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Gregorian Chants for the Festal Celebrations of the Virgin Martyrs and Our Lady of Sorrows
This first in a series of Women in Chant CDs marked the first full Gregorian Chant album to be recorded by a choir of American Benedictine nuns. The response of the public to this CD was immediate and overwhelmingly positive, revealing the deep hunger in today's world for the ancient music of the Chant.
1 Bells of Jesu Fili Mariæ
2 Orante Sancta Lucia Play segment (0:25)
3 Jesu Corona Virginum Play segment (0:41)
4 Columna Es Immobilis
5 Regem Virginum Dominum
6 Dilexisti
7 Annulo Suo
8 Matins Lesson
9 Amo Christum
10 Ecce Quod Concupivi
11 Me Exspectaverunt
12 Quinque Prudentes
13 Valerianus Play segment (0:41)
14 Adjuvabit Eam
15 Virgo Gloriosa
16 Confundantur
17 Benedico Te
18 Viriginis Proles
19 Paganorum
20 Gaudeamus Play segment (0:39)
21 Stabat Mater
22 Nolite Me Considerare
23 Kyrie, Pater Noster, Collect, Blessing by the Abbess
24 Regina Cæli

As a women's community we wanted to choose music that reflected what we in our own way are actually trying to live. We found our models in the the Virgin Mary and the Virgin Martyrs, whose music is anthologized here for the first time. Mary, Mater Dolorosa, the Mother of Sorrows who stands at the foot of the cross, will always represent the highest example of consecrated feminine love, love that can go to the limits of suffering for the beloved. With Mary as their model, many courageous women of the 3rd and 4th centuries left family, status and wealth, risking torture and even death to claim the right to follow Christ. Such women were the Virgin Martyrs: St. Lucy, St. Agnes, St. Cecilia and St. Agatha. These young women, who dared to love Christ as their spouse, also loved particular human people - their mothers and sisters, friends, husbands, townsfolk and even their persecutors. Their music reflects this complex mixture of innocence, passion, courage and love. A biography of each saint is included in the CD booklet.

The making of Women in Chant: The Virgin Martyrs reflects the gifts of many dedicated professionals working together in collaboration, most especially Dr. Theodore Marier, conductor, and Mr. Tom Pomposello, producer. Dr. Marier, who worked with the Abbey Choir for over 30 years, was internationally recognized as one of the world's Masters of Gregorian Chant. He brought all his gifts as Chant scholar, instructor, and director to this recording, for which he worked closely with Grammy award-winning Producer, Tom Pomposello. A celebrated Blues guitarist and music historian, Tom realized with Women in Chant his long-standing dream to bridge the gap between secular and sacred music.

The distinctive sound of the choir, directed by Reverend Mother David Serna, O.S.B., then Prioress and now the Abbess, embodies the spirituality at the heart of the Regina Laudis Community. Its single corporate voice is made up of many voices that nevertheless retain their own warmth and individuality. The same principle of corporate participation informs the other aspects of the production as well. The 48-page booklet, containing photographs of the abbey and a brief description of its history was written and designed by the nuns. The Latin texts of the Chant pieces with original translations by members of the community are also included.

The CD ends with the Blessing of the late Reverend Mother Benedict Duss, O.S.B., first Abbess and Foundress of Regina Laudis. For this booklet she granted an unprecedented interview to Tom Pomposello entitled "Why Gregorian Chant?" Anyone who cares about Chant will want to read her direct and intimate reflections gained from 50 years of contemplative experience:

You are singing the praise of God, the Word of God that originated in the Holy Spirit. You are not the author, only the medium, a corporate medium. So you take in the Word and possess it in order to release it. You have to be really at peace in order to do that successfully. When I hear the Chant, I hear people at peace together.
Rev. Mother Benedict Duss, O.S.B., Abbess Emerita