This recording has been around for a number of years and is now on Youtube. With a Canterbury cap tip to Rad Trad, I reproduce this link. See Sarum Christmas Mass.
I made the observation over there:
I was in charge of music at Gricigliano from late 1990 to summer 1992. I tried to bring in a more robust style of singing like in English choral music. Fr Mora, the seminary rector, wanted the “old” Solesmes style and replaced me when I got sent for my pastoral stint in France. The Ensemble Organum and Marcel Pérès have done some interesting recordings of medieval chant using the influence of Corsican harmonised chant for faux-bourdon.
That being said, I find unaccompanied Gregorian chant rather dry and arid. I always accompanied the chant at seminary using a soft 8ft stop and simple harmony, and it added something to the dry cake. The relationship between Gregorian chant and polyphony has always been tumultuous, as the Council of Trent came within an inch of abolishing all music other than plain chant. Most of my readers will know about Palestrina, Pope Marcel II and the Missa Papa Marcelli – and the saving of Renaissance choral music.
Also, I find plain chant outside a liturgical context deadly boring. There aren’t the sounds you hear – bells, the thurible, noises from the congregation. Above all, with a recording, one isn’t there to see the ceremonies. It is a document that helps to preserve a patrimony that seems to interest many, but motivate few to do it.
With the resources we usually have in churches, Gregorian chant and Anglican hymns is about all we can do, preferably with organ accompaniment. We need to form quartets and double quartets of competent singers, and wonders can be done with less cost than full choirs. Preferably, the only female singers would be the sopranos, and many women these days learn to sing with a pure non-vibrato voice.
Autumn is here and the nights draw in. I go out in the boat less frequently as the weather begins to close in for the winter – time to do some more compositions. My own quartet will be performing (in a secular concert) two of my works in December, a setting of In pace in idipsum and a verse from John Keats, What but thee, Sleep. I should do a Mass and a lovely Sarum text to Our Lady which is not found in the Roman rite:
Felix namque es, sacra virgo Maria, et omni laude dignissima : quia ex te ortus est sol justitiae Christus Deus noster, alleluya.