Glories of the West: Music Of Cathedrals and Monasteries – Plainsong & Gregorian Chant

Three hours of what is to my mind the most glorious and holy form of sacred music ever composed: the Gregorian chant, other forms of plainsong, and medieval motets of the Age of Faith, when European Christendom was at its height, and maintained an essential unity which transcended the often bitter and violent bickering of rival kingdoms. The “Peace of God” in musical form!


If three hours of this celestial music is not enough for you, here is another excellent assortment, by the Tudor Consort:

Note that many of these are not in fact Gregorian chants, but polyphony. They are, nonetheless, both beautiful and holy – although not, to my mind, possessed of the simple and profound purity of true plainsong, particularly in the Gregorian mode.

Advertisements

Te Deum – 5th Century Monastic Chant (Solemn)

This form of Christian chant – Gregorian chant – is, of course, of unquestionably Western provenance! As the notation on the linked YouTube page notes,

“Monks of the one of the Abbeys of the Solesmes Congregation sing this beautiful chant. The Te Deum is attributed to two Fathers and Doctors of the Church, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, and is one the most majestic chants in the Liturgy of the Church. It is sung in traditional seminaries and monastic houses at the Divine Office and for Double feasts of the First Class, The Nativity, Easter, Corpus Christi, Epiphany, Pentecost and those which have an Octave. The solemn Te Deum is sung on all occasions of public [liturgical] rejoicing, in Traditional Catholic Churches.”

And in English translation, it is sung (or recited, in the Office of Morning Prayer) in not a few traditional Anglican churches, as well!


Nota Bene: The Abbey of Solesmes, under Dom Prosper Guéranger, was largely responsible for the rebirth and liturgical restoration of Gregorian Chant, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and remains the mother-house of a Benedictine community to this day (with several interruptions along the way!). For more information, check out this fascinating brief account of its history, or the Abbey’s own history page.


Here is the Te Deum in traditional English translation:

Te Deum laudamus.

WE praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud; the Heavens, and all the Powers therein;
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
The Father of an infinite Majesty;
Thine adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

THOU art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, in glory everlasting.

O LORD, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Here is an English-language plainsong (chant) version:

Russia, The Royal Martyrs, and Revolutionary Modernity | Throne, Altar, Liberty

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The murder of the Romanovs had been foreshadowed by the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on January 21st and October 16th respectively in 1793, and before that by the beheading of Charles I on January 30th, 1649.

Source: Throne, Altar, Liberty: Russia, The Royal Martyrs, and Revolutionary Modernity

I have said this myself, more than once and in more than one forum, but I have never said it better – and very likely, not this well:

“The murder of the Romanovs had been foreshadowed by the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on January 21st and October 16th respectively in 1793, and before that by the beheading of Charles I on January 30th, 1649. There are a number of parallels between these murders. The victims, in each case, included the legitimate Royal Sovereign of the country in which the revolution was being perpetrated. He was also, in each case, the Royal Protector of a Church which claimed descent from the early, undivided, Apostolic Church and which was under attack by the revolutionaries.

“Charles I was the Protector of the Church of England which was under attack by the Puritan Calvinists. Louis XVI was Protector of the Roman Catholic Church in France which was a target of the Revolutionaries who were disciples of the rationalist Rousseau. Nicholas II was Protector of the Russian Orthodox Church against the atheistic, Marxist, Bolsheviks. In England and France, the revolutionaries tried to give a façade of legality to the murders by holding show trials in which the kings were condemned by kangaroo courts. In Russia, the Bolsheviks didn’t bother with this, they simply declared the Tsar to be guilty of crimes against the Russian people and had him shot. In each case the royal murders failed to satisfy the bloodlust of the revolutionaries, but rather merely whetted their appetite for the mass murders that were to come.

“There is a sense in which all three crimes were committed by the same perpetrators. While the term ‘left’ did not develop its political connotations until the French Revolution, when it was applied to the enemies of the Crown, aristocracy, and Church because of where they stood in relation to the speaker in the French assembly, the Puritans were definitely historical antecedents of the French Revolutionaries, just as the Bolsheviks were their ideological descendants. The Puritans, like the Anabaptists of continental Europe, were the ‘left-wing’ of the Reformation, those who thought the Magisterial Reformers had not gone far enough. They were also the first classical liberals, or, as liberals were called at the time, Whigs.

