The beauty of simplicity
Over the past few years, our Community has been learning a number of feast day introits including “Justi epulentur” — “Let the just rejoice!” (see the Graduale Triplex or Graduale Romanum, p. 450). If you take a look at this piece, you might be surprised — so few notes and such a tiny range — hardly more than recitation! But, this is why it is so beautiful. This chant, based on the interval of a rising third, gives the sense of a children’s song as it rises and falls every two to three words.
Amazingly, this is one of the introits for feasts of martyrs! No musical heroics or stentorian voice, but rather a simple melody sung for joy of God’s love and victory. Here is where we find chant doing its best work — teaching the subtleties of meaning buried in scripture. How moving it is to consider the martyrs having this child-like voice, in the face of their own death, and child-like faith as they go to future Glory. All this to be found in one two-line chant. Incredible!