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Recent releases of plainchant

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2003


In the century of recorded interpretation of Gregorian chant, the introduction of a new choir director at the abbey of Solesmes might be considered a moment of the highest importance, though the event seems not to have been reported widely. After all, we have heard only Dom André Mocquereau in 1904 (admittedly directing French seminarians in Rome), Dom Joseph Gajard from 1930 to 1971, and Dom Jean Claire from 1972 to 1996. The début of Dom Richard Gagné as choirmaster is marked by a pairing of two feast-day Propers (no. 1 in the list below), followed by a collection of popular chants from Liber Cantualis (no. 2). It would take a sharp eye to notice on Dom Claire's last recording (1997, no. 1) that Dom Gagné was listed as assistant to Dom Claire. If Dom Claire's interpretations were lighter and quicker than Dom Gajard's, it may be equally true that Dom Gagné is still lighter and quicker. The familiar sound of the monks has not changed much, though Jean Allard, the engineer who has recorded all of the Solesmes discs (and those of several other monasteries as well) since the Decca era, has been succeeded by Igor Kirkwood, a familiar engineering presence on French recordings.

© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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