“In their thinking, and especially the secularized version of it offered in the writings of John Locke, the foundation was laid for the much more radical thought of Rousseau, which inspired the French Revolutionaries, and in turn laid the foundation for Marx, the father of Communism. In this lineage can be seen one explanation for the fact that ‘left-wing extremism’ is a far less commonly heard expression than ‘right-wing extremism.’ The latter expression is, of course, never used in good faith. It is employed by the left, to smear those who hold views that the left has decided are to be considered to be outside the pale of acceptable discourse…

“The reason ‘left-wing extremism’ has not caught on is that it is redundant. The essence of the left, its very nature, is the relentless desire for the complete overthrow of all time-honoured institutions, traditions, and order. From royalty, nobility and the Church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the middle classes and private property and enterprise in the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, to marriage, the family, the nation and even the biological realities of race and sex in the twentieth and twenty-first, the left has moved on from one target to another, seeking only to destroy in its hatred and rage, with its ultimate targets being the Good, the True, and the Beautiful and indeed, God Himself, for, as Dr. Johnson observed centuries ago, the first Whig was the devil.

“The left is extremism, and extremism is the left.”

Sadly but absolutely true. It’s been demonstrated over and over again.

An added bonus of this excellent essay by Gerry T. Neal – who describes himself as a “Protestant Christian, patriotic Canadian, and a reactionary High Tory with a libertarian streak, at the same time a monarchist, indeed a royal absolutist, and a minarchist” – is a detailed discussion of how Senator Joseph McCarthy, castigated as a “witch hunter” for his crusade against communists and their fellow-travelers in 1950s America, was actually far more right than wrong, noting:

“Russia has been much in the news lately as left-wing wackos have been trying to paint US President Donald Trump’s attempts to get along with Russian President Vladimir Putin and allow the two countries to peacefully co-exist as some sort of treason. In my childhood, Russia was still in the grips of the murderous, totalitarian, ideological, regime bent on global conquest that had seized power in the fall of 1917. How well I remember that at that time, the same people who are crying ‘the Russians are coming’ today, labelled anyone who warned about the Communist Kremlin’s evil designs a ‘McCarthyite.'”

Or as I have commented elsewhere, including in this blog, how ironic that some of the same people – and certainly the same party – who spent years, even decades, appeasing, accommodating, and apologizing for the Soviet Union are now aghast at the idea that the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin actually has, and is pursuing, its own legitimate national interests. Perhaps not surprisingly, an attempt at global Communist hegemony was much more acceptable to the Left than contemporary Russian nationalism!

 


Do you appreciate and/or enjoy these posts, and want to support The Anglophilic Anglican in my defense of Western Christendom, and enjoyment of Western culture and civilization?

Then please consider supporting me on Patreon!

Many thanks in advance.

The Glories of the West: Vienna, Austria

Create places your ancestors would recognise and your descendants will be proud of. Beauty and Tradition will always matter. Vienna, Austria.

Source: Architectural Revival | Facebook.

This one has much better and more appropriate music – as one might expect, from Architectural Revival! Respectful salute to Austria, which seems to be making progress in dealing constructively with its immigrant crisis. Perhaps there is yet hope for Europe, after all!

 


Do you appreciate and/or enjoy these posts, and want to support The Anglophilic Anglican in my defense of Western Christendom, and enjoyment of Western culture and civilization?

Then please consider supporting me on Patreon!

Many thanks in advance.

The Glories of the West: “This is Germany,” from Love Germany

The glories of the West, as expressed in Germany! Need I say more…?

Okay, I’ll grant you, I’d have been happier if they’d used more glorious music than the modernistic electro-pap in the background… can’t have everything, I guess! 🙄 😏

Refuting the Anti-Christian Animus On The Alt-Right | Council of European Canadians

 

European Identitarians should recognize that Christianity has always recognized the importance of European identity and its own contribution to this identity.

Source: Refuting the Anti-Christian Animus On The Alt-Right

As I have noted previously, I am coming increasingly (if somewhat reluctantly) to view myself as an Identitarian:

not as a political statement, but as a simple and incontrovertible fact, an expression of biological (and in the case of my European identity, cultural and historical) reality. It is the actions and reactions of people on the Left that are gradually forcing me to view this [European] identity in more socio-political terms: my heritage, both genetic and cultural, is under attack, and that unfortunate fact forces me to defend it… Like a lot of folks, I mainly want to be left alone. But I also want my people to be left alone, and not to be subsumed, oppressed, overrun, interbred, or replaced. So I suppose that makes me an Identitarian… and if so, so be it. I did not choose the label, or the fight; both were forced upon me.

But what has been very frustrating to me – both as a Christian, and as a Christian clergyman – is the extent to which many of those who share this approach are sneeringly dismissive of Christianity. Some of these are the sort of militant atheists who dismiss any religion as “fairy stories” – ignoring both the fact that fairy stories often contain encoded within them deeper and more vital truths, and also the wisdom of no less a figure of contemporary atheism than Richard Dawkins, who famously tweeted,

Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme: “Always keep a-hold of nurse, For fear of finding something worse.”

