I received a note from a friend, a recommendation about a sacred music “disc”. “Great”, quoth I, “Yet another recording of the Requiem Mass,” or some such.
No. This is a little different.
Here is a beautifully chanted cri de coeur.
Who will deny that we are in a time of crisis?
Prière pour temps de détresse – an MP3 “disc” with some 23 complied selections of mostly Gregorian chant, “Prayers for a time of distress” by various artists. 59 minutes.
Prière pour temps de détresse… Prayer in a time of suffering, a time of urgency… SOS Prayer.
There is Aramaic chant and Gregorian sung by nuns of Rosans Abbey, other choirs. A soloist provides interesting versions of the Lamentations. Included are quite a few tracks by the incredible Choeur Grégorian de Paris, one of the best recording groups out there. They sing with confidence and with comprehension. They really get it. You can understand the texts as they sing. One might quibble slightly with the level of vibrato on the part of a soloist, but, heck, they are great. How I would love, on a visit to Paris, to celebrate Mass with them singing. If memory serves, they sometimes sing at the Missions étrangères on the Rue du Bac.
The selections are… sober. I say sober, not lugubrious. First, any chant can be made to sound lugubrious if it is sung in a lugubrious manner. Also, we pay attention to the texts of the chant. The practice of praying the Psalms, which are really chants, attends to the confidence that we have in God. There is nothing lugubrious about that.
By the way, it would be good to have a “disc” of the Office of the Dead and of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While we’re at it, how about ALL of Tenebrae?