Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
Dat panis coelicus
figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis!
Manducat Dominum.
Pauper, servus et humilis

The angelic bread
becomes the bread of men;
The heavenly bread
ends all prefigurations:
What wonder!
a poor and humble servant
consumes the Lord

Songs like Panis Angelicus and Pie Jesu are a good way to learn a little Latin. It’s much more fun than a dry textbook and because Latin is the root of the Romance (Rome) languages like French, Italian and Spanish, you can also get a little education in those tongues as well.

Bread (panis) in French is Pain, in Spanish is Pan and in Italian is pane.
Angelicus is not hard to figure out in any language.

My musical suggestion this time is...

Libera, Angel Voices

If you only buy one Libera CD I thnk it should be Libera, Angel Voices.
The Saint Philips Boy’s Choir recorded three albums, Angel Voices, Angel Voices 2 and Angel Voices 3 so it can be a little confusing if you’re just exploring Libera‘s music, but this is the CD with the white cover that has Liam, Josh, Tom, Michael and Ed on the front. It is also the CD that made me into a Libera fan.
The refrain in the song Far Away always gives me goose bumps and I still smile every time they really go high on the song Sanctus.
Every song on here is excellent and I just don’t seem to get tired of hearing them.

No one else sounds like Libera. They are so unique and original that I’ve never heard anyone describe them accurately so I’m not even going to try, but if anyone else wants to take a stab at it, please feel free to tell us.
The thing that puzzles me most about Libera is why they are not more well known.


  1. Not gonna try describing the Libera sound, either (other than "gorgeous," "amazing," etc.!). But, their distinctive sound may actually work against them, in a way. Because they don't have that "traditional" boy-choir sound, many "purists" won't even give them a serious listen...and, I'd have included myself in that group. Too much electronic gim-crackery, too many "new age-y" effects...But, when you DO listen, and hear the exceptional voices being blended by lovely arrangements, they are absolutely wonderful.

    While I still prefer the more "traditional" boy-choir sound (and, particularly, the sound of a mixed, men-and-boys choir), Libera is right up there in my personal list of "favorites."


  2. The appeal and magic of Libera is their relaxed passion for singing and their ability to draw their audience into that same passion. How do they do it? If that could be explained it wouldn't be magic. I doubt if even they know.

  3. Hello,
    I have different versions of that piece. Even the one by Saint Philips Boys Choir.
    My choice would be Pontus Lindqvist for his very fantastic voice or the last recording by Andrew Johnston.

  4. I learned Latin almost entirely via chant and church prayers--although ecclesiastical Latin isn't really 'practical,' in a sense...

    The Requiem Mass's order is a good way to meet Latin for the first time, ironically! That and the Order of the Mass itself.

    And I wholeheartedly agree about your CD choice--the studio AV is probably the best all-around way to meet Libera for the first time; an unbeatable, balanced cross section of their rep and membership...