Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett




GREGORIAN CHANT. Early Recordings
Credo IV LU71
Offr; Terra tremuit with verse Et factus est LU781a Ott 55
Sanctus I LU18a
Agnus Dei I LU18b
Choir of Benedictine College of Sant’Anselmo, Rome directed by Beatus Reiser and recorded c.1933

Preface of the Blessed Virgin, Missale Romanum
Sanctus X LU45a
Agnus Dei X LU45b
Comm; Gloriosa LU1319a
Ite IX LU43a
Anti; Alma Redemptoris LU273
Anti; Regina caeli LU275
Anti; Salve Regina LU279
Rorate caeli LU1868b
Attende Domine LU1872B
White Fathers of St Irmenin, Trier recorded c.1929

Alle; Confitemini LU759
Anti; Alleluia LU761a
Anti; Vespere autem LU761a
Grad; Haec dies LU778b
Alle; without verse LU779
Sequ; Victimae paschali LU780
Intr; Dominus dixit LU 392
Comm.; In splendoribus LU 395a
Intr; Puer natus est LU408
Franciscan Fathers of Venray, Holland directed by Eliseus Brüning and recorded May 1930
Anti; Asperges me LU11
Kyrie IX LU40b
Sanctus IX LU42a
Anti; Salve Regina LU279
Alle; Veni Sancte LU880a
Sequ; Veni Sancte Spiritus LU880b
Anti; Miserere mihi and Ps LU264
Hymn; Te lucis ante LU266c
Anti; Ave Regina caelorum LU278a
Hymn; O Salutaris Hostia LU940z
Monks of St Lawrence Abbey, Ampleforth directed by J Bernard McElligott and recorded September 1930

Anti; Hosanna LU578b
Comm; Passer invenit LU556a
Alle; Pascha nostrum LU779
Schola Cantorum of Paris directed by Amédée Gastoué and recorded May 1930

Grad; Misit Dominus Verbum LU485
Berlin State Academy Choir directed by Hermann Halbig and recorded January 1930

Grad; Adjuvabit LU1221
Alle; Pascha nostrum/Epulemur LU779
Les Paraphonistes de St-Jean-des-Matines directed by Guillaume de Van; Agop Agopian, solo recorded March 1936

Offr; Ave Maria LU1318b
Anti; Salve Regina LU279
Nuns of St Ehrentraud Abbey, Nonnberg, Salzburg, recorded c1930

Kyrie X LU43c
Gloria IX LU40c
Credo I LU64
Common Preface, Missale Romanum
Sanctus IX LU42a
Pater Noster and versicles, Missale Romanum
Agnus Dei IX LU42b
Ite IX LU43a
Rev Vincent C Donovan, celebrant with Choir of the Pius X School of Music directed by Justine Bayard Ward with Achille P Bragers, organ and recorded in May 1929

Kyrie ad lib IV LU76b
Grad; Convertere LU1007
Escolania and monks of Montserrat Abbey directed by David Pujol and recorded May 1930

Intr; Exsurge quare LU504c
Grad; Haec dies LU778b
Comm; Pascha nostrum LU781b
Alle; Pascha nostrum LU779
Sequ; Victimae paschali LU780
Monks of St Martin Arch Abbey, Beuron directed by Pius Bihlmeyer and recorded in November 1929

Alle; Vir Dei Old Graduale 24
Sequ; Laeta dies old Graduale 17
Monks of Maria Laach Abbey directed by Anselm Ross with Urbanus Bomm organist and recorded c.1928

Alle; Venite ad me LU1726b
Offr; Justorum animae LU1172
Comm; Beati mundo corde LU1727
Seminary Choir of the Society of the Divine Word of Steyl, Mödling directed by Stanislaus Marusczyk and recorded c.1930

Kyrie VIII LU37b
Gloria VIII LU37c
Credo III LU68
Sanctus VIII LU38
Agnus Dei VIII LU39a
Comm; Quinque prudentes LU1228b
Alle; Assumpta est LU1603
Dortmund Municipal Conservatory Choir directed by Romuald Peffer and recorded c1929

Alle; Post Dies Octo LU810
Alle; Adorabo LU1251b
Anti; Alma Redemptoris LU277
Anti; Ave Regina caelorum LU278a
Anti; Regina caeli LU278b
Anti; Salve Regina LU279
Paderborn Cathedral Choirboys directed by Gustav Schauerte with Paul Hebestreit organ and recorded c1929

