Gregorian chant: The Grandfather of music

Lately, Gloriæ Dei Cantores’ chant recordings have received a lot of favorable attention. We’re thrilled, of course—we view Gregorian chant as the beloved “grandfather” of all western music, and it provides the heartbeat of our monastic vocation. “Seven times a day will I praise thee,” says the psalmist, and we endeavor to join him faithfully through the Liturgy of the Hours. The fruits of this opus Dei—this work of God—are sweet indeed.

Now I know that not everyone views chant as the “full contact sport” that we tend to engage in here in our monastery by the bay. The CDs most of our customers hear in the peaceful setting of home, car, or office, with those clean, smooth lines and (hopefully!) unified voices are generally only achieved after a lot of mutual knocking off of corners and filing down of rough patches amongst the Schola members—a challenging process, but in the end, always a cause for gratitude. As regular folks, we have experienced the innumerable benefits of worshiping daily through this vibrant form of sung prayer—the experience of unity, the seeming secret language of prayer, the sparks of inspiration that occur when the critical mechanism of the mind takes a break and the heart opens.

We know we’re not alone in finding these sparks, because Gloriæ Dei Cantores sings a lot of other music—the early masters like Josquin and Palestrina, up through Bach, Mozart, Rheinberger, Brahms, Liszt, Faure, Vaughan Williams, and the list goes on—and we’re always excited to find that thread of Gregorian chant that has managed to weave its way through the music of the centuries, still living and breathing, into today’s choral music.

So if you’ve been reluctant to stray too far from the purity of chant, we invite you venture out into the other choral treasures that Gloriæ Dei Cantores has come to know and love—Gregorian chant’s great-great-grandchildren, if you will. It’s a lineage and heritage worth exploring.

The “Mechanics” of a recording

Recently Gabriel V Brass Ensemble traveled to Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts to record their next CD on the subjects of Fire and Ice.  Built in 19th century elegance, Mechanics Hall is an acoustical masterpiece – internationally regarded as one of the world’s great concert halls for its superb acoustics and inspirational beauty.”  (

Gabriel V spent many months in preparation for this next recording (usually practicing at 6am!).  It wasn’t difficult to wrap our hearts around the hymn-based arrangements – from the majesty of Finlandia, to Karl Jenkin’s breath-taking Benedictus, to images of England’s countryside in Variations on Down Ampney.  A number of anthems were penned by the ensemble’s own accomplished composers including Blaze, Fire and Ice, and Pentecost Fanfare – some thrilling stuff!

It was truly a privilege for us to have David Ohanian as one of our producers.  David played for years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops, and he was a founding member of the Empire Brass and member of the Canadian Brass from 1986-98.

Look for this new recording in the early spring!