Monks Release Second Volume of Highly-Acclaimed Orthodox Hymns in Gregorian Chant

July 4, 2018

A second volume of adaptations from Gregorian chant has been made available by the monks of Holy Transfiguration Hermitage in Lone Butte, BC.

Western Plainchant (“Gregorian”) has its roots in ancient Hebrew and Greek music. It developed alongside Byzantine chant, with which it has strong affinities, but it also embodies the great western folk traditions of the first millenium: Roman, Frankish, Gallican, Celtic, Spanish (Mozarabic)… Metropolitan Yonafan (Yeletskikh) characterized Gregorian Chant as “the teacher of western music,” as it is the archetypal ancestor of our classical genre. Orthodox Christians in the west will therefore feel quite “at home” singing these melodies. However, this ancient modal tradition must be distinguished from the polyphonic developments of later periods - these conceptions of music are worlds apart; as different as iconography is from Renaissance art.

The first volume contained an extensive introduction to the subject, as well as sheet music for most of the idiomela of the liturgical year.

The second volume focuses on the cyclical prayers of the Octoechos: Stikhera, Troparia, etc… for which “Obikhod”-style melodies are provided. These were written to be clearly representative of each mode, while remaining simple and flexible enough to be sung to any text. Additional materials include psalms and canticles, various festal hymns and lenten tones. Intelligibility of the English text and congregational participation is emphasized throughout. There are some helpful notes on performance in the introduction, and a section detailing the Gregorian originals from which the adaptations in the two volumes were drawn.

Download Volume 1 >
Download Volume 2 >

A second recording has also been produced by the monastery: Orthodox Hymns in Gregorian Chant Vol. 2 follows the road to Pascha, with many idiomela from Great Lent, Holy Week, Pascha and Pentecost, as well as some hymns from the feast of the Holy Nativity. It is available for free download, or by donation:

Listen to the second recording >

The monks wish to thank all those who have generously supported this project.