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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger

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Missa Gregoriana
Gregorian Chant
Creator Alme Siderum (Introitus) [2:31]
Gaudete [4:26]
Kyrie Im 5. Ton (Kyrie) [2:06]
Gloria Im 5. Ton (Gloria [3:13]
Graduale: Viderunt Omnes (Epistula) [0:44] 
Halleluja: Vidimus Stella (Evangelium) [2:20]
Marianische Antiphon Der Quadragese: Ave Regina Caelorum [1:41]
Improperia: Popule Meus [9:00]
Sequenz: Victimae Paschalis Laudes [2:04]
Hymnus: Ad Christum Regem [4:13]
Terra Tremuit (Offertorium) [1:27]
Sanctus Im 5. Ton (Sanctus) [1:50]
Agnus Dei Im 5. Ton (Agnus Dei) [1:32]
Pascha Nostrum (Communio) [1:34]
Hymnus: A Solis Ortus Cardine (Ite Missa Est) [5:04]
Hymnus Eclesiae
Hochfest Christi Himmelfahrt (Viri Galilaei) [3:05]
Hochfest Der Pentecoste, Hymnus (Veni Creator Im 8. Ton)  [3:40]
Hochfest Des Pentecoste, Introitus (Spiritus Domini)  [3:12]
Fest Der Aufnahme Maria In Den Himmel (Signum Magnum) [3:02]
Fest Maria Geburt (Solemnitas) [2:46]
Marianische Antiphon (Salve Regina) [1:58]
Magnificat [4:06]  
cantArte Regensburg/Hubert Velten
Compilation dated 2005 from earlier recordings probably by Bayerischen Rundfunk (no date) DDD 5.0 Surround
CAPRICCIO SACD 71051 [65:36]




There’s a lot of guesswork attached to this review. Not only is the date of the recording absent but there are no notes about the music and nothing about the performers. The sung words are only present in Latin and German and the only substantial piece of information is about the (very successful) surround processing applied to the presumably stereo original recording.

A search on the web produced no information about cantArte except that they made this CD. The obvious sound quality changes between tracks imply a splicing together of this so-called Festive Gregorian Mass from various tapes. Microphone placement obviously changes, as does the pitch, sometimes quite horribly. Tuning throughout is very suspect.

As for the music, let us start by making it clear that there is no such work as the “Missa Gregoriana” (except a pair of very obscure works by Hermann Schroeder (1957) and by Albe Vidaković (1946)). What is presented here is a series of 15 items that may or may not belong in the same work. As noted already, they certainly did not come from the same recording sessions. Indeed the very concept of  these as musical works is in doubt. The second half of the disc, a group of Hymnus Eclesiae  is at least more honestly presented as separate pieces. Unlike the notes, the text, given here in the “original” Latin and in German, comes from very early in church history, probably validated around the time of Pope Gregory II (715-731) thus “Gregorian”. The melodies were passed down from user to user over the centuries by ear, there is no reason to assume that this game of ecclesiastical Chinese whispers was any more reliable that that of the modern playground. Some scholars, according to Grove, have even suggested it was re-improvised annually. Your reviewer was intrigued to discover that the last place to accept Gregorian chant in its most recent form was Rome which had its own chant forms until the 11th century. One could go on, but what a pity all this fascinating stuff was not in the notes, and I fully acknowledge my debt to James W. McKinnon’s article Gregorian Chant in Grove Online (accessed 21-08-05).

Lacking any clear statement from Capriccio’s producer as to why exactly this has been anthologised as it has, my overall assessment is that this is a nice spacious recording of uncomfortable singing of melodies which all sound very similar. The similarity may well be a consequence of critical ignorance, but the singing is too sour for me to settle in, thus my assessment is: Medieval wallpaper – don’t bother.

Dave Billinge



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