"The stylistic and indeed musical perfection of the recorded legacy of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes aside (and what a legacy that is - and how impossible to set it aside!), this remains, in my view, the ultimate recording of liturgical chant. There is so much to recommend the recordings of Solesmes -the exceeding quality of their beautiful art, the exquisite singing -especially of that one anonymous tenor voice that seems not only to color but to create the 'sound' for which their choir is justly famed!- the aristocratic liturgical taste of Dom Gajard, and now of Dom Jean Claire, even the genuine poverty of the monastic life at Solesmes (I've been there and seen it) - yet, in this recording of the choir of monks of the Spanish Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, there is an abiding aura so mingled of sorrow and joy that its effect cannot merely be audaciously touted, but must be absorbed like a holy ether in order to be justly experienced. While Solesmes has explored that vast body of prayer we know as Gregorian chant, the monks of Santo Domingo here offer chant from an earlier age, so-called Visigothic (Mozarabic) chant, rarely heard in our time before the liturgical relaxations subsequent to the Second Vatican Council. To listen to these monodic melodies so redolent of Spain's ancient Arabic past leaves us marked not only with their own intrinsic beauty, but allows us, I think, to hear Roman chant itself again in a fresh light. While the Kyriale included in this recording is perhaps more exactly called neo-Mozarabic chant, the main body of selections indeed come from the period prior to the Roman codification under Gregory, Spanish in heart, and universal in beauty; the remarkable 'Introibo ad altare Dei mei', the various Antiphons and Prayers intrinsic to an older national liturgical ideal usurped by Gregorian legislation, culminating in the astonishing 'Lamentation of Jeremiah' which, once heard, will never leave your heart. Recorded in the great Romanesque church of the Abbey, the acoustic ambience is perfectly suited to the sung prayer of these glad monks. If you enjoy listening to liturgical chant and have never heard this recording, you are unfinished and impoverished in your enjoyment. Get this recording and enter on the rich path of a rare experience indeed."
The best Chant CD on the market.
David Rasquinha | Arlington, VA USA | 04/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By happy coincidence, this CD was my introduction to Gregorian Chant and while I have since listened to many more, this disc is clearly the best. Right from the opening Dominus Regnavit and Laudate Dominum, the listener is caught up in what seems to be a swelling wave of deeply felt emotion, all the more impactful for the pure voices. Follows in due course the majestic old Credo and lastly for the moving finale, the Lamentation of the Prophet Jeremiah. Sung with tremendous control and feeling by the monks of the Abbey of Santo Domingo, the sound quality and the depth of the individual voices is amazing. Listening with your eyes closed, you can picture cowled monks singing in an echoing hall, yet the acoustics are so good that while giving the listener a feeling of resonance in space, there isn't the faintest of ghost echoes. I learn from the inset that the Abbey of Santo Domingo in the village of Silos is one of the oldest surviving Benedictine monasteries in Spain and an earlier reviewer on this page, Jason Anderson, has written some very informative historical notes. The inset also has a nice piece on the abbey and the history of the chant, as well as the full text of the lyrics in Latin plus an English translation. I cannot recommend this CD too highly: whether you love Gregorian Chant or you just want a soothing listen for a quiet evening or a long drive, I guarantee you will not go wrong with this one."
Gregorian Chant as it should always be!
Petar Vodogaz | Sydney, NSW Australia | 02/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The monks of Santo Domingo de silos follow the rites and traditions of the ancient Mozarabic period of Hispania (modern day Spain). This period stemmed from the Visigothic period of control over the former Roman protectorate. And from this period throughout the generations this form of pure, magical and yet authentic chant has been saved and will continue to be saved. I brought this CD initially for my stepdad but I decided to keep it with me after listening to it. I fell in love with the sound, the atmosphere and it made me great when I listened to it. I hope to one day visit the abbey and listen to these chants in person and live. 22 tracks of solid gold chants and the voices are so in sync with each other that the real mystery is why there is not more monasteries like this one."
Mystery and fact
Jerome F. Weber | Utica, NY USA | 05/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I agree with the other reviewers that this is a fine recording, two precisions are necessary for the sake of accuracy. The disc is titled "Gregorian Chant" but in fact it is Mozarabic or Old Spanish Chant. The reviewer who wrote that the monks observe this rite is mistaken. The monks observe the same monastic rite as the monks of Solesmes and other Benedictine abbeys. The choir director at the time (1968), however, is a musicologist who prepared a special program of Old Spanish Chant for the historically based Archiv Produktion of Deutsche Grammophon."
Un magnífico cd
M. Borrego Huerta | University Park, PA United States | 11/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Este es un maravilloso cd para cualquier persona a la que le guste el canto gregoriano o esté interesada en escuchar algo de este tipo de música. Al principio puede parecer que todas las canciones son muy similares, pero una escucha atenta hace que esa sensación se despeje por completo. La calidad de sonido es muy buena y uno se siente casi dentro del propio monasterio de Silos cuando pone este cd, da una ambientación totalmente medieval y transporta en el tiempo y en el espacio al oyente. Además el precio es muy bueno para un cd de estas características."