Search - Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Plainchant Chant, Gregorian Chant :: Christmas Vespers at Westminster Cathedral

Christmas Vespers at Westminster Cathedral
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Plainchant Chant, Gregorian Chant
Christmas Vespers at Westminster Cathedral
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (36) - Disc #1


     
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Absolutely gorgeous!
D. Lamoureux | Massachusetts | 11/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Westminster Cathedral Choir does consistently fine work: one can always depend on their precision, musicality and good taste. Their sound is bright and forward, more like a French choral sound than the usually darker English sound. The lush, reverberant acoustics of the cathedral are a joy, particularly when the organ is used.

This is such a beautiful CD; it was just released this month. Here is Roman Catholic liturgy at its finest. You can't listen to this prayerful music, so beautifully sung, and not lament the Church's widespread misunderstanding of the Vatican II liturgy directives, which stated that Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony and the use of the organ should continue to have "pride of place" in the reformed Roman liturgy. Instead, in our zeal to be contemporary, which is a legitimate concern, we have succeeded in cutting ourselves off from centuries of our tradition, and we are the poorer for it.

And so this recording is all the more precious. I think what I enjoy the most here is not the polyphonic motets, which are lovely but which can be found elsewhere. It's the chanted psalmody, especially since chant in the Liturgy of the Hours is relatively under-recorded, compared to the flowering of recordings of chant in the Mass. The beauty of Westminster's chant touches us, as it moves along at a reflective, unhurried pace. It's accompanied by the organ, which is not authentic, but for many of us it's a guilty pleasure, and it's very well done here. The organ also comments on the psalmody in brief improvisations which are a pleasure in themselves.

Five stars aren't really enough to give justice to this fine recording. I can't recommend it highly enough."