“Gramophone's own Mary Berry conducts with unassailable authority. The singers create an atmosphere that is retained impressively throughout.”
This is the second recording in a series illuminating the life of Jesus through the exquisite music of Gregorian chant. This particular volume includes well-known pieces alternating with brief antiphons to the public life and ministry of Christ. In addition, chant-based organ pieces form a frame around each volume in the series.
“These three single CDs contain a set of 92 Gregorian chants that recount the entire Christian message of redemption, from the coming of Christ to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This program is a distinct contrast with chant discs that are arranged according to liturgical usage. Here it is the text that gives meaning to each selection, whatever the chant form may be. Antiphons from the Office are most numerous because they are invariably designed to tell the story of each feast, but responsories, hymns, and Mass propers are also found useful.
When this interdenominational religious community of Cape Cod settled on Gregorian Chant as their method of common worship 27 years ago, they studied under Dr. Mary Berry. The new discs are the first to be recorded in the community's magnificent new church, dedicated in 2000. Since the community sings the entire Office daily, their superb delivery of the music is no surprise, given their long association with Dr. Berry, a longtime proponent of Dom Cardine's semiological interpretation. The voices are lovely, and the men and women generally alternate, except in climactic passages that naturally call for the union of voices in octaves.
The first disc is framed by works of Guilmant and Widor, the second disc is framed by Gerald Near and Jean Langlais (with another Near piece midway through), and the third disc closes with another Near piece, all of these played by David Chalmers.”