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Chant - Music For The Soul / Cistercian Monks Of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey


Release Date: 07/01/2008 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001148902   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CHANT: MUSIC FOR THE SOUL Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz DECCA 001148902 (52:45 Text and Translation)


Decca set out to make a new hit record of Gregorian chant, so they advertised for a choir, signing up a Cistercian abbey in the Vienna Woods that had been visited a few months earlier by Pope Benedict XVI. Cistercian chant is sung from different editions than the usual Gregorian books, since the order had reformed the chant and a lot of other aspects of religious life in the 12th century, but the Read more melodies are recognizably similar. Once the choice was made, a crew made the recording without delay, the disc was issued, and it became a best-seller as planned. In fact, it was a classical best-seller in this country a week before it hit the stores, due solely to sales by Internet download.


The good news: the result is superb. The abbey has 77 monks, including a lot of young men, but 23 of them (only 17 are pictured in the photo) were selected to sing for the sessions. The program is nicely organized into two main sections. One is the funeral Mass, often recorded (Victor made a complete set as early as 1933) but never before from the Cistercian edition. The “Dies irae” is omitted because it was a late composition, later than the 12th-century Cistercian revisions. But at the elevation (after the Sanctus), the Cistercian Requiem includes a brief “Pie Jesu Domine,” and this was tacked onto the Gregorian “Dies irae” sometime later (even though it doesn’t fit the scansion of the poem). The text is familiar from such composers as Charpentier (twice, H 2 and H 10), Fauré, Duruflé, and Rutter, who used it as an elevation as well. Preceding the Mass are three familiar chants for the funeral rites, the antiphon “In paradisum” and two responsories, “Subvenite” and “Libera me.” The last piece is often included in polyphonic and classical Requiems.


The other main part of the program is the Office of Compline, which concludes the liturgical day. This, too, has been recorded before; Dom Gajard and Dom Claire both recorded it along with Vespers with the monks of Solesmes, but again this is the first time the Cistercian edition has been recorded. One innovation after Vatican II was a rearrangement of some of the hours of the Office, moving the hymns of Lauds, Vespers, and Compline to the beginning of the hour, just as was always done at Matins and the Little Hours during the day. (The change was quite misguided, ignoring the disparate origins of these hours, as László Dobszay made clear in his profound book, The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform , notably on page 59.) So here the hymn “Te lucis ante terminum,” with its revised and bowdlerized text, is sung before the psalms, which are still three in number, not reduced to a single psalm as in the recent standard edition. Toward the end of Compline are the canticle “Nunc dimittis” and the final antiphon, “Salve regina,” familiar because so many Cistercian and Trappist monasteries have sung it in their own edition whenever they have made a recording. As a postscript to this, the program concludes with three chants for Pentecost: two Mass Propers and the hymn “Veni creator spiritus,” one of the most familiar of all chant hymns because of its use on any occasion that calls on the Holy Spirit. Incidentally, this hymn is virtually identical to the recent Liber Hymnarius , rather than the older Gregorian editions of Liber Usualis or Antiphonale Monasticum , suggesting that the most recent Gregorian revision followed the Cistercian version almost intact.


The singing is beautiful, strong yet subtle, and recorded in the 12th-century Romanesque church dedicated in 1187. The acoustics of the place make this, from an engineering standpoint, one of the finest chant recordings ever. The booklet has an elegantly beautiful simplicity. The abbey bells are heard twice to set off two of the main divisions of the program. It’s good to have a chant best-seller, even better to have one that is this fine.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber


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Works on This Recording

1. Subvenite sancti Dei by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2. Libera me by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
3. Bell Toll by Anonymous
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
4. Deus in adiutorium intende by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century 
Length: 0 Minutes 49 Secs. 
5. Te lucis ante terminum by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 1 Minutes 24 Secs. 
6. Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
7. In manus tuas Domino commendo spiritum meum by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 0 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8. Nunc dimittis by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
9. Kyrie eleison by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 0 Minutes 12 Secs. 
10. Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
11. Veni creator spiritus by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Written: after 1300; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
12. Spiritus Domini by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
13. Factus est repente by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 1 Minutes 17 Secs. 
14. In paradisum by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 4 Minutes 28 Secs. 
15. In noctibus benedicite Dominum...Invocantem exaudi me by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
16. Ecce benedicite Dominum, omnes servi Domini by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 1 Minutes 12 Secs. 
17. Messa pro defunctis by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Length: 14 Minutes 16 Secs. 
18. Sobrii estote et vigilate by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Length: 0 Minutes 27 Secs. 
19. Oremus; Visita, quaesumus Domine by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Length: 0 Minutes 47 Secs. 
20. Benedicat et custodiat nos by Anonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Period: Medieval 
Length: 0 Minutes 19 Secs. 

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