The Monks of the Benedictine Monastery of Einsiedeln

Gregorian: Heavenly Chant

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Previously issued in 1996 under the title The World of Gregorian Chant, this twofer from ZYX Music presents recordings of the Choir of the Cathedral of Einsiedeln and the Benedictine Choir of the Monastery of Einsiedeln, which date from 1968 (disc 1) and 1989 (disc 2). While the rubric of Gregorian chant is too casually applied to the first CD, there are actually various kinds of monodic chant and multi-part choral compositions mixed together, so attention must be paid to the track listing to identify the Renaissance and Baroque works by Tomás Luis de Victoria, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault, Gregor Aichinger, Orlando di Lasso, Clemens non Papa, Johannes Magnon, and Nicolas de Grigny. However, the second disc is solidly filled with Gregorian chants, sung by the Benedictine monks in a resonant ecclesiastical space, and treated as seriously and as reverently as other chant recordings from the early 1990s, the boom years of marketing religious music as a "chill-out" phenomenon. The quality of the music is consistent, the sound is quite good for church recordings of the time, and the performances are better than average, so this album is worth exploring, provided the listener knows in advance that it isn't all as advertized.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:29
2 2:12
Missa pro defunctis
3 1:43
4 2:15
5 2:21
6 2:03
Missa pro defunctis
7 4:15
8 2:20
9 3:55
10 2:23
11 2:53
12 3:43
13 5:39
14 1:36
15 4:03
16 6:19
Organ Mass
17 1:33
18 3:09
19 3:45
20 3:16
21 3:29
blue highlight denotes track pick