa­trio­tic de­mon­stra­tions (LU 1861).

As li­tur­gi­cal chant de­vo­ted to St Ce­ci­lia, pa­tro­ness of mu­sic, sho­uld not be mis­sing from our al­bum, we pre­sent two ve­sper an­ti­phons: Caecilia Famula Tua (LU 1757) and Cantatibus Organis (LU 1756).

Annua Recolamus, a se­qu­en­ce de­vo­ted to St Adal­bert, is the ear­liest mu­sic pie­ce con­nec­ted with Po­land. One of the stan­zas tells abo­ut Po­lo­nia er­go tan­ti se­pe­liens flo­ret mar­ty­rii pi­gno­ra. The se­qu­en­ce was pro­ba­bly writ­ten in 1001 at the Be­ne­dic­ti­ne Ab­bey in Re­iche­nau, whe­re its ma­nu­script with chi­ro­no­mic no­ta­tion has be­en pre­se­rved.

The Ho­ly Sa­tur­day Exsultet from the Ty­niec Sa­cra­men­ta­ry (ca 1060) is the ol­dest pre­se­rved mu­sic pie­ce in Po­land, with on­ly par­tial mu­sic no­ta­tion, in chi­ro­no­mic neu­mes. The stu­dies by the au­thor of the­se words ha­ve shown that the co­dex it­self was com­mis­sio­ned in Co­lo­gne by the king of Po­land Bo­le­sław II the Bold, whi­le the 12th­-cen­tu­ry mu­sic vo­ices and the text Flectamus Genua – Levate (al­so in chi­ro­no­mic no­ta­tion) we­re writ­ten down at Ty­niec ne­ar Cra­cow. The­se two in­vo­ca­tions ha­ve an out­stan­ding and ori­gi­nal form. In the sa­me ce­re­mo­ny for Go­od Fri­day, the sim­ple and the mo­re ela­bo­ra­ted ver­sions al­ter­na­te se­ve­ral ti­mes. The­se sli­ght de­via­tions in the two ver­sions te­sti­fy to a gre­at mu­si­cal sen­se and high per­for­man­ce le­vel of cho­ral sin­ging in ear­ly Po­land.

The ol­dest Po­lish se­qu­en­ce, Hac Festa Die, in pra­ise of St Adal­bert, was pro­ba­bly writ­ten in Gnie­zno as ear­ly as the 12th cen­tu­ry. It be­longs to the so­cal­led trans­i­tion se­qu­en­ces, with ir­re­gu­lar struc­tu­re but al­re­ady rhy­med. Its stan­zas often end in the let­ter „a”. The text re­fers to Po­land and Po­les. At the end, St Adal­bert, pa­tron sa­int of Po­land is ad­dres­sed: Pre­se­rve your kin from Po­land, who gra­te­ful­ly sing Al­le­lu­ia to you.
Sanctus­-Agnus Dei (Darling Maiden)

The Gra­du­ale Ro­ma­no – Fran­ci­sca­num from the 1st half of the 13th cen­tu­ry (MS No: M 205), kept by the co­n­vent of Po­or Cla­res in Cra­cow, con­ta­ins Po­lish an­no­ta­tions on per­for­man­ce and la­ter ad­di­tions from the turn of the 14th cen­tu­ry. This ad­di­tion com­pri­ses Sanctus – Agnus Dei chants with a me­lo­dy (?), in­ter­wo­ven with a text in Po­lish writ­ten in ver­mi­lion: Dar­ling Ma­iden… if it’s… not you… the­re’ll be ano­ther. An ama­zing thing: a Po­lish lo­ve song (!) or ra­ther, I be­lie­ve, a mo­na­stic song from the so­-cal­led In­ter­ro­ga­to­rium for no­vi­ces prior to the­ir ad­mit­tan­ce to co­nvent or ta­king vows, was in­ser­ted in­to a ve­ne­ra­ble li­tur­gi­cal chant. It is an unu­su­al and pe­cu­liar exam­ple.

Ortus De Polonia is an an­ti­phon to St Sta­ni­slaus, pa­tron sa­int of Po­land. The text is by Win­cen­ty of Kiel­ce (13th cen­tu­ry); the me­lo­dy co­mes from a 15th­-cen­tu­ry Vien­ne­se ma­nu­script (Wien, Oesterr. Na­tio­nal­bi­blio­thek, COD 1765, Pho­to Nr M 48162).

Gaude Mater Polonia is a hymn to St Sta­ni­slaus. The au­thor of the text from ca 1255, Win­cen­ty of Kiel­ce, pre­su­ma­bly al­so ada­pted the me­lo­dy from so­me Do­mi­ni­can so­ur­ces known to him. The hymn was ve­ry po­pu­lar in Po­land and had ma­ny trans­mis­sions. In the 17th cen­tu­ry it was in­c­lu­ded in the Pro­prium Sanc­to­rum Re­gni Po­lo­niae. Its text and me­lo­dy can be fo­und in the Kiel­ce An­ti­pho­na­ry of 1372, kept in the Ar­chi­ves of Kiel­ce Ca­the­dral (f. 226).

Missa Regia is a li­tur­gi­cal chant for the mass in the Do­rian mo­de by Wal­lo­nian com­po­ser Hen­ri de Tier (1610-1684), bet­ter known as Hen­ri du Mont (or Du­mont), an or­ga­nist and cho­ir­ma­ster to the co­urt of Lo­uis XIV. Unli­ke all known Gre­go­rian mas­ses, the Roy­al Mass (Mes­se Roy­ale) forms a com­pact who­le both the­ma­ti­cal­ly and struc­tu­ral­ly. It has a re­mar­ka­bly be­au­ti­ful me­lo­dic li­ne. Three li­tur­gi­cal bo­oks: the French Li­ber Usu­alis – Pa­ro­is­sien Ro­ma­in… Pa­ris, To­ut­nai Ro­mae 1984 and the Li­ber Usu­alis of 1951 con­ta­in three mas­ses by this com­po­ser in church mo­des I, II and VI.

Jan Wę­cow­ski