The Monks of Solesmes: Learning About Gregorian Chant
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Known throughout the world as the leading masters of Gregorian chant, the monks of Solesmes have released Learning about Gregorian Chant. This recording simplifies and clarifies the world of chant for those to whom Gregorian chant is a mystery. The combination of a clearly understood text (read by Sarah Moule) with the fluidly sung examples (sung by the Benedictine monks of Solesmes), convinces the listener that Gregorian chant is open to everyone for enjoyment and prayer. The clear and concise presentation on this recording will make it a valuable resource for educators, musicologists, students of music and those who wish for a basic understanding of chant. In the late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII charged the Abbey of Solesmes with the restoration and preservation of Gregorian Chant according to the original 10th-11th century manuscripts. The care and zeal with which the monks undertook this mission quickly extended the Abbeys influence beyond Europe. Their goal: that Gregorian Chant be available to all people so they may pray with the help of beauty (Pop St. Pius X). Today, the Abbey continues to be a vibrant source of research and liturgical prayer with their library of over 200,000 volumes, and a musical palaeography workshop second only to the Vatican. But above all, Solesmes is a living community of Benedictine monks searching for God and sharing their spirituality, community life, and heritage.
A very useful tool for helping people to understand what Gregorian chant really is, how it was created and for what purpose. The combination of spoken explanation (in plain English!) and the carefully chosen sung examples is the best way to begin one's acquaintance with Gregorian chant. When you finish listening to this CD, you will have a wonderful sense of just how rich and diverse is this artistic and religious treasure of Western civilization. --Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB, St. Meinrad Archabbey
It is a marvelous, brief explanation of the various types and styles of the chant, going from its early, simple forms of recitation to the elaborate, soloistic forms. Dom Saulnier's historical explanations of the origins of the texts and their use in the service is especially interesting as is their development along the way into today's usage. I have always been amazed at the depth of his knowledge as to the whole history of chant performance and to hear his brief and very meaningful comments is a real pleasure. I need hardly say that the recordings of chant from the abbey are, to my mind, still the finest on the market, thanks to Dom Claire and it is good to hear them brought out again for the American publicFor anyone interested in what the various forms of chant are and where and why they were used this is a wonderfully concise and informative recording. --Dr. Robert M. Fowells, founder of the Los Angeles Gregorian Schola, California State University
The most famous and 'authentic' recordings of Gregorian chant for generations have been those made by the Solesmes monks. --The Boston Globe