Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers i jego chorał


Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers and His Chorale

Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers (ca. 1632-1714), a composer and organist of the Parisian parish of Saint-Sulpice, regarded as one of the keenest advocators of the Gregorian chant in the 17th c. when heated debates on its subject were carried out by the Church. The Gregorianists of Grand Siècle carefully analysed the proper approaches towards this way of singing, how to interpret it, what is the correlation between words and chants, what should be the proper rhythm. Amongst various opinions (e.g. by Jumilhac and Le Clerc) representing purely theoretical approach, Nivers’ main idea was to make a choral regain its place as most appropriate during liturgy. For that reason his theoretical work Dysertacja na temat chorału gregoriańskiego (Treatise on Gregorian Chant) was wholly written in order to present “proper” rules of the chant, cleansing it of all misinterpretations and misuses to have crept into it over the centuries. In his work Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers used his high abilities and paid due respect to tradition when relying on the authorities of the Church, e.g. St. Augustine, St. Gregory or St. Justin. In his approach towards the Gregorian chant he emphasised the principle of Church “correctness” which consisted in:

- excluding from singing all connections with secular music;
- focusing on internal sense of lyrics through „affects” included in particular modes, proper punctuation in texts, and making melodies apply to grammar rules;
- respecting inégalité (inequality) in singing, as resulted from „good taste” and rules of diction.