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Taize Community
Christe Lux Mundi: Magnificat 3 [3: 04]; Cantarei ao Senhor [3:39] ; Behute mich, Gott [4:13]; Sit nomen Domini [3:37]; I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord [3:24]; Seigneur, tu gardes mon ames [3:21]; Viespatie, tu viska zinai [4:19]; Fiez-vous en Lui [3:19]; Canatate.... canticum novum [2:21]; Kyrie Eleison [3:30]; Frieden, Frieden [4:07]; Que j'exulte et jubile [4:06]; Christe lux mundi [3:50]; Dominus Spiritus est [3:07], Kristus, din Ande [3:54}; Bogoroditse Dievo 2 [2:34]
Details of performers not supplied.
rec. 2006 at the Village Church, Taize

This disc contains sixteen new songs from the Taize community in France. Apart from the last track, which is from the Russian Orthodox tradition, they were written by monks of the community. They are inspired by sections of the mass, and phrases from the Psalms. The Taize style is musically simple, relying on repetitive character to create a meditative and contemplative approach to prayer and devotion.
All the songs were recorded in the 12th century village church, which has a beautiful acoustic. Although the quality of the recording and the performance is excellent, the main interest of this disk is likely to be religious primarily rather then musical. It may be that, like discs of Gregorian Chant such as that from the Silos monastery, it will also appeal to listeners who enjoy its calm, peaceful and inspiring sound but who do not share the faith of those composing and recording the music. However it is explicitly Christian material and written with explicit religious purposes, which inevitably may limit its audience.
These songs are performed in a variety of languages: Latin, Portuguese, German, English, French, Polish, Greek and Russian. Those which are in unison throughout use one language but various languages are used in turn on the disc. There are six tracks in which an initial choral section is followed by portions for one or more soloists. In these, different languages are used in turn for different verses of the same song. These devices are intended to reflect the international nature of the community. Although this is an admirable sentiment, it can sometimes be distracting and personally I found it made a contemplative frame of mind more difficult to achieve.
There is also limited variation in tone and (the rather high) pitch through the disc. This may be partly to create a mantra-like sound-world. However, I actually found the most moving and beautiful track to be Kyrie Eleison (11); the only one in which there is a significant shift of pitch, either within the track or compared with the others on the disc.
Inevitably, listeners' view of this issue will be a matter of personal preference and perhaps depend upon their purposes in listening to this music. The same would apply to consideration as to whether this is the best introduction to Taize's music. Personally I would prefer either Ubi Caritas T558 (whose title track is quite widely known and sometimes used on Maundy Thursday) or Chants de la Prière à Taize T560 for this. For those who already know and like the Taize songs and chants, this may be welcome addition to and extension of the recorded repertoire. More details about the community, its work and its music can be found at the website.
Julie Williams




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