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BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia

4.7 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Inspiring, beautiful music of Chant at it's very best - from Italy by The Monks of Norcia. BENEDICTA: Marian Chant from Norcia is the title for this new recording of 33 tracks of Gregorian chant, including favorite Marian antiphons such as "Regina Caeli" and "Ave Regina Caelorum" but also previously unrecorded chant versions of responsories and a piece originally composed by the monks ( Nos Qui Christi Iugum, ) Some pieces are sung by the entire group, some by smaller ensembles of monks and others by soloists, imbuing 'BENEDICTA' with a variety of sound. Recorded on location at the monastery in Norcia, Italy, the album was produced by 11-time Grammy Award-winning producer Christopher Alder and engineered by Grammy-Award winning engineer Jonathan Stokes.
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Digital Booklet: Benedicta: Marian Chant From Norcia
Digital Booklet: Benedicta: Marian Chant From Norcia
Album Only

Product Details

  • Performer: The Monks of Norcia
  • Conductor: n/a
  • Composer: n/a
  • Audio CD (June 2, 2015)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: De Montfort Music
  • ASIN: B00V66GNMQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,987 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John J. Puccio TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 2, 2015
Format: Audio CD
Ever since De Montfort Music released a recording of sacred songs performed by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles several years ago, the company has been turning out more and more such discs of religious-inspired tunes. Their latest project is from the Monks of Norcia, and, as anticipated, the singing is very good and the material very old and deeply ingrained in the Catholic faith.

Marian antiphons (pieces in a call-and-response style of singing) are a group of hymns in the Gregorian chant collection of the Catholic Church, sung in honor of the Virgin Mary. Here, the Monks of Norcia sing thirty-three such antiphons, including the four in most common usage for the past 700 years: "Alma Redemptoris Mater," "Ave Regina Caelorum," "Regina Coeli," and "Salve Regina." In addition, their repertoire embraces several previously unrecorded chant versions of responsories, plus a work originally composed by the singers.

The Benedictine Monks of Norcia are members of the Order of St. Benedict, and their monastery is in Norcia, Italy. The Monks take care of the spiritual, pastoral, and temporal needs of some 50,000 pilgrims from around the world who annually visit the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. And some of the monks sing in a choir, which is where we are here. The entire choir sing most of the pieces on the album, although smaller assemblies and soloists take on a few of the numbers, giving the program a good assortment of music that doesn't easily tire one out.

After a brief peal of the basilica's bells, the agenda begins with "Ave Maria... Virgo Serena." As with all of the selections on the program, it sounds cleanly enunciated by the monks, smoothly handled, and enthusiastically nuanced.
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My enthusiasm for this CD is not because I love the monastery, have visited it many times, and count dear friends in Norcia. Rather, the reason I keep visiting Norcia and have such affection for its monks are that they are the REAL THING: they sing what they believe, they love what they sing about, and they have the discipline, daily experience, and knowledge to make the chant beautiful. So many chant recordings leave me completely dry because it is either some weird scholarly reconstruction of how chant "might have" sounded in this or that century, or because it's technically perfect but merely musical. The Norcia chant flows from the living Solesmes tradition; its lines are lyrical, gentle, peaceful, and yet strong and manly (none of that singing from the top of the nose and in the airy chambers of the head here). As a teacher of music, if I need to illustrate what Gregorian chant is supposed to sound like, I will reach for this CD ahead of all the others in my collection.
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Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia is the latest release from DeMontfort Music. Demontfort Music has been cranking out hit CDs, mainly from singing nuns, the past several years. Now, they are giving the men a chance to shine. The album stars with bells ringing from the basilica. This sets the mood and tone for the rest of the album, because that is generally how each day begins for monks of the Benedictine Order. After the bells, there are 32 tracks, which is unheard of for an album! The tracks range in length from 28 seconds to just shy of 5 minutes. There are five types of chants sung - 1. Sequence, 2. Capitulum (Verse from the Scriptures), 3. Responsory, 4. Antiphon, and Hymn. Each song is sung in Latin with voices I could only describe as haunting/chilling. In addition to recognizable chants like Ave Maria and Salve Regina, there are many that I have never heard before.

My advice for this album is the advice I give for all DeMontfort Music albums. Put it in your car, CD player at work, iPod, or wherever you will listen to it the most, and listen to it constantly. Meditate on it. Make it your daily prayer while you work, and your work will gain a whole new level of meaning. 5 stars.
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INCREDIBLE! Benedicta has now become the Soundtrack to my life! The record starts with the bells and moves right into an absolutely mesmerizing body of music. This is a complete album - not just one or two standard chants that we have all heard from time to time. There are pieces here I have never heard and are just heartwrenchingly beautiful. This music is so good!
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This is an excellent CD of Gregorian chant which also provides financial support to a very worthy project by the Benedictine monks of Norcia.

I was put on to this release through a linked article on the Catholic Pulse website about the Benedictine monks of Norcia, who took over the abandoned abbey at Norcia, the birthplace of Saint Benedict, in 2000 and have been renovating the abbey and re-establishing the Benedictine presence in Saint Benedict's birthplace. The article mentioned that the monks had recorded this CD as a way of raising funds to support their project.

That is a great story and the effort to re-establish the Benedictine presence in Saint Benedict's birthplace is certainly worthy of support from Catholics. So I bought the CD to support the monks' efforts.

As an added bonus, it turned out to be an excellent CD. Gregorian chant is not to everyone's taste; I only started listening to it and enjoying it a few years ago. But if you like Gregorian chant, this CD is certainly worth your attention.

If you're not familiar with Gregorian chant but want to check it out, buy this CD to contribute financial support to the Benedictine monks of Norcia and check out Gregorian chant at the same time. Even if Gregorian chant turns out to be not to your taste, you're still supporting a worthwhile project by the Benedictine monks of Norcia.

Overall, an excellent CD of Gregorian chant with the added bonus that buying the CD contributes financial support to a very worthwhile project by the Benedictines of Norcia.
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