Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Regina Laudis does Christmas

I just received an exciting note about a new CD from Abbey of Regina Laudis, of "Women in Chant" fame. They sing astonishingly well according to the old Solesmes style, so much so that USA Today called their music "irresistible." The new CD is "The Announcement of Christmas."

Here is the press release:

The CD takes the listener through the wondrous arc of time surrounding the birth of Christ: from the anticipatory longing of Advent through the fulfillment of the Feast of Epiphany, which commemorates the offering of precious gifts to the Christ child by the three Wise Men.

Recorded at the Church of Jesu Fili Mariae at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, The Announcement of Christmas contains 36 chant selections sung by 28 members of the monastic community. The CD is conducted by the Abbess of Regina Laudis, Mother David Serna, O.S.B. A highlight is the spoken recitation of the English translation of the medieval monastic text of the Announcement of Christmas by Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., Prioress of Regina Laudis and former actress who stunned Hollywood when she left a thriving film career to enter monastic life.

The full choir repertoire is punctuated by four solo selections, notably the chanting of the Genealogy of Jesus, taken from St. Matthew’s Gospel, by Mother Abbess David. This arresting sung recitation near midnight during Christmas Eve Matins each year, delivered in the total darkness except for the two candles illuminating the large hand-bound Gospel book, marks the apex of the prayer observance. The CD also offers the dramatic Announcement chanted by one voice in the original Latin. A haunting Lesson from Christmas Matins rounds out the solo selections.

The CD includes a 120 page digital booklet, complete with the Latin texts and English translations of each chant selection and 48 full color photographs taken by noted photographer Robert Fenton Houser. The digital booklet also has a special section consisting of personal reflections by individual women of Regina Laudis, devoted to the five courageous and tenacious women mentioned in the Genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba, as well as a meditation on Mary, the Mother of God.

The producer of The Announcement of Christmas is Travis Pomposello, a well-known New York music producer who is the Creative Director and President of “Bella Vita Creative.” We have been working with Travis for many years. He produced our last two CDs, working closely with chant master Dr. Theodore Marier on both projects. Jim Stauffer, the respected president of Hothead Studios in New York City, did the engineering and mixing for this CD, as well as for two of our previous CDs.

You can order it through the Abbey.

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