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Chants de L'Église de Rome des VIIe et VIIIe Siècles

Ensemble Organum directed by Marcel Pérès

Old Roman Chant, 7th-8th Centuries, Byzantine period

The music presented is part of the “Old Roman” chant repertory which pre-dates what is usually referred to as Gregorian Chant. The Gregorian Chant which most people are familiar with actually comes from the Carolingian Empire (ca. 850-1000), which came into existence later than the Old Roman period. Hence, the reportoire from the Old Roman period is unsingable if sung in the style suggested by Gregorian scholars for Carolingian chants. However, since the Roman church had been heavily influenced by the Byzantine Empire during this period, it was logical to turn to Byzantine chants for guidance and performance hints. Thus, there are similarities between the Old Roman chant and Byzantine chant such as modal, cadential, and ornamental formulas. Also used in the performance here is an “ison”, a note sustained in the bass to support the chant melody and to underscore modal transformations. With all these stylistic choices in mind, the result is eye-opening. The listener will be transported to a totally unfamiliar, but other-worldly realm. The voice of the Greek cantor Lycourgous Angelopoulos flows freely in this sacred space, supported by the choir of Ensemble Organum.

The chants in Latin are taken from the Mass for Easter Day. The alleluiatic verses in Greek were sung at other point in the Easter services.

1. Alleluia: V. O Pimenon ton Israhil

2. Introït: Resurrexi

3. Gradual: Hec dies: V. Confitemini Domino / Dicat nunc Israhel

4. Alleluia: V. Pascha nostrum / V. Epulemur / Alleluia

5. Offertory: Terra Tremuit: V. Notus in ludea / V. Et factus est in pace / V. Ibi confregit

6. Alleluia: V. Epi si kyrie

7. Communion: Pascha nostrum

8. Alleluia: V. O Kyrios / V. Gar estereocsen

FYI, the hosting site is a schismatic group with some rather odd notions about a number of things. I'm not endorsing sedevacantism or Feeneyism by linking to them (I happen to think they're both erroneous theological opinions, basing my opinion both in Scripture and Tradition), I just like the MP3s -- hope you do as well.
4 comments so far:
    Anonymous January 31, 2008 at 1:48 AM , said...

    for further reading
    Inside Early Music; Conversations with Performers By Bernard D. Sherman"
    pages 25-42 Chapter 2 "A Different Sense of Time, Marcel Pérès on Plainchant" availabe for preview reading on

    In the future it is hoped that old roman chant will be able to coexist or perhaps replace gregorian in order to bring about a common culture and theology with the Eastern Churches as existed 1200 years ago.

    Orthodox December 20, 2008 at 7:34 AM , said...

    Does anyone know how one would go about finding the actual notation for these chants? Or if possible who could be contacted in order to find out more about this venerable and ancient form of Sacred Music?

    In Christ and the Theotokos
    Calvin James Montgomery
    "Summorum Pontificum Johannesburg"

    Organum May 5, 2011 at 8:00 PM , said...

    Just contact the ensemble Organum site.

    or write to them :

    They have published old roman major liturgical masses

    Organum May 5, 2011 at 8:02 PM , said...

    Contact ensemble Organum desk. They have published old roman chant scores and others.

    They organize also a lot of events around sacred music


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