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"Here is a program of chant that includes prophecies of Christ's coming, the story of his nativity, a glance at John the Baptist, who preceded him, and even a magnificat (which Mary expressed nine months before Christ was born). Dr. Mary Berry is one of the leading Gregorian scholars, and all the singing is excellent, in perfect style. ... elegant and sincere, and if you are looking for Christmas Gregorian Chant it will do nicely. It was recorded at the Church of the Transfiguration in Cape Cod, and there are an organ prelude and postlude (Guilmant and Widor)."
Donald Vroon American Record Guide November/December 2002
"Gregorian Chant sung in authentic style it is the first CD of a projected series 'that illuminates the life of Jesus through the exquisite music of the Gregorian chant.' The choice of Gregorian chants in between these works is original and intriguing an anthology of 35 melodies from the Christmas season. Some are fairly well known, but several of them are rarities that add interestingly to the available recorded repertory they sing with absolute fluency and authority. They sing in the best-researched Solesmes style something that is still not often heard. Gramophone's own Mary Berry conducts with unassailable authority. The singers create an atmosphere that is retained impressively throughout."David Fallows Gramophone December 2002
"There is some splendid singing on this collection of chant for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Gloriae Dei Cantores Schola specialize in the daily singing of Gregorian chant and their familiarity with its various repertoires is very much in evidence in this wide-ranging anthology. ...long, melismatic phrases of the Matins responsory Aspiciens a longe, in which the women of the Cantores are particularly impressive. The men follow...and [chant]one of considerable beauty, the seventeeth-century chant for Rorate Caeli... [Other] outstanding moments should be mentioned: the Nunc dimittis intoned with its Gradual for the same feast Omnes de Saba. Chant aficionados will certainly want this, but anyone searching for genuinely uplifting music for Christmas also need not hesitate."Ivan Moody International Record Review December 2002
"This is the first in a series of three recordings that illuminate the life of Jesus through Gregorian chant. Gloriae Dei Cantores Schola, conducted by renowned chant scholar Mary Berry, performs the music for the series. Praised for its 'expert renditions of Gregorian chant,' Gloriae Dei Cantores is a group of men and women dedicated to studying and performing chant. On this disc, the singers present a variety of pieces, including numerous seasonal antiphons, which celebrate Advent and Christmas.
The singing is superb. Always flowing and unforced, it is not only technically accurate but also has excellent ensemble, tuning and balance. The 'antiphon and solemn magnificat,' is particularly enchanting, with a wonderful sense of space and mystery.
The program is designed with a strong narrative theme. The different pieces contrast men's and women's voices and occasionally combine both. The program notes are informative, and the well-designed booklet contains full texts and translations.
This disc will delight chant enthusiasts and is an excellent resource of both repertoire and performance practice styles for choir directors. It is also the perfect antidote to the usual Christmas music. Highly recommended."Andrew Shenton (Music director and choirmaster at Trinity Church, Princeton, NY), Episcopal Life December 2002
"Here is the story of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, the presentation, and finally, the vexation of Mary and Joseph when they cannot locate the young boy in crowded Jerusalem. It begins with Aspiciens a longe, and ecce video Dei potentiam venientem, the powerful statement of the approach of God. It continues with antiphons and canticles from Isaiah foretelling the Annunciation (Ecce virgo concipiet) and Luke's powerful telling (Ne timeas Maria).
In clear, flowing Gregorian chant, with a warmth of tone, but no loss of intonation, from women's and men's voices together, the story unfolds. The centerpiece is a marvelous Magnificat anima mea Dominum followed by Mirabile mysterium declaratur hodie- A wondrous mystery is revealed this day.
The recording opens and closes with organ works, an Offertory based on Conditor alme siderum (Creator of the stars of night) by Guilmant, and the Finale of Widor's Symphonie Gothique, a variation on Puer natus. It is a beautiful telling of the Story."The Living Church December 29. 2002
"These three single CDs contain a set of 92 Gregorian chants that recount the entire Christian message of redemption, from the coming of Christ to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This program is a distinct contrast with chant discs that are arranged according to liturgical usage. Here it is the text that gives meaning to each selection, whatever the chant form may be. Antiphons from the Office are most numerous because they are invariable designed to tell the story of each feast, but responsories, hymns, and Mass propers are also found useful.
When this interdenominational religious community of Cape Cod settled on Gregorian Chant as their method of common worship 27 years ago, they studied under Dr. Mary Berry. The new discs are the first to be recorded in the community's magnificent new church, dedicated in 2000. Since the community sings the entire Office daily, their superb delivery of the music is no surprise, given their long association with Dr. Berry, a longtime proponent of Dom Cardine's semiological interpretation. The voices are lovely, and the men and women generally alternate, except in climactic passages that naturally call for the union of voices in octaves.
The first disc is framed by works of Guilmant and Widor, the second disc is framed by Gerald Near and Jean Langlais (with another Near piece midway through), and the third disc closes with another Near piece, all of these played by David Chalmers."J.F. Weber Fanfare May/June 2004 (review of all three CDs in the series)
Gloriae Dei Cantores Schola is dedicated to the singing and study of Gregorian chant. Its expertise and experience come from daily chanting of the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the Ordinary and Proper of the Mass at the Church of the Transfiguration. The Schola also conducts chant workshops and performs in concert with Gloriae Dei Cantores. Years of study with the late Dr Mary Berry, CBE, founder of the Schola Gregoriana in Cambridge, England, and the monks of St. Peter's Abbey, Solesmes, France, also contributes to the Schola's passion for Gregorian chant as a vibrant and living form of sung prayer.