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 circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.