Tag Archives: Switzerland

[85] Benedictine Monks of St Maurice and St Maur – Salve Regina

21 Nov

Dull voices droning on in dull unison for almost an hour.  No passion, no excitement, no thank you.

Gregorian Chant

Gregorian Chants

I have heard Gregorian Chant before – it was hard to avoid it for a while there in the late 80s and early 90s.  Someone made it “cool” in the New Age revival and this sound was all over the radio, TV advertisements, even the pop charts.

It was never a sound that inspired me, but I was more than prepared to give Tom Moon the benefit of the doubt.  After all much of this entire process has been about experiencing the very best of genres I do not know or perhaps even especially like.

And as with all of the albums I find myself unable to recommend, I listened again and again, in every setting and situation I could think of, trying to find an angle, a hook, anything to grasp on to.

I never did find one.

My problem is not that this is clearly religious music.  Even such an Openly Secular individual as I can be moved by religious music (see Missa Solemnis . . .)  For good or ill, religion can provoke strong emotion, and strong emotion is meat and drink to most of the best music.  But in reaching for serenity, the monks here are as far from any emotion as they can be.

I hate pretty much every moment.

Sometimes Electronica or Minimalism removes passion for effect, but in each case the passion is replaced with something, perhaps cerebral or intellectual.  But these chants appear to be reaching for nothingness, for white noise.

I’d rather listen to actual silence.

In the past, when dealing with a Tom Moon selection that I am not enjoying, I research.  I learn the historical importance, the social and musical context.  It is a measure of my frustration with the mediocrity I feel I am hearing here that I cannot summon the desire to care.

It’s just not engaging enough, accomplished enough, interesting enough, flat-out not good enough for me to care why someone might think it important.

There is music I like to drift away to, sounds of contemplation and reflection.  This recording will never join those albums.

It may well be the first recording in the 1,000 I will never listen to again . . .

Next week:  Tony Bennett and Bill Evans – The Tony Bennett-Bill Evans Album

Owned before blogging? No. (9 of 85 = 11%)
Heard before blogging? No. (12 of 85 = 14%)
Recommend? No. (68 of 85 = 80%)

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Guest Blogger Todd Michael Rogers: Benedictine Monks of St. Maurice and St. Maur – Salve Regina

17 Nov

I have met some fascinating, brave and talented people over the internet.
Todd is more all of the above than most.

—–

There is honesty in truth.

The song skips as the computer bogs.

Lyrics can change.

Shapes melt over time.

reverb against stone. honest words and echoes.

*

change is inevitable.

repetition is remembrance is forget

cry out until others join

*

a crash of waves

maps are made by man

true shapes cannot be understood

amen. hallelujah.

*

ageless voice
cassette warble.
this song is only three minutes old.
echoes are new to those who just hear them.

it ain’t so bad.

*

\ˌa-do-ˈro Tə\

To sit in the middle of a garden of rocks, before the sun rises, waiting for them to hatch.

Amen.

*
interlude:

These works have been sung since 1218, traditionally as the last song of the day, and share a title with the last prayer of the rosary. They were composed in the middle ages by a crippled monk named Hermann, who was left at age seven to rot in a monastery. The last of his shapes remain in Germany, held tight after his death and kept safe from decomposition as the world changed around them for seven hundred years. The songs force an honesty on the listener. Music is just shapes of waves, changing.

*

There are eleven short hymnal tracks after the first five movements. The last dying prayers before the end. Change is inevitable, the record will end and the shape of what the songs meant will change as I walk away from them.

I choose to walk away now, halfway through the recordings. Not a popular choice for a reviewer, but the songs now mean something to me. I am afraid anything else might change them again. If I still believe they are treasures and not stones, I will keep them longer.

I don’t think I would have chosen to end it like this, I think the record had an effect on me.

Shapes change in the light, truth can be seen with honesty. With truth comes change.

Do give it a listen.

—–

Todd Michael Rogers is an American game designer.  He is the creator of Spell Saga, as well as a founding member of French Toast Gaming Co.

A former sketch comic turned aspiring novelist, Todd has been designing games since he was six years old.  He is married to a poet named Meagen Crawford. They live in Nashville with a dog named Ellie.

Spell Saga is a tabletop novel – a solo cardgame combining the best parts of your favorite novel and that video game you almost completed – and is available to preorder along with all kinds of extra content here.

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