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Gregorian Chant CDs

by Gary D. Penkala

We at CanticaNOVA Publications are often asked for sources of recordings of Gregorian chant, particularly Mass settings and other liturgical music. Here are a number of such sources, some intended to be educational, some to be purely inspirational.
 

  • Chant from Solesmes

    Here are valuable instructional and educational CDs from the group most responsible for the renewal of chant in the 20th century, the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint Peter in Solesmes, France, who simplify and clarify the world of chant. Illuminating text and examples sung in Latin open the listener to this beautiful, timeless form of worship. A valuable tool for teachers and students, as well as for anyone seeking a basic understanding of chant.
     

  • And With Your Spirit

    Subtitled: A guide to singing the new English translation of the Mass (2010). This CD is a very-well done reference for priests and deacons produced by The Music Makers in England. It includes the English 'default' setting of the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus & Agnus Dei), all the People's Responses, the four main Eucharistic Prayers and a selection of Prefaces, as well as other music of vital interest to the singing celebrant or deacon -- an extremely useful tool for anyone singing parts of the Mass. A similar tool for the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin is: Orate fratres.
     

  • Instructional Chant CDs

    This page features a large collection of chant recordings including some anthologies and a collection of chant as performed in the Renaissance period (pre-Solesmes).
     

  • Chant by Benedictines

    These are recordings of Benedictines singing chant: monks at Solesmes, and nuns at Regina Laudis. The Gregorian Anthology presents a selection of the most evocative Gregorian pieces. Though selections come from liturgies representative of the full liturgical year's principal seasons-Christmas, Holy Week, Easter & the feasts of Our Lady - as well as that great hymn of thanksgiving the Te Deum. To preserve the fundamental liturgical dimension the order of pieces allows the listener to follow the rhythm of the liturgy. Includes a 26-page booklet with notation, Latin text & English translation.
     

  • Chant at Saint Meinrad

    The Benedictine monks at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana have a wonderful liturgical tradition. Here you will find CDs of chant (in Latin and in English) by the Abbey Schola under the direction of Fr. Columba Kelly OSB.

    From the notes of the Advent/Christmas collection:

    Advent opens the Church year with a sense of waiting and expectation. This quiet and meditative season mixes hope with joy; the liturgical music of Advent develops these themes. The introit for the First Sunday of Advent speaks of surrender and trust in the Lord (track 2). The famous introit for the Third Sunday calls to the community: Gaudete-Rejoice (track 12). The themes of joy and hope reach their climax in the O Antiphons, used for the Magnificat on the seven days before Christmas (tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13). These antiphons address and praise the Messiah who comes to set us free. The music of Christmas celebrates the birth of a child who is the Son of God. The introit for Midnight Mass begins quietly, but insists on the divine nature of this child (track 16). At the Day Mass for Christ, the introit takes up Isaiah and shouts: "Today, a child is born for us... and His name shall be called: Wonder Counselor and Prince of Peace." Christmas is a time to contemplate and celebrate the mystery of God come among us. The introits of this holy season were composed in the monasteries of the Carolingian empire before AD 1000, during what is sometimes called the Dark Ages. Like Celtic art in the Book of Kells, they weave elaborate knows of music that bind us to the words of the Scriptures. By any standard, they are masterpieces of the musical tradition.

    From the notes of the Lent/Easter collection:

    "The seasons of Lent and Easter stand in contrast to each other. Lent begins in the desert with its simple focus on sin and repentance. Easter begins in the garden during the spring of the year. Lent moves relentlessly toward the Cross that brings death and grieving. Easter celebrates the joy of resurrection and redemption. Though opposites, the two seasons cannot be separated from one another. Lent makes no sense without Easter, and Easter is merely pretend unless it deals with the weight of death. The liturgical music for both seasons explores these central themes of Christian faith. "
     

  • Chant in Spencer

    Cistercian and Gregorian chants sung by the Trappists monks of Saint Joseph Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. One CD includes the chants of Compline (Night Prayer); another, Vespers (Evening Prayer) for the Dedication of a Church.
     

  • Chant by Marier

    The late Dr. Theodore Marier, famous as the director of the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School, was one of the leading chant experts in the United States. On these CDs he directs the nuns of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. Also available is Marier's work, A Gregorian Chant Master Class, comprised of a textbook and accompanying CD offering instruction in the fundamentals of singing Gregorian Chant. The set includes spoken and written commentary by Dr. Marier, recognized master of Gregorian Chant and the chant instructor of the Abbey of Regina Laudis for over 30 years. Examples of the chant are sung by the nuns of the Abbey and the men of the Stamford Schola Gregoriana, conducted by Scott Turkington. The book, presented in an easily accessible form, is designed to assist teachers and choir directors but can also be used by the individual student.
     

  • Plainsong for Parishes

    Also from The Music Makers, this CD contains six full settings of the Mass - Mass I (Lux et Origo), Mass IV (Cunctipotens genitor Deus) Mass VIII (Missa de angelis), Mass IX (Cum iubilo) Mass XI (Orbis factor), Mass XVII (Sundays of Advent and Lent) - and the Requiem Mass. Also included are other useful plainsong chants - the Credo I and Credo III & other parts of the Mass, hymns to Our Lady, including the wonderful Ave maris stella, and the hymn Tantum ergo.
     

  • Chant-icleer

    The excellent male ensemble, Chanticleer, noted for their superb recordings of Reniassance vocal music, has released a chant recording. One reviewer notes: "Of all the Chant CD's that I have, this one is the best! Close your eyes and you are in an abbey during high holy days. The quality of the voices and of the recording are the best I have ever heard."
     

See also CNP's Chant Index

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