PARNASSUS PACD 96015/16 [2 CDs 156.41]

The bulk of recordings on this historically valuable double CD set from Parnassus derive from the flourishing of recording activity in Gregorian Chant between 1928 and 1930. There had long been interest in Chant on disc – though the earlier cylinder recordings of the turn of the century have seemingly all been lost and acoustic disc recordings were only sporadic at best. However in the first half decade of electrical recording companies big and small – Columbia, HMV, Polydor, Parlophone, Victor, Electrola, Christschall and Anthologie Sonore amongst them – all recorded significant contributions to Chant on disc and much of it has been lovingly collected here. The most famous of the early discs of Gregorian Chant were those made in 1930 by the monks of Solesmes under Dom Joseph Gajard – later released on an early LP they are now on a Pearl double (CDS 9152) and are not duplicated, despite their near canonical position, in this set.

The Rome sides of c.1933 are some of the rarest and are fascinating not least because they contain the earliest known example of an offertory with verse on disc – the melodic crest and fall is indeed extraordinary here, with prominent vibrato, as expected, and a particularly slow tempo, well sustained. The slightly earlier (c.1929) discs by the White Fathers of St Irmenin, Trier were recorded for Christschall – fourteen in all. By comparison with the Rome recordings of the Choir of Benedictine College of Sant’Anselmo, Rome (directed by Beatus Reiser it’s assumed but not stated on the labels) the Trier choir is considerably less romantically free; there’s a rough copy or two but the Anti: Salve Regina is splendidly forthright and robust. By contrast with Trier and even more so than Rome the Franciscan Fathers of Venray, Holland directed by Eliseus Brüning are also romanticized in phrasing and dynamics – listen to the Anti: Confitemini to hear their very expressively personalised way with variation of dynamics and the implicit verticality of sound engendered.

The English School is represented by some HMV sides of September 1930 made by the Monks of St Lawrence Abbey, Ampleforth directed by J Bernard McElligott; robust, straightforward, unsentimental and unromanticised – there are some slightly muddied discs but the choir, which doesn’t sound large, copes well. The Schola Cantorum of Paris, directed by Amédée Gastoué, was a mixed choir – and as Jerome F. Weber observes (and his notes are invaluable for much of what I’m relating) theirs is a very distinctive and extreme vibrato. The students may each have been cultivating distinct theatrical pretensions because there is an almost melismatic crypto-operatic feel to the performances (finding its analogue in the almost contemporary recordings of the violinist Renée Chemet, whose queasily unrestrained vibrato said something about the extremes of French expressive style at the time). The Berlin State Academy Choir directed by Hermann Halbig and recorded January 1930 recorded one side that to my ears sounds rough and ready and untutored. Les Paraphonistes de St-Jean-des-Matines directed by Guillaume de Van are splendidly incisive with a virtuoso singer in the Armenian Agop Agopian and the more immediately appealing intimacies of the Nuns of St Ehrentraud Abbey, Nonnberg, Salzburg presumably comes about because they are accompanied by an organ. The Choir of the Pius X School of Music are more romanticised in their delivery – High School and college girls with organ accompaniment – even though they are a little dimly recorded. The expressive potential is firmly established in the Common Preface: Missale Romanum where the tonal purity is most impressive. Only three 78 sides of actual chant were made by the Escolania and monks of Montserrat Abbey directed by David Pujol but they are more than sufficient to establish their authority – despite the wear on the discs and the big echo - because there is gravity and warmth in equal measure. I was also greatly taken by some of c.1929 recordings of the Dortmund Municipal Conservatory Choir – another mixed choir – and although Jerome Weber calls them business-like I have to say I have admiration for the way they sing the Kyrie VIII (5) LU37b – quite refined, elegant and whilst not affecting, enjoyable.

All texts are printed, full recording details produced where definitively known; a bibliography outlines sources of further study. Weber, an acknowledged leader in the field who has written the definitive discography amongst other things, is lucid and historically helpful without parading his expertise. The rarity value of some of this material is clear and its continued utility to gauge contemporary performance practice of Gregorian Chant is considerable. In addition the discs are responsibly presented and attractive.

Jonathan Woolf

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