NPR Online

with Father J.F. Weber

We continue our countdown to the year 2001 with the fourth installment of PT's Milestones of the Millennium. In this segment, Martin and guest commentator Father J.F. Weber, an active Catholic priest and expert on liturgical music, discuss the music of the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church, which forms the bedrock of Western classical music. The musical selections discussed include a "Sanctus" from an Easter mass sung by the Monks of Solemnes Abbey in France, a chant called "Media Vita" from the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos and "Alma Redemptoris Mater" as sung by the Gregorian Chant Choir of Spain. Listen to Martin and Fr. Weber's discussion about the importance of chant in religious and cultural life since the last millennium.

Chant and beyond: Using a series of examples, Martin demonstrates how chant was used to create more and more complicated music and eventually became what we know as Western Classical Music. Among selections Martin discusses is the "Sanctus" from the "Requiem" composed in 1605 by Tomas Luis de Victoria, which is written for six different voices, but still uses chant as its skeleton. Hear Martin's comments on chant as the foundation for Western classical music.

Basic Record Library curator Ted Libbey also joins Martin to discuss the modern chant boom, and we'll hear a performance of "Salve regina mater" ("Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy") by the Gregorian Chant Choir of Spain. Listen as Ted shares his views on why this popular chant revival is occurring at the end of the 20th century.

Our special on chant is the fourth installment of PT's new Milestones of the Millenium series.(Audio segments require the free RealPlayer.)

In conjunction with Performance Today's Milestones of the Millennium series, a companion CD series is available from Sony Classical™.

back to PT Home Page

This page and all contents are Copyright © 1999 by National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.