Mary Jane Newman

The Chants of Sarum

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The Chants of Sarum, a collaborative effort between harpsichordist and arranger Mary Jane Newman and the choral group Parthenia VII, is an attempt to recreate the Use of Sarum, a semi-independent medieval liturgy that developed out of the Church of Salisbury (Sarum to the ancient Celts and Romans) and spread across Catholic churches in the British Isles until the time of Henry VIII. While the album lacks an authentic feel (the chants are sung in English, and the collection is framed by two bagpipe pieces originally from a period much later than the chants), the expert arrangement and musicianship of Newman, combined with the sweet tone and harmony of Parthenia VII, help make it a delicate and beautiful collection of music.

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