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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Chant Album by the Daughters of St. Paul

Our new album just arrived! This is our first full-fledge foray into the world of Gregorian chant, and the album features a beautiful selection with our sisters' trademark "ethereal sound."

Sr. Julia Mary Darrenkamp is the sister who spearheaded this project, and I can't think of a better way to explain it than by "borrowing" the write-up she did for her blog:
The idea for this album started back in 1972. I was a brand new Catholic and was visiting the motherhouse of the Daughters of St. Paul for the first time. I firmly and wholeheartedly believed that the Catholic Church was the one true Church...and I just as strongly believed that I had sacrificed good music in the process of becoming a Catholic. (The early '70s was not the best of times for Church music.) But then here I was, sitting in the sisters' chapel during a Sunday Mass, listening to Gregorian Chant for the first time in my life. They were singing the Mass of the Angels.... My first thought was, So this is where the good Church music is hiding! Then, about ten years ago when I was studying music, I had a strong desire to share this musical heritage with the many Catholics who still had never heard of it. We sisters "grew up" in the convent, so to speak, singing this music on feast days, for benediction, novenas, etc. I've rarely, if ever, heard this music outside of our motherhouse, and most people I know have had the same reaction as I first did: Where have they been hiding this? During the recording last summer, we did have to pull out the Latin dictionary...and we also had a vocal coach come in to help us. But on the whole, this type of music fits us like a glove. In Paradisum is an introduction for those too young to remember, and a fresh take on old, familiar melodies for those who do: We took Gregorian chant up a notch by adding instruments and playing around with the arrangements. It's to give people a taste for chant, but also to give them an experience of "heavenly music"...the kind you listen to while you're driving or trying to pray. It puts you in another zone. It's familiar, but it's new. I think it's perfect prayer music--it can help in providing a reverent "atmosphere" that is conducive to prayer and reflection.
Click on the song titles to hear a sample of what's inside: Vexilla Regis ProdeuntAve Regina Caelorum/Ave Maris StellaSalve Regina ∙ Adoro Te, Devote ∙ Tantum Ergo, SacramentumAve Verum Corpus NatumUbi CaritasTe JosephIn Paradisum

1 comment:

Sally @ PBM said...

The full interview with Sr. Julia can be found in the Lent 2009 issue of Life & Soul. It's inspirational and often quite funny. Definitely worth a read!