- Exsultabunt omnia, antiphon (Corpus antiphonalium Officii, No. 2811)
The Fraternity is the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, which operates and is resident at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, located in Denton, Nebraska, in farm country southwest of Lincoln. The Fraternity focuses on the singing of Gregorian chant (they sing four times a day), and has released several albums. Requiem marks their debut on the major Sony label, and you can easily hear the distinctive traits that attracted executives there. The first is simply that the group is American; most of the best-selling chant albums in the past have come from European monasteries. A second trait is that the singers are young; the bright timbre of the singing contrasts with the thick sound of older monks. For a third, and perhaps the most important, the texts of the requiem pieces the group uses are reproduced in the booklet. Chant is not presented as a mystical realm, but as a living tradition that the listener is invited to contemplate along with the singers. Fourth, those singers are perhaps 70 strong, and they are at a very high level musically. And finally, the mass blooms into polyphony at the end, with pieces by Palestrina and Martini in a convincing way. In short, this is a chant album that lives up to its promise to compete effectively with those already on the market. Sample, if you wish, the sequence "Dies irae," one of the most famous pieces of chant there is, and hear the sense of engagement in this performance.