Sunday, April 02, 2006

Paraclete Press: Bringing excellent Gregorian Chant Resources

I recently received a few CD's from Paraclete Press. Paraclete Press publishes a number of offerings, but is particularly notable for their Gregorian chant offerings. Not only is this press the publisher of the famed Gregorian Missal (a kind of Liber for the modern Roman rite) and also the publisher of many of the Solesmes chant volumes (the Kyriale, the Graduale Romanum, etc.) but they also provide a number of chant CD's of excellent quality.

Two CD's that were sent to me come from the Gloria Dei Cantores group which I've been quite impressed with. One CD was a Gregorian Requiem and the other, Chants of Easter. The CD's have both male and female chant components in it and are of excellent quality, both in terms of the quality of the chanting and in terms of the recording and production values.

Another interesting CD offering comes from their Solesmes collection of chant CD's. This CD is titled "St. Benedict" and is a recording of the Office and Mass for the Feast of St. Benedict from the Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes – who, of course, was the monastery so involved in the restoration of the Gregorian chant tradition. It seems to me this is a rare treat to be able to hear the monk chant the Office and Mass for their beloved monastic patron. The recording includes not only the chants themselves but also some organ pieces from the Abbey.

Finally, one other quite unique CD, and one which would make an amazing gift for yourself or someone else. The CD is titled Learning about Gregorian Chant. What this CD is, is a documentary that has been put together which goes through the history and development of Gregorian chant. It explains how the chant tradition developed. Liberally put throughout this documentary are examples of these chants done by a monastic choir – that of Solesmes by the sound of it. It is the kind of CD one can listen to over and over, and you'll find that your appreciation for Gregorian chant will increase. I'd highly recommend this CD to anyone.

Please check out their other offerings as well.

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