A news summary published in The Tablet by Madoc Cairns
Nuns at the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fidélité de Jouques are recording 7,000 hours of Gregorian chants in what is believed to be one of the largest projects ever conducted, if not the largest. This is an important contribution to religious and music history!
Fourty-five nuns between the ages of 22 and 45, at the Benedictine convent in Aix-en- Provence, in Southern France, are creating the recordings. The British newspaper The Guardian reports that the nuns are releasing the chants to help people relieve the stress of isolation as a result of self sheltering to prevent the spread of the pandemic coronavirus. In so doing, they are creating a significant contribution to preserving liturgical music, in my opinion. Meanwhile, the convent is closed to visitors during the pandemic.
Each day, the nuns begin to record with their Latin morning prayers. At the end of each day, their audio is uploaded to a remote drive without risking the sisters’ cloistered life rules. Recording all 7,000 chants will take three years, but the convent plans to launch an internet web application in summer of 2020, reports The Tablet. Also, the web application will allow for the audio to provide access to local translations of the Latin chants.
Gregorian chants originated in the 8th century and they are sung in religious monasteries throughout Europe, usually in Latin, but sometimes in other vernacular languages.
Merci beaucoup! In my view, these precious recordings will become musical relics, worthy to be cherished for eons.