FATHER BASIL NIXEN IS THE CHOIRMASTER of the Benedictines at Norcia, Italy. Their chant CD is now #1 Best-seller at Barnes &Noble in the US as well as debut #1 Classical Traditional on this week’s Billboard Chart, #1 Classical Amazon US and #1 Classical iTunes US. Nevertheless, Fr Nixen demonstrated great patience and answered some pretty elementary questions from REGINA Magazine this week – all about chant.
REGINA: Do you find it confining to only have to sing chant?
From "Isn't Chant Too Hard?" And Other Outlandish Questions for the Monks of Norcia, from Regina Magazine.Fr. Basil Nixen: I must admit that years ago when I first entered the monastery I did find it confining to sing exclusively chant. At times I yearned for the rich harmony of polyphony or Eastern chant and even looked at Gregorian Chant as lacking something due to its monophonic character. And I can see how somebody might feel like this. But now I certainly do not feel like this. Now, after ten years or so of a diet of liturgical prayer consisting exclusively of it, I’ve come to experience the richness and depth inherent in Gregorian Chant and I see its monophonic character as a jewel– certainly not as a defect. It just takes time for it to sink in. Our musical palate has to become accustomed to it. I think that as with all fine things in life, and above all with prayer itself, Gregorian Chant is an acquired taste.