During the Holy Father’s 1st Mass of Christmas last night, something happened which everyone should know about.
Instead of a “Responsorial Psalm”, the schola and a cantor sang the Gradual. No congregational singing for that. People were given the opportunity to participate by listening.
What a blessed relief.
The Holy Father is leading by example, of course. Let the iron grip of exclusively congregational singing be broken!
That said, if you want an example of how not to sing Gregorian chant, in my opinion, listen to the cantor who sang it during the Holy Father’s Mass. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t horrible. To my ear he was singing the melody and not the text. Gregorian chant is the singing of a text and the text needs priority. Also, far too much vibrato in his voice for Gregorian chant. It needs to be a little less “spiffy”. Those of you out there singing chant, don’t “Caruso” it up. Keep your vocal fireworks out of the way. Sing the text… let it move along at a pace that makes what you sing actual speech with meaning. Don’t bog down. Figure out when to breathe so that you are not breaking the sense of the text you are singing.
You can hear the Gradual at about 37:00 in the on-demand video at the Vatican website.
The booklet for the Mass is HERE.