Tuesday 25 July 2017


The Fraternity - Requiem - Sony
Requiem; The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter; Sony Classical / De Montfort Music
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Jul 12 2017
Star rating: 4.5

Chant from a traditional Requiem mass sung by a choir from a priestly body which specialises in this style of music

This is a most delightful disc from Sony Music, a complete plainchant Requiem Mass according to the Tridentine Rite sung by a group which sings this style of music regularly, the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. We get the complete chant from the mass, Antiphon: Exsultabunt Domino with Psalm 50, Responsory: Subvenite Sancti Dei, Introit, Kyrie, Gradual, Tract, Sequence, Offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Communion antiphon, Responsory: Liber Me, Antiphon: In Paradisum, Antiphon: Ego Sum plus Responsories from the Matins of the Office of the Dead, and concluding with two motets, Pie Jesu attributed to Palestrina, and Requiem Aeternam by Giovanni Battista Martini.

The CD booklet admirably documents what is being sung, and where it was recorded (Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Denton NE), but only tells us that the performers are a selection from The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. It fails to tell us when the disc was recorded or quite who The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is.

The recording is produced by De Montfort Music, and a visit to their website provides more information. The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is is a traditionalist Catholic society of apostolic life for priests and seminarians which is in communion with the Holy See. It was formed in 1988 by a group of traditionalist priests who wished to stay in communion with The Holy See following Archbishop Lebvre's consecrations performed against the explicit orders of Pope John Paul II. Traditionalist means that the use of the Latin mass in the pre-Vatican Council Tridentine Rite (a liturgy having its origins in Pope Pius V's Roman Missal which was promulgated in 1570), rather than the revised liturgy created by the Vatican Council.

Does all this matter?
Well it means that the singers on this disc have been trained in the traditional Roman Catholic rite (the Tridentine Rite) and use this regularly. It means that the members of this choir are singing the plainchant here from familiarity and usage. And it shows.

There is fluidness and sense of familiarity with the music, this is no performance rather it is simply what the men do, giving us the chant as a vehicle for devotion rather than as a musical performance. Yet the musical values are high, with a nice unanimity to the singing along with an expressive shapeliness to the phrasing. Individual voices can be slightly limited, but they come together to create something rather fine.

There is also a spiritual element, which comes out implicitly in the performance of the music. These are not choristers, for whom singing the music is a job, these are priests and seminarians for whom singing this music is part of an expression of their spirituality.

The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter
Recorded Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Denton NE.
Available from Amazon.

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