It took more than 1000 years, but Gregorian chant has finally made its way onto the pop music charts. After the phenomenal success of recent chant recordings, hundreds of thousand of listeners have been introduced to the beauty and mystery of this ancient form of singing. Gregorian chant was never meant to be a novelty item. This is a sacred tradition that has survived centuries of turmoil and in the past century some truly spectacular recordings of chant have been made. The CD reissue of Gregorian Chants, by Konrad Ruhland and the Capella Antiqua Muenchen, is a major event in the renaissance of this timeless music.
This recording was made in Germany in 1966, by one of the finest early music groups of the century. The Capella Antiqua Muenchen performs with a precision and spirit that allows the power, the majesty, and the meditative spiritual quality of the music to shine through. In many respects, it is the definitive recording of Gregorian Chants, as it presents works from the fourth through the fourteenth centuries, including a chant by the great fourth century theorist and musician Aurelius Ambrosius, better known as Saint Ambrose. In fact, the history of this music is inextricably linked with the history of Europe in the Christian era. Another important figure in Church history, the twelfth century scholar Petrus Abaelardus (Peter Abelard), is also represented here by one of his late Gregorian chants. The style itself is named for Pope Gregory the Great, under whose direction the liturgical chants were codified in the sixth century.
Despite the unprecedented public interest in recordings of Gregorian chant, this Gregorian Chants release from the Capella Antiqua Muenchen stands apart. The performances are first rate and the packaging avoids the slick, pop-music look of most recent chant CDs. The notes are by Konrad Ruhland himself, and give a useful overview of the checkered history of this music. With the careful digital remastering of this classic recording, Celestial Harmonies has insured that one of the finest performances of Gregorian chant will once again be available in an audiophile format.