Ave Maria Gregorian Chant
This is a remastering of a set of recordings made 40 years ago at Silos, under the direction of Dom Pedro Alonso. The impact on the listener is considerable: an impression of youth and fine training. Silos is a daughter house of Solesmes: one would expect the style to be similar to that of the mother house, and indeed, this is ‘Old Solesmes’ in all its power and beauty, with expressive rise-and-fall phrasing and softened peaks. It moves along firmly and confidently, sung by strong, young Spanish voices. At that time Silos had a large schola of 20 young monks, a number of whom had been educated in the monastery and had sung the chant since the age of ten. The schola was further strengthened, for the full sections, by an additional group of 40 choir monks. The ensemble is not always perfect, but if these are not professional singers, they are, and they sound like, truly professional monks.
The repertoire consists mainly of short medieval pieces in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a selection popularized, in France in particular, through two Solesmes publications, Cantus Mariales and Cantus Selecti.
The booklet gives full Latin texts, with elegant English translations by Fr Denis Bradley. The three articles, on the history of the monastery and of the recording and on monasticism, are less happy in their English versions: incidentally, Rodolfo Weinhausen has fallen into one familiar trap, the confusing of the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth.'