Friday, July 31, 2009

I thought it was time to pay another visit to Downside Abbey and say ‘sup to the monks and choirboys. They have a CD from 2004 titled The Best Gregorian Chant Album In The World…Ever! I couldn’t let that claim pass without testing its veracity. Not that I’ve heard every Gregorian chant album in the world, but hey, how many can there be?

This is a two CD set but only the first disc is by Downside Abbey. The other disc is the St Dominic’s Priory Choir. Actually, track 4 on the first disc, Nos Autem, is by the Coro de Monjes Monasterio Benedictino de Santo Domingo de Silos. Never heard of them but their name is longer than their song.

For my taste this album could have had a lot more choirboys and fewer monks.
11 of the 17 songs from Downside Abbey are repeated from their other earlier CD Gregorian Moods so there are only 6 new ones.

The second disc by St Dominic’s has no boys at all that I can tell. It’s just all monks. The liner notes on this CD are of little help. It only lists the songs on each disc and doesn’t tell us anything about the choirs.

Anyone looking for treble voices would be better off with the first album from Downside Abbey, Gregorian Moods. Is this the Best Gregorian Chant Album In The World… Ever? I certainly hope not.

Personally I think the Enigma album MCMXC a.d. from back in 1992 is a lot more fun. It has some modernized Gregorian style chants and though it too has no boys’ voices I still listen to it often.


  1. The Monks do the chanting because that is the tradition. You will be hard pressed to find any Treble doing the actual chanting. They are used for background singing only. The only Soprano chanting that I have is on a 1976 album by Choeur Concinite de Louvain entitled "Palestrina - Les impropres du Vendredi Saint". This is a mixed choir so you are not sure what is a true Treble Voice. Seven of the 19 tracks are Gregorian chant.

  2. Wouldn't it be really cool though to hear boys doing Gregorian chants instead of men? I think it would be a fun and really pretty.
    I'm trying to get my 5-year-old nephew to learn to sing. Maybe he will learn Gregorian chants for me.