SACRED CHANT IS PRAISE AND PRAYER
“Singing is for one who loves”, “He who sings well prays twice"
The famous phrases of St. Augustine (4-5th century) remind us that sacred music is much more than just a musical expression: not to sing, to sing little and without enthusiasm, singing without orientation to the sacred, is at the same time an indicia and a cause of liturgical celebrations in which there is less quality in prayer.
It is certainly essential to consider the prayer dimension of sacred singing, and therefore to require, out of respect for it, that for the liturgy, proper musical training is provided, and outmost care is given to it by the clergy, by liturgical operators and by the congregation of the faithful.
Similarly, it is important that professional musicians which serve the liturgy are aware of the dimension and destination of sacred music
The Foundation aims at collecting and cataloguing the heritage of sacred music of all the Christian Churches known for having a consolidated ecclesial or popular practice, systematically and centrally, in order to valorise it and to prepare it for a possible use; It will also encourage new expressions and new compositions of sacred music, developed by authors adequately prepared and trained, which focus on solutions that enable the congregation to participate. In so doing, the Foundation wishes to emphasize the richness and the diversity of the faith which flourished in all places where the good news of the Gospel were welcomed. In fact, currently there is no central collection of the Christian traditions, which would facilitate the comparative study of the different heritages of Christian sacred music, and an awareness of this diversity and richness.
The repertoire thus collected will be made publicly available on the website of the Foundation, with the aim to facilitate its actual use by liturgical operators, and also as the basis for the study and research on each tradition, and with it, of its liturgy and its evolution in time and history.
In a time of difficulty and trial for many Churches and entire Christian communities in the world, especially in the East, the cradle of Christianity, where the latter are engaged in struggles for survival, the Foundation considers it a duty to devote efforts and support for the preservation of their musical heritage of ancient origins.
Indeed, the heritage of sacred music of the various Eastern Churches is now seriously threatened by the instability in progress in the Middle East, which causes the disappearance of entire Christian communities rooted there since the beginning of Christianity, or their emigration, with the risk that the related tradition gets lost for the future generations. This effort is intended to be a manifestation of solidarity, of support and respect for these Eastern Christian communities, which are admirable for their perseverance and for their loyalty to the faith received. The intent is to present each tradition in its entirety (always considering the repertoire that has reached the level of a consolidated ecclesial or popular practice), to valorise it, and to preserve it.
The Foundation aims at working with the best musicians and specialists coming from the different Churches, from conservatories, musical and cultural institutions, and to make the results of this work available to any interested person or institution (in versions that are suitable for the various levels of experience and the different musical degrees of solemnity of the liturgy): Churches, conservatories, music schools and musical institutions, specialists and scholars, as well as the general public.
The systematic collection of the heritage of Christian sacred music will also allow to study better the common origins and roots of the different musical traditions, their interactions over time, their parallel evolutions and the exchanges occurred, and to (re)acquire the perception and the awareness of the entirety of the Christian sacred music, a vision which was lost with the historical divisions. In this context, the Foundation aims at inducing new tools of comparative study: Such a study promises to be of intense interest from a musicological point of view. In fact, especially in the Eastern traditions, Christian sacred music often has preserved (while developing them), the ancient and refined musical traditions of the time they were born in, and the musical scales associated with them: for example, Coptic sacred music comes from the Pharaonic musical tradition of Ancient Egypt; the Syriac, Maronite and Chaldean sacred music from the Aramaic, Akkadian scale, mixed with Judaic and Arabic influences; the sophisticated and original Ethiopian tradition, of African matrix, dates back to the 6th century and it is very much influenced by Judaism; the Armenian tradition, transcribed in the famous Lectionary of Jerusalem between 417 and 439, is based on the fifth Typicon of Jerusalem, and has developed in the Armenian area of influence, integrating Persian and Byzantine, and later, Latin elements. The musical ties that unite the Christian traditions are to be (re)discovered.
The website of the Foundation, it is expected, should allow to listen and to download songs and musical scores, possibly against a minimum payment, and if necessary, to manage potential royalties under intellectual property laws, in particular for the more recent compositions.
The Foundation also foresees to record and publish particularly important works, volumes and collections, which are worthy of attention, in books, CDs and DVD.
Donations on bank account at UBS Switzerland AG in the name of: Fondazione Laus Plena, Lugano.
The Foundation issues certificates of donation for tax deduction purposes.
Bank details. See below.