The Episcopal Diocese of Texas publishes a quarterly magazine, and the current issue is about music in liturgy. I contributed an article about Gregorian Chant which continues my general theme of “stop making chant so freaking boring all the time.”
Ancient chants were anything but solemn and mannered. They were sung unaccompanied, quickly, and with gusto. Documented complaints from Archbishops reveal how the chants were too emotional, too ecstatic, too unrefined. They were sung to inspire soldiers on the battlefield, and comfort the dying in hospitals. They had the power, so the medievals believed, to dispel demons and conjure visions of the dead, who sang the songs along with the living.
I am, of course, highly indebted to the Page Book for providing this perspective on the culture wherein Gregorian Chant grew up.
You can find the full article in the September edition of The Diolog.