UPDATE – REVIEW: CD – “Mater Eucharistiae” – Sacred Music from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

Click HERE to pre-order (release 13 August)

UPDATE 13 August:

Today is the release date of the disc!

 

ORIGINAL POSTING 31 July 2013

In the past I have brought to your gracious attention the music CDs of the wonderful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. They have had a couple chart topping discs of sacred music. Many of you have posted your own comments and reactions here.

This month, on 13 August, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are issuing their first music recording.

You know these fine sisters from their teaching work all over these USA and also their recent appearances on “The American Bible Challenge”. They are definitely not your LCWR types. (I’ll bet even they would like this disc!) They were founded by the late John Cardinal O’Connor of New York.  They started in 1997 with 4 sisters.  Now they have 110.  Their average age is 28.  They have a clear identity, they are faithful, and they are obviously happy.

I received a copy of this disc and want to stump for it.

The new disc has selections in Latin and in English, including Gregorian chant, some polyphony, and original compositions. Some of the pieces have instrumental accompaniment, others are a capella.

If you know the discs by the Benedictines, you will find this new disc to be a different experience.  First, the original compositions are particular in style.  Also, the acoustics of their church are different from those of the chapel of the Benedictines.  The Dominicans clearly have a larger space.

When I received the disc, the first time I listened to it was when I was driving around on errands.  In fact, I wound up turning off the car and sitting in a parking lot for a while just to take it in.

As I did for the Benedictines, so too for the Dominicans. Here is a brief montage of a few of a cuts, intended solely to give you a taste of this fine disc. (There might be a couple moments of dissonance, but that is only because I overlapped a couple snippets that clashed. My bad, not theirs.)

For those of you in these USA click HERE.

For those of you in the UK click HERE.

Click to learn more about the Sisters

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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16 Responses to UPDATE – REVIEW: CD – “Mater Eucharistiae” – Sacred Music from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

  1. jameeka says:

    Thank you for sharing , Father Z. They have beautiful alto lines….robust!

  2. KevinSymonds says:

    I recently had the pleasure of fulfilling a request to do some background work on a chant CD purchased in Scotland. The CD had no liner notes.

    There are a plethora of religious communities making CDs. Most of them contain the same selections. This is wonderful because people are getting into the tradition of sacred music and each CD is a type of “record” of a community’s experience of it to be shared with others.

    I would think it a great idea to make a CD with chants that have not been heard for centuries. Some of the manuscripts containing these pieces are now being digitized and placed online. There is a two-fold benefit to this:

    1) The pieces go further in bringing the tradition of sacred music to a community.
    2) The uniqueness of these chants being performed would be a significant factor in their marketing.

    For instance, how many have heard the beautiful “Dum Fabricator Mundi” performed? It fell by the wayside around Trent but was brought back by a Czech choir some 10+ years ago. It was only just within the past couple of years the chant notation was published once more (hat tip to Magnificat) and so recourse to older books is no longer necessary.

    It is true that specializations are needed to accomplish the above. However, I believe the people are out there to help and the market for it. Fr. Z., perhaps you know of people who can help?

  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Yay for the altos! A lot of female religious communities seem to be hugely blessed with sweet sopranos and mezzos (and there’s nothing wrong with multiple descants!), but altos and a big church that evens out the sound help choirs avoid sounding diabetically sweet. I think it also tends to make it easier to avoid sounding overly sharp or flat, if you have other vocal ranges to bounce off.

    Of course, it really helps to have a whole honking lot of young sisters. Which they have.

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I would think it a great idea to make a CD with chants that have not been heard for centuries. Some of the manuscripts containing these pieces are now being digitized and placed online. There is a two-fold benefit to this:

    1) The pieces go further in bringing the tradition of sacred music to a community.
    2) The uniqueness of these chants being performed would be a significant factor in their marketing.”

    This is a good idea. There are a lot of isorhythmic motets, organa dupla and tripla that will never be heard outside of a graduate musicology class (if, even there). A lot of this music has been abandoned by the Church, but it is well worth being heard. There are also many peculiar types of music to a given country produced during the Renaissance that were originally sung by males, but could use a woman’s touch. The amount of secular music grows rapidly in the late Medieval/ Early Renaissance and at least some is G-rated that would be good hear. There are very intricate madrigals, canzonas, etc.

    Of course, for the purist, one should use Just intonation, but the general listener will just be glad to have the music.

    What I would love to hear is a Barber Shop Quartet version of some of these :)

    The Chicken

  5. 100% retro…not the music, but the clock on the dashboard…a vehicle of which His Holiness would approve?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. Clinton R. says:

    Absolutely beautiful music to hear! I remember the first time I heard Gregorian Chant, I thought this must be some indication as to how Heaven sounds. May God Bless the wonderful Dominican Sisters. +JMJ+

  7. Sonshine135 says:

    The Benedictines of Mary are beautiful, and I have them as part of my Catholic Playlist on Spotify. I look forward to the Dominican Sisters as well. If you are looking for some other great music, the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter’s is also a very nice choice.

  8. msproule says:

    I pre-ordered my copy today. I am so blessed to have these sisters’ motherhouse so close to my home.

    By the way, today our Ordinary, His Excellency Earl Boyea, announced (via Twitter, of all places, @BishopBoyea) that the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist were raised to an Institute of Consecrated Life of Diocesan Right.

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    msproule said: “…. today our Ordinary, His Excellency Earl Boyea, announced (via Twitter, of all places, @BishopBoyea) that the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist were raised to an Institute of Consecrated Life of Diocesan Right.”

    Good for them!

  10. VARoman says:

    Believe it or not, NPR just posted a piece about these wonderful, blessed Sisters. The story is here: http://www.npr.org/2013/08/13/211639502/life-as-prayer-the-singing-nuns-of-ann-arbor
    Of course, you have to put up with some of the expected ridiculousness about religious life, but it is a real testament to the power the Holy Spirit is working through these Sisters that they appear on NPR. Favorably.

  11. marthawrites says:

    My two pre-ordered copies arrived today. One is going in the mail tomorrow to our daughter, a theology professor, who last semester presented a paper on medieval nuns’ contributions to sacred music. I thought she would enjoy hearing what contemporary religious women are composing. I love listening to the Benedictine nuns’ recording as I drive around town doing errands; the ambient traffic noise is not overwhelming.

  12. The Masked Chicken says:

    “One is going in the mail tomorrow to our daughter, a theology professor, who last semester presented a paper on medieval nuns’ contributions to sacred music.”

    Actually, I would like to read that paper. I know of only one woman who made a contribution, indirectly (Hildegard von Bingen), so it would be nice to see what was going on in the convents back then.

    The Chicken

  13. Father, is it just me or is the sisters’ version of Ave Maris Stella a bit fast tempo wise?

  14. RichR says:

    Listen to this music and listen to that quiet voice deep in your soul saying, “No carpets, good acoustics.” As a chant Schola member, I loooooove churches that haven’t given into the comfort standard and have kept hard floors that let unaccompanied chant project. I firmly believe marble is a part of the hermeneutic of continuity (architecturally-speaking) ;-)

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  16. Dominicanes says:

    MatthewJoseph, Dominican chant is sung more quickly than other chant. If you have heard the schola hungarica it is similiar in tempo. St. Dominic wanted the brethren to get on with the work of preaching.