A YouTube Channel Completely Devoted to Medieval Sacred Music: Hear Gregorian Chant, Byzantine Chant & More

The artists of medieval Europe, at least accord­ing to the impres­sion we get in his­to­ry class, gave far less con­sid­er­a­tion to the world around them than the world above. His­to­ri­ans argue about how much that gen­er­al atti­tude hin­dered the improve­ment of the human lot dur­ing those ten cen­turies or so, but even we denizens of the 21st cen­tu­ry can feel that the imag­i­na­tions of the Mid­dle Ages did tap into some­thing res­o­nant — and in the domain of music quite lit­er­al­ly res­o­nant, since the sacred songs of that time still cre­ate a prop­er­ly oth­er­world­ly son­ic atmos­phere when they echo through cathe­drals.

If you don’t hap­pen to live near a cathe­dral, you can expe­ri­ence some­thing of that atmos­phere through your head­phones any­where you hap­pen to be with Cal­lix­tus, a chan­nel on the not nor­mal­ly sacred space of Youtube. “Per­haps named in hon­or of either Pope Cal­lis­tus or Xan­oth­opou­los Cal­lis­tus, Patri­arch of Con­stan­tino­ple,” writes Catholic web site Aleteia’s Daniel Esparza, it offers “an impres­sive col­lec­tion of sacred music, most­ly medieval, includ­ing choral works belong­ing to both West­ern Chris­tian­i­ty and the East­ern tra­di­tion.”

Cal­lix­tus’ playlist includes such endur­ing “hits” of these tra­di­tions as the Gre­go­ri­an chant “Invi­ta­to­ri­um: Deum Verum,” the Byzan­tine chant “Δεύτε λαοί” (“Come Ye Peo­ples”), and the mul­ti-part Medieval Chant of the Tem­plars.

How did this still-haunt­ing style of music come about? Accord­ing to for­mer Talk­ing Heads front­man David Byrne, who laid out these ideas in a pop­u­lar TED Talk, it evolved along­side the hous­es of wor­ship them­selves, the archi­tec­ture shap­ing the music and the music shap­ing the archi­tec­ture: “In a goth­ic cathe­dral, this kind of music is per­fect,” says Byrne. “It does­n’t change key, the notes are long, there’s almost no rhythm what­so­ev­er, and the room flat­ters the music. It actu­al­ly improves it.” So famil­iar­ize your­self with all this sacred music through Cal­lix­tus, but as soon as you get the chance, hie thee to a goth­ic cathe­dral: no mat­ter your reli­gious sen­si­bil­i­ties, it will cer­tain­ly enrich your aes­thet­ic ones.

via Aleteia and @dark_shark

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Byrne: How Archi­tec­ture Helped Music Evolve

The His­to­ry of Clas­si­cal Music in 1200 Tracks: From Gre­go­ri­an Chant to Górec­ki (100 Hours of Audio)

Hear What Homer’s Odyssey Sound­ed Like When Sung in the Orig­i­nal Ancient Greek

What Ancient Greek Music Sound­ed Like: Hear a Recon­struc­tion That is ‘100% Accu­rate’

Lis­ten to the Old­est Song in the World: A Sumer­ian Hymn Writ­ten 3,400 Years Ago

Hear the Hagia Sophia’s Awe-Inspir­ing Acoustics Get Recre­at­ed with Com­put­er Sim­u­la­tions, and Let Your­self Get Trans­port­ed Back to the Mid­dle Ages

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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