THE MONKS OF ABBEY ROAD
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In listening to the first few sounds of this disc, you find yourself immediately in territory that is at once familiar and unfamiliar. The great bell sounds. You are enveloped by the acoustics, solemn and spacious, not unlike the sensation of being in an immense cathedral of a majestic and venerable scope. You allow yourself to be lulled by the voice of the monks,
soothing and profound in their rumblings, instinctively reminiscent of centuries past. The melodies are lovely and sublime -- as you expect them to be.But it doesn't take long to realize that these melodies are not in fact unknown. By the time you realize what it is you're listening to, you think, "Is that what this is? A clever joke, and that's all?" My feeling is that it is a little more than that.The idea of giving such ancient treatment to these modern melodies seems to say something important about the songs and their relevance. After all, the Beatles' music has, on its own, endured for over 35 years, a lifetime in the realm of pop music. But with this disc comes this suggestion that they *could* have perhaps been a hit centuries before! The musical styles are
disparate by many centuries, and these simple, elegant melodies seem perfectly at home in one another's company.Not that this is universally true. For the two styles to merge
successfully, I think things work better when the material used is less well known. "Strawberry Fields Forever," for example, is perhaps a bit too distinctive a song to be donning such different garb. Recognized as a representative anthem of the "Psychedelic Age," the special orchestral effects used in the original remain an integral part of the song. It is a song difficult to manipulate in any genre. On the other hand, less dated songs such as "The Word," and "Mother Nature's Son," work wonderfully well.It's interesting how one can perhaps unexpectedly grasp a feeling of authenticity in the original august style. The manner of using a small male choir of only a handful of voices, singing monophonic melody with solo interpolations, adheres closely to the qualities that are representative of fourth century chant, and as a result the sense of calm and profundity is successfully duplicated here.Perhaps just as interesting are the musical notes themselves, constructed adroitly and intelligently -- and not without a sense of humor. By reading them, one learns to what point the creator of this disc, Michel Laverdiere, has been affected, both personally and artistically, by the music of the Beatles. Laverdiere seems to have approached this project with as much
scholarship as mysticism, purposefully choosing songs that deal not with teenage love ("I Want to Hold Your Hand" would certainly not have worked) but with the songs that reinforce themes of nature, spirituality and brotherhood, as the songs of the Beatles often did. Here, perhaps, is the best incentive of all for unifying these two musical styles.I suspect that perhaps this project was not really supposed to be taken too seriously, and that it began as a playful experiment, realized by a talented and creative producer who happens also to be a sincere Beatles fan. But, the argument that both art forms are supple, enduring, and timelessly relevant -- here is the proof."
Antonio I. Garcia | Norcross, GA United States | 05/11/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Great but it's hard to distinguish that they are actually Beatles songs"
Beatles Gregorian is excellent!
Douglas E. Cox | Grass Valley CA | 12/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love it!
I don't know much about the producers/performers, but this album was superbly produced and the concept, composition, and performance were excellent.
I have heard other Beatles albums that purport to be classical or baroque or whatever and they all tend to be mere elevator music. This album has strength. First, it really sounds Gregorian (and quite earthy). Second, it thoroughly conveys the messages of these spiritually oriented Beatles tunes.
As a bonus, the printed score is available on the CD!