Legionary Novitiate Produces Advent-Christmas CD
The new CD features 14 Gregorian chants and Latin polyphonies, available for purchase at www.legionmusic.org.
by Catholic.net Staff Writer | Source: Catholic.net
The Legionary choir in Cheshire, CT, has produced a new Advent and Christmas CD with 14 tracks of Latin hymns, from the melodic flow of ancient Gregorian chant to more recent polyphonic works.
An ideal gift for family members and friends.
The voices on the CD belong to 16 professed Legionary religious from 7 countries: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, France, and Germany. All of the choir members on the CD have been studying Humanities during the past academic year at the Legionary College of Humanities in Cheshire.
Formation through Song
One of those voices – a second bass, to be precise – belongs to Br Christopher Tappel, LC, who is currently studying his second year of humanities in Cheshire. When asked what he learned from the experience of recording the CD, Br Christopher said that it helped him to realize the power of a form of music that lifts the soul into prayer.
“I first discovered Gregorian chant when I entered the seminary,” he said. “Chant is so appealing because of its special ability to provide interior peace and relaxation, something so hard to find for many people who live surrounded by the noise of the world. Making the CD was a beautiful and prayerful experience.”
Music-making is also a formative experience in a Legionary seminary, where the emphasis on integral formation includes an introduction to the arts, both sacred and secular. Fr Andreas Kramarz, LC, the choir director, said that singing in a choir can be an outstanding way to teach teamwork, the pursuit of perfection in details, and appreciation for a beautiful art.
“The Church has always considered that music can be a sublime form of praising God, but music is also an excellent means of forming one’s intelligence, sensitivity, and the capacity to work together and harmonize in a team. One learns how to work together in a harmonious and constructive way, to blend together so that everybody contributes to build up the whole,” he said.
A moment during the recording sessions in Cheshire.
“I think it was helpful for the brothers see how important it is to work on the details, to bring something as close as possible to perfection. And we tried to combine professionalism with a spirit of prayer: that it is all for the glory of God and for the good of those who will listen to it, so that they will be inspired to prayer and reflection.”
“Apart from this, music adds beauty to ordinary life,” he added. “Singing lifts up the spirit, helps to relax in the midst of an intense schedule of study and work, and brings out something very human.”
The emphasis on Gregorian and polyphonic Latin hymns also fits well with Pope Benedict’s emphasis on recovering the dignity of liturgical music.
After a concert given in his honor, Pope Benedict XVI said in an address, “An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. Sacred polyphony is a legacy to preserve with care, to keep alive and to make known as a priceless spiritual, musical and cultural heritage.”
Originally from Aachen, Germany, Fr Andreas Kramarz experienced firsthand how this “legacy” of sacred music can enrich the soul and open a path toward God. As a singer in the Aachen Cathedral Choir for 8 years, and as a pianist and organist, he was prepared for his vocation partly through his involvement in sacred music.
“Experiencing the Latin Mass with Gregorian chant and polyphony every Sunday in the Aachen cathedral choir introduced me to the liturgy and to worship through beauty. In particular, some of the major choir performances (especially Bach’s Passion music and the Mass in B minor) were deep spiritual experiences. Music has helped me to discover God’s love and beauty,” he said.
The idea of sharing this beauty through a CD of Advent and Christmas songs came from a lay person who sent in the suggestion. “The idea stuck with me,” said Fr Andreas. It just so happened that this year, the seminary was blessed with an unusually good group of singers; at the same time, a benefactor generously offered to help cover the initial production expenses. The songs were recorded in the chapel at Cheshire with the help of the recording studio The Carriage House, and the CD was on its way.
The Advent and Christmas songs capture the spirit of each liturgical season.
The music on this Advent-Christmas CD will give listeners a taste of the spirit of prayer that animates a Legionary seminary, with the fervor and austere beauty of its liturgical celebrations. Purchases of the CD will contribute to the formation of the seminarians in Cheshire.
To listen to a sample song, “Ave Maria,” and to order your copy of Tidings of Joy, visit the web site www.legionmusic.org.
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