Heir to a long and prestigious liturgical and musical tradition, the cathedral wishes to preserve, maintain and make fruitful the treasure received from centuries, in the image of the talent of the Parable of the Gospel (Matthew 25, 14-30).
Here, music is one with architecture to make the glory of God resonate. Here, the liturgy is more than ever to manifest the identity of the Church. Here the music serves the experience of faith. The Diocesan people of Paris, the regulars of the Cathedral, the millions of anonymous visitors, this crowd "whom no one can count" (Revelation 7, 9) must be able to grasp that the one who is here celebrated is the God all-other and yet very close, "God of glory and m "ajesty" (Roman Canon).
The intuition and fervor of the 12Th century builders quickly turned into notes to make the vast stone ship resonate and put it in perfect harmony with divine praise. Of course music were marked by their time, even to the point, sometimes, to mark in return their time for posterity, but they have always been conceived as a service. As statuary freezes in time the expressions of prayer and offers an image of the mystical Church, as the verrières crossed by the clarity of the Sun become the image of the celestial city already realizing in the earthly city, The music, meanwhile, sets in motion, resonant. She vibrates the place and the men with him. It is the instant experience, and yet therefore written in the memoirs, of gratuitous pure praise.
Increasing the intelligence of the liturgy
A cathedral is not any church. The seat of the Bishop, it is the mother church of a diocese. The liturgy that the Bishop celebrates, with his priests and deacons, with all of his people, gives a perfect vision of what the Church is. Likewise, the music, in perfect harmony with the rites. At Notre-Dame, as in other cathedrals, the presence of a rich and influential chapter of chanoins has allowed throughout the ages to guarantee the presence of remarkable musicians. Even today, Thanks to the Association Sacred Music at Notre-Dame de Paris.
and professional musicians, the liturgy and the music, both intimately linked, are called to be matrix not only for the Diocese of Paris but far beyond by the television broadcast now daily of the Vespers, and that of certain masses and great nation's events.
Serving the faith experience
Vatican Council II (1962-1965) undertook a vast restoration of the Catholic Liturgy: notable changes accompanied the reform, including the passage to the vernacular for readings and the possibility of resorting to it for singing (not notwithstanding the primacy Gregorian chant) was one of the most striking. At Notre-Dame, Monseigneur Jehan REVERT, then Maître de Chapelle, managed this mutation with a true pastoral sense and a strong musical taste. he was part of the long musical tradition of the Cathedral and the genius of the place : while not denying the rich musical heritage at its disposal, it proposed to the Assembly melodies musically tenable in such a vast place. During the offices, these days are still ancient and contemporary Polyphonies, organ pieces and improvisations, Assembly chants and Gregorian chant, offering both listening and participation moments, both of the experience of dialogue in the faith.
Face a triple challenge for the glory of God
At the dawn of the 21st century, the meeting of the liturgy and music in a place as prestigious and frequented as the Cathedral is a challenge:
– because it is to celebrate as worthily and as accurately as possible the rites of the Church in a given place and using the music as well as possible with these rites and place,
– because it is always return to the treasure of tradition by reinventing it to perpetuate it. The musicians of the Cathedral have at heart to compose masses, plays, chanting like their illustrious predecessors, thus pursuing the work of creation and confluent to the vitality of the Church,
– because it is about saying something of the unfathomable mystery of God by the beautiful and aesthetic experience and to propose it to the men and women of this time either in liturgical celebrations which will be real places of encounter and of Alliance, or in a concerted thematic programming and in connection with the liturgical time.