FrKurt Messick | Bloomington, IN USA | 10/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Taize style music is very popular among college-age worshippers today, and our Centre for University Ministry regularly offers Taize services. The hallmarks of Taize services are simplicity, peaceful spirituality, and music based upon the chant styles of the Taize monastery in France. Founded in the aftermath of the second World War by Brother Roger, who died in a prayer service in the midst of the community in August 2005, Taize is dedicated to peace and ecumenical action.
Taize music is both simple and sophisticated. Brother Roger, founder of Taize, seeks to add a prayerful element to music, and a musical element to prayer, believing firmly in the old dictum, 'those who sing, pray twice'.
The songs of Taize are designed to be sung by those who have difficulty carrying a tune, as well as those whose training and background in music extends to high levels.
This recording contains many of the best Taize chants. Given the international outreach of Taize (it is a great pilgrimage site for people all over the world), the chants tend to be sung in Latin. The Latin is not due to Catholic influence as much as it a shared language among many people's linguistic heritage while no longer being anyone's first language. Brother Roger reclaimed Latin as a language for the monastery so that no one 'living' language would claim a dominance over others. However, this disc does include some of the solos and pieces in German, also - it is a feature of Taize chant that it can be adapted to other languages very easily.
Taize worship relies on psalms heavily, as well as periods of silence, Bible readings, and prayers. Some such pieces are included here.
The way Taize chants 'work' is that they are simple phrases and simple tunes that gradually reveal depth and sophistication by being repeated over and over. All chants presented in this text are put in multiple-part harmony (usually four-part), and some are marked to be done in rounds.
This recording is a rich expression, wonderfully presented. According to Brother Roger, all who follow this journey of the spirit remain alongside other people, adding their prayers and voices together. 'They do not separate prayer and commitment.'