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The Gift of Music | CDs | Plainchant & Songs | Meditation
Great Organ Classics
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MeditationAncient chant for quiet contemplationMusic for Advent1 Rorate caeli desuper2 O sapientia3 Ave Maria4 Christe redemptor omniumMusic for Christmas5 Puer natus est nobis6 Viderunt, Omnes & Alleluia, Dies sanctificatius7 Verbum caro factum est8 Hodie Christus natus estMusic for Epiphany9 Hosties Herodies10 Reges Tharsis11 Lumen ad relevationem gentium12 Adorna thalamum tuumMusic for Lent13 Emendemus in melius14 Attende Domine15 Tibi Domine derelictus est pauperMusic for Holy Week16 Vexilla regis prodeunt17 Nos autem gloriari oportet18 Ubi caritas19 Tenebrae factae sunt20 Ecce lignum crucisMusic for Easter21 Victimae paschali laudes22 Salve, feste diesArtist:Pro Cantione AntiquaOver 1 hour of musicCCL CDG1026This compilation P & c 2002 Classical Communicationswww.thegiftofmusic.comMade in Great BritainPro Cantione Antiqua, directed by James O'DonnellJames GriffettIan PartridgeGordon JonesStephen RobertsMichael GeorgeInside text:The calming voice of this music, which is a thousand years old and more, speaks to us through the ages and remains as fresh as the day it was first written. Let your imagination roam, let meditative thoughts begin, by imagining a darkened cathedral in winter, with monks dressed in warm habits singing in the candlelight. Or imagine the same scene on a summer's evening, the doors of the cathedral left open to allow the full evening sun to flood in. Perhaps you could find yourself in the countryside at dawn, the mist rising from the valley and the birds singing gently. Gregorian chant can be what you want it to be. Its universal sound allows the mind to listen and to be free. It gives the imagination opportunity to think itself out of normal everyday life into a special, spiritual world of calm and orderliness.Tradition has long credited Pope Gregory I with the development of the chant that bears his name, but Gregorian chant as we now call it has a much longer tradition. Gregory was Pope from 590-604 and it was under him that the papacy became a truly world power. His musical achievement was successfully to gather together the music of previous generations. This music had grown from several different cultures, Jewish and Christian. Gregory systematically categorised these ancient songs of Europe into musical groups with specific religious applications. Gregory is said to have established the schola cantorum (school of singers) to sing this wonderful repertoire and make sure that it could continue to be handed down from generation to generation.Gregorian chant, then, comes from universal sources and from all cultures. It provides suitably neutral territory and style to allow it to appeal to all nationalities and types. It is sung in Latin, one of our most ancient languages, and this in itself gives the music an other-worldly appeal. It is the ultimate music to relax to - impersonal, gentle, slow, timeless, allowing the listener a breathing space in time to adjust from the frantic pace of the modern world. It was not always seen in this way, though, and life in the sixth century was not necessarily much easier than it is now: Gregory's life style, first as secular politician and later as church leader on the international stage of the day, must have been frantic and rushed, and it is thought extraordinary that he should have found time for music at all. Perhaps he too valued it for its calming properties, although we should remember that not everybody found it so, and in later centuries attempts were made to ban Gregorian chant altogether because it was considered too sensual and distracting.This selection follows the cycle of the church's year from the announcement of the birth of Jesus at Advent to his birth at Christmas. For Epiphany we have the story of the wise men (track 10) and of Herod slaying the little children (track 9) and then we follow the year through from Lent to Holy Week, Easter and the Resurrection.But you don't need to know any of that in order to gain from listening to this extraordinary music, which, because it is so old and gathered from such a variety of places, goes deeper into our spirit than any other type of music. Its appeal is universal - more so than any other type of music - and timeless. Its antiquity gives it authority, and its sense of history and permanence gives us the calm that we seek in today's frantic world.
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