Review of “Perotin- Alleluia. Aiffusa Est Gratia”
This hauntingly beautiful piece was written in the medieval era. It is a famous Gregorian chant in which many voices sing a single tone before others join in. I admire the simplicity of the voices, and am fascinated by how music has evolved so much over time. To me, focusing on one note is cleaning to the mind. This song is an echo of music in its most primal form.
The Gregorian chant begins with one tone (monophonic), with more joining later on, becoming polyphonic. They sing in latin, as that was the language of the church at the time. Few can understand the words today, but as the voices blend it becomes difficult for anyone to decode the lyrics. I believe its purpose is to simply encourage all who listen to be still and calm. This may be due to the illnesses ravaging europe at the time, as the people clung to God as their only way of survival.
As the voices of the male choir mix, the higher tones move in fast rhythms while the lowest voices have a long, slow, continuous note that perfects the balance. I feel as if the slow waves coming from the low voice is what is telling the listener to be calm and still. The higher voices successfully attain the listeners attention with steady, yet complex rhythms. I feel as if their lyrics are solemn and reflective.
It is easy to value Perotins “Alleluia. Aiffusa Est Gratia.” One considers the complexity of it at the time of creation. Perotin did not have very much to take after, as he is one of the first
known great composers. His music was undoubtedly appreciated and an important part of the church. Today it is still recognized as a great piece of art.