At the Chant Cafe (Catholic musicians gathered to blog about liturgy and life), Adam Wood speaks of his frequent complaint that Gregorian chant promoters should “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.