Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Number One Choice for Christmas CD

Thinking through all the CDs I've listened to this year, the number one choice on my gift list is Solemn Vespers with Pope Benedict XVI, with Peter Latona's Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Without fail, every time I've listened to it, I've been moved and thrilled. It is a live recording and thank goodness. All the energy and excitement are there and the listener feels and hears it all, straight from the Pope's historic visit. The Vespers service is as it should be: sacred music at its best. I really think this should get the vote for the best Catholic music CD of 2009. You really must own it to own this history. And, I promise you, when you hear the Pope's voice, you too will smile with joy.

My number two choice is a new CD by Latona and the Shrine Choir, called Mosaic. The singing is phenomenal. There is no attempt here to rob the singers of their personalities, for example, no strange bloodlessness to the singing. It is warm, wonderful, and delightfully human, in the context of music that extends to eternity in the most beautiful way. The selections are excellent: the editing is as good as the singing.

Truly, my strong impression is that this Shrine choir under Latona's direction has become the Catholic choir of the nation -- something every Catholic should feel great pride in. The choir has moved all the greatest repertoire into the Catholic mainstream and this path shows the way forward.

Every time I've been this CD on in my car, a passenger says: what is that wonderful music? So there we go. Sadly, I do not see a link on the Shrine site to buy it. I guess you could call them: 202-526-4433 (UPDATE! HERE IT IS)

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