© Nemo Studios
"Masters Of Chant Volume VIII"
May 08 - 14, 2022
Year of Release: 2011
Pride (In The Name Of Love)/
White Snow Interlude
The Thorns Interlude
Late Fall Interlude
Liberty Bell Interlude
Streets Of Philadelphia/
Anything But Love
Love Beats Anything/
Sleeping In August
Wake Me Up When
Very Pretty Interlude
Everything Is Beautiful/
The Oasis Interlude
Honey Bees Interlude
In The Morning/
River Of Life
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Gregorian Chant -- Gregorian Chant, monophonic, or unison, litugrical music of the Roman Catholic Church, used to accompany the text of the mass and the
canonical hours, or divine office. Gregorian chant is named aftger St. Gregory I, during whose papacy (590-604) it was collected and codified.
Why was Gregorian Chant important? -- Gregorian Chant had a significant impact on the development of medieval and Renaissance music. Modern staff
notation devevloped directly from Gregorian neumes. The square notation that had been devised for plainchant was borrowed and adapted for other kinds of music.
Gregorian - The Band -- Gregorian is a German band headed by Frank Peterson that performs Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs.
The band features both vocal harmony and instrumental accompaniment. They competed in Unser Lied für Stockholm the German national selection for the Eurovision
Song Contest 2016 with the song "Masters of Chant." They paced 5th in the first round of the public voting, missing the top 3. They gained 9.06% of the public vote.
Originally, Gregorian was conceived as a more pop-oriented group in the vein of
Enigma. Under this concept, Peterson together with Matthias Meissner and
Thomas Schwarz, recored the 1991 album Sadisfaction, with lead vocals provided by The Sisters of Oz. Susana Espelleta (Peterson's wife at the time) and Birgit Freud.
However, this was the only album by the trio in that style. In 1998, Peterson and his team of Jan-Eric Kohrs, Michael Soltau and Carsten Heusmann re-invented the
project to perform popular songs in the Gregorian style. The criteria for song selection were strict; in order to be considered, a song needed to be translatable
into the 7-tone scale. For each album, songs were carefully chosen in addition to original songs by Jan-Eric Kohrs, Amelia Brightman and Carsten Huessman. Twelve
vocalists - previously acclaimed session and choir singers - were then hired to record the tracks. Each Greogrian album was initially digitally tracked at Nemo
Studios, Peterson's Hamburg studio. The vocalists then record their parts in a church atmosphere with dimmed lights and candles, in order to escape what Peterson
referred to a 2001 interview as the "cold and technical" studio atmosphere.
From the title that they provided for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, Masters Of Chant, the band Gregorian would release 10 volumes, using that
songtitle name, as well as other titled albums, including Christmas. This week, Gregorian debuts on the WSVNRadio website, with their 8th volume, Masters Of Chant
Volume VIII or ∞ Masters Of Chant ∞ For Volume 8, Gregorian provides their Chant versions of songs by U2, Peter Gabriel, Bette Midler, Gwen
Stefani, The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Oasis, Barry Gibb, Rush, and Bryan Adams. Three originals are also on this volume; one by Frank Peterson &
Jan-Eric Kohrs, the other two by Amelia Brightman. Also included are short interludes at the end of each track. A blend of beautiful Classical-sounding pieces.
Creating the well-known Pop/Rock songs into beautiful Gregorian/Classical renditions, it brings a whole new dimension to these popular songs. U2's
"Pride (In The Name Of Love) / "White Snow Interlude", Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain" / "The Thorns Interlude" have a beautiful,
Classical feel. Bette Midler's "The Rose" / "Late Fall Interlude" certainly has a more definitive Monk/Church atmosphere. (Where Peterson
stated in his interview - The vocalists then record their parts in a church atmosphere with dimmed lights and candles, in order to escape from the "cold and
technical" studio atmosphere. - Makes sense.
Gwen Stefani's "Early Winter" / "Animal Interlude" is a song I am not familiar with; it was from her 2006 album, The Sweet Escape.
The musical style has a more Pop feel than Classical. Yet the calm and soothing vocals (heard throughout this album), is where it matches the Gregorian sound.
And the soothing vocals gets the attention on another (more) Pop sounding/Gregorian version of The Killers' "Human" / "Liberty Bell Interlude."
Bruce Springsteen's "Streets Of Philadelphia" / "Anything But Love Interlude" definitely gives a whole different dimension than the
original. The vocalist's sings perfectly, and accented. The sound is definitely Gregorian. Unique. Creative. Beautiful.
What makes Volume VIII more entertaining are original songs, in the Gregorian Chant style. This is definite, with Frank Peterson & Jan-Eric Kohrs' Love
Beats Anything" / "Sleeping In August Interlude." Just plain Beautiful has Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" / Very Pretty
Interlude." Again, it's the soothing vocals, likewise the music, that makes the song. Just Plain Beautiful.
The second (of three) originals is the next track - Ameilia Brightman's "Everything Is Beautiful" / "The Oasis Interlude" -- A great sound, of
both Classical and Gregorian. (And when I first saw the title "Everything In Beautiful," I thought it would be Ray Stevens' popular song of the same title.
Stevens' version would also have been a good song in Gregorian Chant style here.
Oasis' "Wonderwall" / "Honey Bees Interlude" is beautifully crafted in Gregorian style - another impressive version, giving the Oasis
classic, a new dimension in sound. Upon researching the next song, "In The Morning" / Russian Interlude," it was written by Barry Gibb, of the Bee Gees.
It was written in 1965, and would appear on a compilation of unreleased songs from the Bee Gees, Inception/Nostalgia. Not familiar with the Barry Gibb/Bee
Gees version, Gregorian still creates their unique Gregorian style on it. Likewise, the next track is a song by a well-known band, but the song not so familiar --
Rush's "Bravado" / "Heavenly Interlude." "Bravado" was originally from Rush's 2004 album, Roll The Bones. Gregorian's version
has a more Pop feel.
Bryan Adams' "Heaven" / Flowing Interlude" is another beautifully crafted version, as it has a more Church-like atmosphere. Beautiful vocals,
and orchestration. Ending the album is the third original, by Amelia Brightman - "River Of Life". It has a more Pop feel, yet the soothing Gregorian
vocals keeps it in line.
A great assortment of Classical music (especially on the ending interludes), Classical music does blend well with the Gregorian vocals on the well-known
Pop/Rock songs, and the three originals. Each song is done well. The standouts would have to be Bette Midler's "The Rose," Bruce Springsteen's "Streets
Of Philadelphia," Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends," Oasis' "Wonderwall," and Bryan Adams' "Heaven."
For a different approach in your common Pop/Rock and today's most common music in general - Rap/Hip-Hop, Gregorian brings a whole new meaning to well-known
popular songs, in Gregorian Chant style. Their Masters Of Chant series gives a refreshing look at how popular songs can bring a different atmosphere in sound.
Gregorian music may or may not be for all, but it defines a unique style of its own, when it comes to Gregorian versions of popular songs.
Give Gregorian a try -- It's soothing, beautiful sounds. And for those who enjoy the original Pop/Rock songs here, it'll bring a new meaning in how creative
these songs can be recorded in a different way. It's a different sound in music, indeed. And a great getaway from the common sounds you're familar with.
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