• Audio CD (November 22, 2010)  ($14 to $17)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca Records
  • ASIN: B003VWDP1U

Note: The Nuns sing in Latin, in a style known as Gregorian chant.
Each song (track) is also available as an MP3 download for $0.99

The singers are cloistered Nuns (they have no contact with the outside world). Specifically they are Benedictine Nuns, they live their lives following the 6th century Rule of St. Benedict. One of the most important rules in the Rule of St. Benedict is to pray, pray at daily Mass and to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. So these Nuns sing their prayers to the Lord, seven times during the day, and once at night. Prayers of worship, thanksgiving, repentance, petition and especially praise.  Their prayers are sung, with voices that are not digitally enhanced with tricks like auto-tune, but sung with hearts that are in love with the Loving God that created them. On this album their voices do shine with a beauty that can not come from a performance that was scheduled, booked, rehearsed and then sold for the price of a ticket.

It is also worth noting that these Nuns were selected by the recording company (Decca records) as the winners of a world wide search for the best talent in Gregorian Chant. They are blessed by God with some beautiful talent.  At first listen to this CD, the music was nice, but…, it took a while of repeated listening until the music grew on me (and in me).

The beauty I hear in these voices is not just from some outstanding God-given talent, but from something more. This something more is the beauty of “what” the voices sing about, a love of God that comes from a deep, personal relationship with Jesus in the Holy Trinity, and a relationship with fellow sisters in the Benedictine Community of Avignon, France.  This beauty is not only the notes, but within the notes and within the hearts of those who pray these ancient songs of love, sung to the One Creator who is beyond ancient.

Do I like every song on the album? No, a few are what I would call “OK”. Do I love every voice I hear on the album? No, a few are what I would consider “fine”.  I do love many of them, but that is not the point of this album. This album is as much about what the nuns are singing as the quality of the voices. Take for instance track 1. The song is actually Psalm 95 [94], “Come let us praise the Lord with joy…”. To be perfectly blunt about this: I do not believe that I have ever heard more beautiful lyrics in a song than these. The songs on this recording are almost all from the Bible: Note: the numbering of the Psalms follows the Greek (Latin Vulgate) system.
Psalm 43:23-26, Lamentations 5:1-11,  Psalm 59:4,6,  Jeremiah 18:20,  Luke 24:46,
Luke 24:35,  John 6:52,  Psalm 30:3-4,   Psalm 30:15-16,   1 John 2:3-4,  Luke 24:32,
Luke 1:46-55,  Philipp. 2:8-9,  Psalm 117:16-17,  Psalm 116,  Daniel 3:52-56

There are two tracks with just church bells, these are the old type bells, typically found in European churches and not in American churches.  The bells represent two different things to me.  First is a simple calling. As in the days of old, hundreds of years ago when people did not own watches or even clocks, the bells of the Church called people to Holy Mass. So these two bell tracks, are a calling to pray. The other meaning is that a great event has happened and the bells announce this event. What is this “great event” ? (See the next paragraph…)

After thinking and praying about this album I have come to the conclusion that to truly understand these women and their music, one must understand the religious order that they belong to.  The full name of the order is: “The Benedictine Nuns of Notre-Dame De L’Annonciation”. In English this would be the Nuns of Our Lady of the Annunciation.  So to understand this title, read and pray with the words of the Archangel Gabriel in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1: Jesus has come into the world to forgive us of our sins, and to bring us to everlasting life. So ring the church bells as loud as possible, to announce the “Good News”.

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