In other words, even if you don’t believe a word of it, mere enlightened self-interest dictates supporting Christianity as a bulwark against more menacing alternatives – such as, for example, militant Islam.

But the even more central truth that European Identitarians – particularly those who consider themselves some species of European Pagan – tend, sadly, to forget is that much of what has made Europe recognizably Europe over the last two centuries results precisely from the fusion of the Classical (Greco-Roman) and Germano-Celtic branches of pre-Christian (Pagan) Europe with the (then-) new faith of Christianity.

It was a particularly advantageous fusion, and one which led to considerable mutual enrichment, and a great fluorescence of culture on the European continent. I am generally quite sympathetic to European Paganism, having particular respect and appreciation for the Celtic and Norse/Germanic branches. But if we would revert Europe to its pre-Christian state, the simple truth is that we would revert it (at least, as regards Northern Europe, whose proponents are generally the most vocal in attacking Christianity) to an age of mud huts and blood-feuds.

I do not forget the impressive accomplishments of the pre-Christian world of Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) antiquity. But it was nonetheless the Age of Faith that raised the great cathedrals and uncounted other architectural marvels; that inspired great art and magnificent music, from Gregorian chant to Baroque; that gave even the oft-warring kingdoms of Europe a larger identity as part of Christendom; and which defended that European Christendom against Muslim invasions, from the 8th through the 17th centuries.

For Europeans to reject Christianity is, as my late mother would have put it, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” So I am very glad to see someone from the European Identity camp mount a spirited defense of the faith, as Richard Storey has done in this essay.

He addresses three allegedly (according to its critics) unique and damaging traits of Christianity, which those opponents claim to be “the great mutations” of the allegedly pure Europeanism that predated Christianity – mutations “that gave birth to the secular ideologies of [modernism]”: individualism, egalitarianism and progressivism.

That these ideas – at least in the extreme and unbalanced form in which they are found today – are indeed “mutant” ideologies, and as such are dangerous and ultimately destructive of human life and flourishing, is a viewpoint with which I cannot disagree. But that that they are unique to Christianity, or that the Christian faith is responsible for promoting them to an inappropriate degree, is the idea that needs challenging, and challenge it Storey does.

He also points out that

“Other claims in need of addressing are the revival of the defunct Nietzschean idea that Christianity is a slave ethic, produced by Jews to weaken the Roman Empire through the promotion of meekness as goodness etc., and the beliefs that Europe was and would be more peaceful without Christianity or that Christianity is somehow anti-white/European identity.”

These false claims are also addressed in his essay. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!


Notable quote:

“It is quite legitimate for nations to treat those differences [e.g., distinctions between ethnic nationalities] as a sacred inheritance and guard them at all costs. The Church aims at unity, a unity determined and kept alive by that supernatural love which should be actuating everybody; she does not aim at a uniformity which would only be external in its effects and would cramp the natural tendencies of the nations concerned. Every nation has its own genius, its own qualities, springing from the hidden roots of its being. The wise development, the encouragement within limits, of that genius, those qualities, does no harm; and if a nation cares to take precautions, to lay down rules, for that end, it has the Church’s approval.”

— Pope John XXIII (1961) “Mater et Magistra” (http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jo23mm.htm)

Revolt Against the Modern World

Revolt Against the Modern World.jpg

“Go forth in the pathway our forefathers trod;
We too fight for freedom, our Captain is God,
Their blood in our veins with the honours we vie;
Theirs too was the watchword, ‘We conquer or die.'”

— James Pierpoint

This is the rootedness in the strength of our past, and the resulting confidence in ourselves and our future, that we of the West have too-largely lost, these days. We need to get it back! We are of proud heritage – Greco-Roman and Germano-Celtic antiquity, and Medieval and Renaissance Christendom – which we badly need to re-embrace.

And yes, there are elements of the modern world which are also worth embracing and preserving: I wouldn’t be alive today without modern medicine, for one thing. But we need to sift the wheat from the chaff – not simply accept the whole programme uncritically – and that is something we have not been doing a very good job of accomplishing.

 


 

Nota Bene:  The young lad, dressed in the uniform of a Scout, is being supported, encouraged, and inspired by figures representative of the three classes of people Western Christendom – and indeed, the pre-Christian West as well – have always considered to be essential to the proper functioning of a society: those who work, those who fight, and those who pray.

Those who work, support and maintain the society through the fruits of their labours. Those who fight, support and maintain the society by defending it from its enemies. And those who pray, support and maintain the society by offering supplication to God on its behalf, invoking God’s blessings upon it, and tending to its spiritual well-being.

Lacking any of these, a society is unbalanced and in danger of defeat or collapse. A principle we might do well to keep in mind!