Discovering Langlais

Professor Ann Labounsky, a great interpreter of Langlais and Tournemire, is celebrating her 50th anniversary at Duquesne University by offering her recordings of Jean Langlais as a gift, a collection of performances spanning over 20 years and seven great organs. The blind composer, with whom Dr. Labounsky studied in the 1960s, drew inspirations from Breton airs, French noels, and of course Gregorian chant.

This performance of the Te Deum from his “Trois paraphrases grégoriennes” (as early as Opus 9!) is from 2009, at the closing Mass of that year’s Sacred Music Colloquium, in the Madonna della Strada chapel at Loyola Chicago University:

New from CMAA: Método completo de canto gregoriano


The newest book from CMAA is a companion to one that we have carried for years. Alongside the English edition of Dom Gregorio Suñol’s chant instruction book Gregorian Chant according to the Solesmes Method, we now have the same book in the original language, Spanish, as Método completo de canto gregoriano.

Dom Suñol, a monk of the abbey at Montserrat and the president of the Pontifical Academy of Sacred Music in Rome, wrote his chant teaching book in 1905, and for years it was expanded in numerous editions and translated into several languages. This new offering is a reprint of the eighth Spanish edition, from 1943.

The book is a thorough and methodical presentation based on the Solesmes method, which he praised in these words:

My teaching, I can say, is not mine. The school of Solesmes has served the Church so magnificently, restoring her chant to her, authentic, beautiful, serious, and suited to her holiness; it burst forth one day by inspiration of the Holy Spirit from the hearts of her most enlightened sons.

Black Friday Savings on CMAA reprint books

Our partner for print-on-demand books, Lulu, is offering 30% off purchases made this weekend: that is, from November 27 to 30, 2020, so a lot of CMAA’s reprint editions will be available at a great price; just use the coupon code BFCM30 at Lulu’s checkout:

Chant editions:

Music instruction

More books about Gregorian Chant

We even have one more instructional book coming out soon! I’ll announce it as soon as I inspect the proof copy that’s in the mail on its way to me, but I wanted to give you this note about the ones already available.

“Introduction to Liturgical Mystagogy”

This evening Deacon Daniel Galadza gave the first in a series of lectures on Eastern Catholic theology, and spoke about the ways in which the Byzantine liturgy includes commentary on itself, with sung elements that instruct the faithful about the meaning of the rite while it is happening.

A fine example of this is the “Cherubic Hymn”, sung as the priest begins the offertory procession called the “Great Entrance”.

We who mystically represent the Cherubim
and sing the thrice-holy Hymn
to the life-giving Trinity,
let us lay aside all earthly cares
that we may welcome the King of all,
invisibly escorted by angel hosts, alleluia.

Dr. Galadza, associated with St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic Church near Toronto, was a prime mover behind 2019’s “SingCon” practicum for Ukrainian Catholic musicians, which was also reported here at Chant Café.

The talk begins at about 15 minutes into this video, prefaced by an introduction to the Chicago-based Lumen Christi Institute, which is presenting the series; and by a prayer for the late Fr. Paul Mankowski, SJ, a scholar in biblical languages and a friend of the Institute; I remember him for his contribution to pro-life efforts during his studies in Boston, and I commend him also to your prayers.

Upcoming: Anthony Esolen on music and Catholicism

Photo: screenshot of interiew with IL Family Institute, via youtube

The Institute for Catholic Culture, a fine adult-education program based in Virginia, is presenting a lecture soon about the state of music in the Catholic Church in the U.S. On Tuesday, September 15, the poet and translator Prof. Anthony Esolen (Magdalen College) will speak on “Music and the Corruption of Catholicism“.

Dr. Esolen has written before on music and Catholic life. His book Real Music: a Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church includes a demonstration CD produced by one of the admirable choirs of St. john Cantius parish in Chicago. And for a sample of Dr. Esolen’s thinking on classic hymns, here’s an article from 2018 in Crisis Magazine.

The lecture on September 15 is to be streamed with live video starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, and registration is required.

Charles Cole on The World Over

Charles Cole, director of the London Oratory Schola Cantorum, was interviewed by EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo this week concerning singing in the time of the Coronavirus. He is doing important work in getting choirs to sing again.

CMAA President William Mahrt tells us that Charles is working with a committee of the CMAA to establish a statement of what needs to be done, as an answer to the negative statement of the NATS and the ACDA.

Casavant 2793 plays again

The Saint Anne Shrine Preservation Society, a lay association working to preserve and fully reopen the former Dominican shrine in Fall River, Massachusetts, took a step forward this week when they presented a organ recital on the Shrine’s Casavant, Opus 2793.

Matthew Dion, a organ student at Oberlin, has been working with organist and organ builder Bro. Roger Chingas, FSC, to tune and make some minor repairs to the organ, which had been largely idle and unmaintained since the upper church was closed in 2015. The instrument was dedicated in 1964 with a recital by Jean Langlais, and one of the works from that program was included in this week’s recital.

A few days ago Dion recorded these pieces, and they were streamed with live introductions on Tuesday. Times within the video are indicated, with links to the works.

6:32: L.N. Clérambault: Grand plein jeu from the Suite du 1. Ton

12:29: François Couperin: an excerpt from the Messe pour les Couvents

15:09: Louis Marchand: Grand Dialogue

26:32: Percy Fletcher: Fountain Reverie

31:07: J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in a minor

43:50: Jean Langlais: Trois méditations sur la Sainte Trinité: 1. Le Père

48:23: Jean Langlais: Pasticcio

54:40: Louis Vierne: Clair de lune from the 24 Pièces de Fantaisie

1:03:20: Jean Langlais: Te Deum from the Trois Paraphrases Grégoriennes

The full concert video is available here.

(Photo credit: by Kenneth C. Zirkel, via Wikimedia)

PS: I updated this post on July 31 to credit Brother Chingas, whose name I first omitted. Sorry for the lapse! Congratulations to him and Matthew Dion on the fine sound their work produced.