"Tempus porco nihil est," or, "Time to a pig means zilch," according to Grunt: Pigorian Chant from Snouto Domoinko de Silo
, a very funny takeoff on the Gregorian chant craze by Sandra Boynton, the author of Chocolate: The Consuming Passion
and other droll volumes. This amusing little book, complete with a well-sung 40-minute compact disc by the Ad Hog Camerata, is a note-perfect send-up of chant and the hype that surrounds it. At the same time, the book presents the musical chronicle of a day in the life of one seriously pretentious farm. Boynton's pictures--from the cover to the "illuminations"--are a delight. The cows speak for record company executives everywhere when they intone, "Non plaudite. Modo pecuniam jacite." (Don't applaud, just throw money.) This would make a perfect gift for a musical friend, and if no one gets it for you, you'd be well justified in buying it for yourself for a quick pick-me-up or chant overdose antidote.
Inevitably, the craze for Gregorian Chant in the past few years had to provoke a backlash; the only question was when and in what form it would arrive. One answer is a book titled "Grunt." Its front cover has a cartoon of four pigs, holding candles, looking reverent and floating against a sky-blue background with fleecy clouds-a visual echo of the cover on a best-selling disc by the Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, who stated the craze. Inside the cover is a compact disc of "Pigorian Chant" performed by the "Ad Hog Camerata." The music sounds like authentic Gregorian chant, and the singing-under the direction of two well-credentialed directors-is quite good. Some of the texts are in authentic (though not liturgical) Latin, for example: "Ecce Macdonaldus senex, qui fundum habet" (Behold Old MacDonald, who has a farm"). Others are in pig Latin-for example, "Y-whay are-ay e-way ere-hay?" E way are-ay ere-hay o-taying-say ad nauseam." Sophomoric? Of course, but also occasionally cute. And, we might add, sui generis. -- The Washington Post