Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Coming of Christ: A Celebration of Faith in His Name

Paraclete Press sent me a complimentary copy of this Gregorian Chant CD performed by Gloria Dei Cantores Schola. The first seven tracks are Advent music and 8-32 tell the story of the life of Jesus from His nativity to early childhood. Recordings of Advent music are difficult to find. I've even seen CDs that are labeled "Advent" that are entirely made up of Christmas music and others that have only two Advent songs. There are countless Christmas albums but only a handful of really good Christmas albums. But it's even difficult to find a poorly done Advent album. When stores start decorating for Christmas and playing Christmas music in October, Advent can be difficult to celebrate. Advent is certainly not the money-maker that Christmas is--they can sell you an Advent wreath and calendar but that's about it. A penitential season like Advent certainly isn't as conducive to selling stuff. I suppose it's not surprising that stores would do away with Advent, but unfortunately much of the church-world has done away with Advent as well.

So anyhow, it's joy not just to find a CD with some Advent music on it but it's truly wonderful to find one as good as this one. All of the tracks are exceptionally well-performed. This CD has both male and female voices. My collection of male Gregorian chant is larger than my collection of female Gregorian Chant and I find male Gregorian chant easier to listen to for long periods of time. It's also easier for me to understand the words in male Gregorian Chant. But female Gregorian chant can beautiful and this is some of the best I've heard. The recording didn't sound very good on my car stereo. I noticed the same thing with another CD I own that has female Gregorian chant--Paschale Mysterium. But both sound absolutely beautiful on my home stereo.

The first and last tracks on The Coming of Christ are short organ pieces. These also sound horrible on my car stereo but sound excellent on my home stereo. I actually think the CD might be better without these organ pieces. They are well-performed and well-recorded but I just find them distracting.

The CD has some good liner notes, describing the various pieces. It also lists both the Latin text and an English translation which is very helpful.

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