Format: Audio CD
Recorded at: The Pontifical North American College (Vatican City)
The choir produces fine blend and diction...the men sing with great sincerity, expressiveness, and stylistic integrity.
Mr. Berry's effective harmonizations are based entirely on Duruflé's harmonic language.
Mr. Tharp's elegant well-conceived, evocative improvisations are likewise informed by the harmonic language of Duruflé's milieu.
As expected, his playing demonstrates the highest artistry, both as collaborator and soloist.
Review from The American Organist - March 2010
The CD includes a 32-page booklet.
There are essays on the seminary's history; fascinating chronicles on Duruflé's Mass and how this recording came to be; full text of all the Ordinary and Propers; dozens of recent and historic photos; and a full stop list of the seminary chapel's 66-rank 3-manual Mascioni Organ, Opus 630, built in 1953 and designed by Fernando Germani.
There are six improvisations by Stephen Tharp, including verses improvised in alternatim on Gloriosa dicta sunt de te, mode VIII, with the choir, as well as Processional and Sortie.
The chant accompaniments were written by Christopher Berry in the style of Duruflé.
The bells of the seminary are even included!
Included on Regina Immaculata
- Processional improvisation
- Antiphona ad introitum: Gaudens gaudebo mode III
- Ritus initiales
- Messe cum jubilo, Op.11 – Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)
- Reading I: Genesis 3:9-15,20
- Graduale: Benedicta es tu mode V
- Reading II: Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
- Alleluia, mode I; Verse, organ improvisation
- Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
- Meditation improvisation before the Credo
- Professio fidei: Credo III mode V
- Offertory: Organ improvisation on Ave Maria
- Oratio super oblata
- Messe cum jubilo
- Pater noster
- Messe cum jubilo
- Antiphona ad Communionem: Gloriosa dicta sunt de te mode VIII (eight verses, choir and organ improvisation in alternatim)
- Oratio post Communionem
- Ritus conclusionis
- Antiphona ad B. Mariam Virginem
- Sortie improvisation
Christopher Berry, Conductor
Stephen Tharp, Organist
Seminary Choir of the Pontifical North American College (Vatican City)
Comments by Joseph A. Vitacco, Proprietor of JAV Recordings and producer of this CD:
Christopher Berry and I are both Roman Catholics who believe the music used at the celebration of the Mass should be of the highest quality.
We chose Duruflé since he was one of the greatest Catholic composers who lived and loved the musical traditions of chant and wrote this Mass right after Vatican II.
It entirely quotes the ancient Cum jubilo Mass from the Kyriale which is used on Feasts of the Blessed Virgin.
We added the Propers for the Immaculate Conception not only because of the great devotion the Pontifical North American College has to Our Lady, but because that is the patronal feast of the College.
Duruflé's Mass is for baritone choir and is entirely based on Missa IX from the Kyriale (Cum jubilo).
Many of the seminarians who participated in this recording had never sung in a classical music ensemble.
They worked very hard with Christopher Berry to record an excellent product.
I hope they come away with a few things.
A group of amateur singers working with an excellent choir director with a lot of dedication and hard work on their part can produce a first rate performance of some of the greatest music written to praise God.
I hope this work by Duruflé as well as other excellent composers and the use of chant find their way into their priestly ministries.
The chants we selected were the Proper chants for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Aesthetic and harmonic unity was insured by Mr. Berry's composition of accompaniments for the Proper chants in the style and harmonic language of Duruflé.
Stephen Tharp's intention in the organ improvisations was to remain faithful to the language of Duruflé while incorporating ideas of other musical languages somehow connected to Duruflé.
This provided an immediately "French" sound to the improvisations without trying to copy any one composer, thus avoiding being a parody of anything or sounding like a cliché.
A bow to the Duruflé-style chant accompaniments and the Duruflé Messe was essential, yet there is the color of Vierne, Tournemire, Langlais, Fleury and others here and there, depending on the intensity needed at the appropriate liturgical moments.
The opening Processional and closing Sortie are slightly more forward and assertive, given their functions within the Mass.
It was a great honor to work with the Pontifical North American College to record and produce this recording.
The faculty, seminarians and staff were wonderful to work with.
This was my first trip to Italy and the Vatican; additionally seeing Pope Benedict XVI at his General Audience was inspiring.
Order #: 9030