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To Pray In Beauty: Gregorian Chant, Ever Ancient, Ever New

Cistercian Nuns Of Mount Saint Mary's Abbey
Release Date: 03/26/2013 
Label:  Jade   Catalog #: 36623   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Anonymous
Conductor:  Gabriel Bertoniere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Nuns Of Mount St. Mary’s Abbey
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



TO PRAY IN BEAUTY Gabriel Bertoniere, cond; Cistercian Nuns of Mount St. Mary’s Abbey, Wrentham, Mass. JADE M2-36623 (51:26 Text and Translation)


Cistercian chant (a repertoire also used by the Trappists, the strict branch of the order) is a distinct body of chants of Mass and Office, edited in the 12th century by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the most celebrated of the early Cistercians. The reform resulted in a more austere version of the chants, but the goal to recover the authentically pure early version is Read more not regarded by modern scholars as successful. Modern editions of the chants have been published in Westmalle, Belgium, and a considerable number of recordings have been made, most famously the recent Decca CDs from Heiligenkreuz near Vienna ( Fanfare 32:2, 32:5). The nuns in Wrenthem recorded an LP for World Library of Sacred Music in about 1960, just reissued on Jade. (It seems that the impetus for that reissue came from a nun who sang for that recording so many years ago.) This new recording followed, sung by a schola of seven nuns directed by a Trappist monk. Seventeen Mass Propers are framed by two Office hymns. Some of these have never been recorded in the Cistercian version, but the introit Exurge quare can be found on the first LP made by the Trappist monks of Gethsemani in 1950. (“Exurge” for “exsurge” is a typical example of variant spellings in these editions.) The opening hymn, Avete solitudinis for saints of the order, was recorded on another mono LP by the monks in Spencer, Massachusetts.


The singing is notably fine, demonstrating the wisdom of rehearsing a select schola intensively. This ranks with the finest chant recordings made by American choirs. The voices blend well, the tempos are lively, and pitch is properly sustained. It should not be necessary to emphasize such aspects, but we have heard chant sung less well than this. Only the solo verses might have been rendered more firmly. Two introits are sung without the verse, though the printed text indicates otherwise. While the nuns in their daily routine sing in the vernacular most of the time, they retain the Latin chants in their services of worship two days a week. This is a good disc to use as an example of the Cistercian rite of chant.


FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

1. Avete solitudinis, hymn mode 1: Verses 1, 2, 5 & 7 by Anonymous
Conductor:  Gabriel Bertoniere
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Nuns Of Mount St. Mary’s Abbey
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2. Simile est, communion in mode 8 by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
3. Justus germinabit, alleluia in mode 1 (Liber Usualis, 1192) by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
4. Salve sancta parens, introit in mode 2 by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 2 Minutes 13 Secs. 
5. Dominus Dixit ad me, introit by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
6. Quinque prudentes, communion in mode 5 (Liber Usualis 1228b) by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
7. Videns Dominus by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
8. Christus factus est by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
9. Resurrexi, introit by Anonymous
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 1 Minutes 45 Secs. 
10. Quasi modo, introit by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
11. Viri Galilaei, introit in mode 7 (for Ascension) by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
12. Spiritus Domini, introit in mode 8 (Liber Usualis, No 878b) by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
13. Exurge, quare obdormis Domine, introit in mode 1 for Sexagesima Sunday by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
14. Deus iudex iustus, alleluia in mode 8 by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
15. Esto mihi, introit by Anonymous
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
16. Omnia quae fecisti, introit in mode 3 by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
17. Inclina Domine, introit in mode 1 by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 3 Minutes 39 Secs. 
18. Vocem iucunditatis, introit in mode 3 by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 4 Minutes 44 Secs. 
19. Ave Maris stella, hymn for the Assumption of Mary in mode 1 (Liber Cantualis No. 73) by Anonymous
Period: Medieval 
Written: Europe 
Length: 1 Minutes 41 Secs. 

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