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CD Review

Monks of the Desert

Blessings, Peace and Harmony

  • Alma Redemptoris
  • Salve Regina
  • Salve Mater
  • Sequence: Ave mundi spes Maria
  • Sequence: Stabat Mater dolorosa
  • Mass IV
  • Rorate caeli
  • Puer natus
  • Parce, Domine
  • Alleluia, O filii et filiae
  • Salve festa dies
  • Mass III
  • Alleluia, Confitemini
  • Alleluia, Vir Dei
  • Alleluia, lustus germinabit
  • Alleluia, De profundis
  • Alleluia, Paratum cor meum
Monks of the Desert
Sony Classical 88697-90204-2 65m DDD
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This hugely relaxing disc demonstrates that peace is still the most important part of our lives and without it everything becomes mundane and without meaning. The Monks of the Desert provide what can only be termed as utterly beautiful interpretations of the choral works selected here with the Mass proving particularly invigorating on all counts.

The Monks of The Desert observe a strict daily prayer schedule called Divine Office, or Opus Dei, which takes place seven times during the day and once at night, starting at 4:00am and ending at 7:30pm. When not praying or studying, the monks run a multitude of self-sustaining businesses including light manufacturing, brewing beer (Monk's Ale & Monk's Wit), an on-site "hotel" and community thrift store in Santa Fe and a separate retail store specializing in hand-crafted religious items, books, music, and folk art.

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is located completely "off-the-grid" in the stunning Chama Canyon wilderness in northwestern New Mexico, about 75 miles north of Santa Fe and 53 miles south of Chama. The solar-powered facility is surrounded by miles of government-protected wilderness, thus assuring and promoting solitude and quiet for the religious life experienced by men from several nations.

Blessings, Peace and Harmony compiles selections from the Monks' four independent recordings of Gregorian chant, and also features four new chants recorded expressly for this new collection. Named after Pope Gregory I, Gregorian chant involves the early Christian liturgical music that originated in medieval times and forms the roots of Western classical music. Consisting solely of melody, the chants are sung unaccompanied and generally by small choral groups--and through the ages have continuously supplied listeners of all circumstances with a soothing sense of solace.

Copyright © 2012 by Gerald Fenech.