The mid-1990s witness a renewed interest in Gregorian Chant with the release, twenty years after its recording, of Chant (Angel, 1973/1994) by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos. The public greeted this music, much between 500 and 1500 years old, as the greatest thing since the Edison cylinder. Early Music practitioners each released their own chant recordings. Oddly, this first recording remains uniformly fine and a very good example of the Benedictine order of prayer.
Seraphic Fire's Ave Maria: Gregorian Chant might be a bit of a red herring title as the vast majority of the music was composed after the traditional Gregorian Chants. No matter, a brief reading of director Patrick Dupre Quigley's liner notes reveals a very narrow and well-considered assemblage of pieces from the earliest chants to the 17th Century. The Ave Maria portion of the title identifies this as a collection of Marian adoration, specifically four antiphons (call and response chants honoring the Blessed Virgin, typically sung late in the day of the Divine Office, usually compline.
Presented here are multiple settings of the Marian Antiphons "Alma Redemptoris Mater," "Salve Regina," "Ave Regina Caelorum" and "Regina Caeli"typically an early and later example, for contrast. For example, "Ave Regina Caelorum" is presented as an undated monophonic Ambrosian Plainchant (perhaps as early as the 4th Century) juxtaposed against Palestrina's polyphonic composition.
Quigley coaxes a rich, neutral sound from his sixteen singers of early music as finely as imagined. Recorded in All Saints Episcopal Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the sound is resonant without being too warm. A little chill befits this ancient music. This release could have been well-included in Christmas seasonal music reviews.
Track Listing: Alma redemptoris mater [Sarum plainchant, England, 10th century]; Alma
redemptoris mater; Inviolata, integra et casta es [Ambrosian
plainchant, 9th century]; Inviolata, integra et casta es a 5;
Salve Mater misericordiae [Gregorian plainchant, 13th century]; Quam
pulchra es; Ave maris stella [Iberian plainchant]; Ave regina
coelorum; Salve Regina [French Dominican plainchant, ca. 1335]; Salve
Regina a 8; Ave Regina caelorum [Ambrosian plainchant]; Ave Regina;
Ave Virgo sanctissima [Iberian plainchant, 16th century]; Ave Maria
[Gregorian plainchant]; Ave Maria … virgo serena;Ave mundi spes Maria;
Regina coeli laetare [French plainchant, 16th century]; Regina coeli.
Personnel: Rebecca Duren: soprano; Esteli Gomez: soprano; Gitanjali Mathur: soprano; Molly Quinn: soprano;
Misty Leah Bermudez: alto;: alto;Eric S. Brenner: alto; Reginald L. Mobley: alto; Vincent Davies: tenor; Owen McIntosh: tenor; Steven Edward Soph: tenor; James K.: bass; Cameron Beauchamp: bass; Thomas McCargar: bass.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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