Friday, February 20, 2009

Try this chant-topping CD


The CD above is not a new release. The performers on it are not notably young. It is not new music. The composer does not have an anniversary. It has not recently won an award. But do read on. The disc of Maronite and Syrian chants is sung by the nun with the selling habit, Sister Marie Keyrouz, and accompanying choristers. It was recorded by Harmonia Mundi in L'église évangélique allemande in Paris in 1990. Traditionally these chants, which have their origins in early Christianity, are sung unaccompanied; the exception is on important days in the Christian calendar, when they are augmented by a limited range of metallic percussion. However, this disc follows the more recent practice of adding complementary instruments. The addition of L'Ensemble de la Paix (who are actually Sister Marie's backing band) playing nay, oud, quanoun and percussion, lifts the CD from being a fascinating document of a sacred tradition to a very accessible and enjoyable early music disc with a uniquely Middle Eastern sound. HMV are currently offering it online for £4.99 delivered in the UK. Does it really matter if it is not a new release ......? Or that there are none of the tricks of modern music?

I bought my copy of Maronite Chants in the Harmonia Mundi boutique in Avignon. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

5 comments:

Pliable said...

It is worth pointing out that if 'the tricks of modern music' are your thing Pierre Boulez's Domaines played by Ensemble Musique Vivante directed by Diego Masson is available in the same Harmonia Mundi series at the same price -

http://hmv.com/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=281;1;-1;-1;-1&sku=83462

as is Iannis Xenakis' Pleiades -

http://hmv.com/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=280;-1;-1;-1;-1&sku=504586

Pliable said...

Email received:

I bought the CD when it first came out in 1990.Thank the Lord for Harmonia Mundi.

That being said, it would be nice to see any of the ARCHIV recordings of Eastern Orthodox music reissued, whether its from Mount Athos, or the Zagorsk Monastery.

Alas, we may never see those again.

Cheers
David Cavlovic

Pliable said...

I have an absolutely ravishing book titled Mount Athos - Renewal in Paradise by Graham Speake. It is in colour throughout, the publisher is Yale University Press, and it is produced using print on demand technology. Highly recommended -

http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300103236

Pliable said...

Email received:

Pliable, I wanted to confirm that you have the print on demand technology version of this university press book and that you recommend it.The one and only time I(inadvertently) ordered a print on demand book, the computer font quality and contrast was so poor that I had to return the book to the publisher for a refund.Print on demand and excellent color photos is to me an oxymoron, but perhaps I am behind the times and wrong …

It is a fair point you raise. I was actually involved professionally with print on demand in its early days. Like you I was very nervous about ordering the Mount Athos book because of the technology used to print it. But, I have to say, the quality is probably better than a conventionally printed book. Maybe I got lucky. But that book resides on the shelf where I keep 'treasured' volumes. Not many go there.

pathogan said...

love her, have this and all of her available recordings.Gorgeous.