Sacred Music

An Introduction to Early Music

Copyright: 
1992
Publisher: 
Naxos of America
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This is a very beautiful, if eclectic recording of Gregorian Chant, Renaissance Polyphony and some miscellaneous "popular" tunes from numerous European countries (ranging from the 11th to the 17th century). Composers include Hildegard of Bingen, William Byrd, Giovanni da Palestrina and Josquin des Prez. An enclosed booklet gives brief biographies of these and other major composers of the time. I think this is a nice place to start for those unfamiliar with early music. Everyone at our house enjoyed the recording very much. You can listen to samples at the Naxos website.

Review Date: 
10-19-06
Reviewed by: 

Brightest and Best

Stories of Hymns
Book cover: 'Brightest and Best: Stories of Hymns'
Author(s): 
Fr. George Rutler
Copyright: 
1998
Publisher: 
Ignatius Press
Binding: 
Sewn Softcover
Number of pages: 
230 pages
Subject(s): 
Review: 

This book consists of a fine selection of favorite hymns, including musical notation, and rather detailed stories about the authors of the text, the composers of the music, giving the student a good idea of how and when the music came about. The author's purpose in writing the book "was to restore attention to some of the finest hymns, in the hope that they might replace the miserable afflictions that keep cropping up in ... "missalettes"... It seemed to me that hymns might be better appreciated if we knew a little more about the stories behind them: first of all, who wrote them and in what circumstances." (From the Introduction). Approximately 100 hymns are included. I'd like to note that the text of the hymns is often not the text that Americans today are most familiar with. There's a good reason for this. Over the years, the text of many hymns has been "simplified" which has often detracted from its meaning and significance. Fr. Rutler would like us to appreciate the songs as they were originally written.

What a wonderful Catholic resource for real music appreciation in the homeschool. What we give our children today in this realm may have a significant impact on turning back to more beautiful and reverent music in the future. Please note that there are some hymns that were not written by Catholics. Fr. Rutler explains in the introduction: "If the following selection of hymns joins to these great orthodox souls a Lutheran such as the war-ravaged Melchior Teschner ... this is testimony to the wonders God accomplishes through those who seek his goodness...some of these in their day wrote of doctrine more sturdily than [many of today's composers]."

Review Date: 
11-17-99

Lingua Angelica

Christian Latin Reading Course
Book cover: 'Lingua Angelica: Christian Latin Reading Course'
Author(s): 
Cheryl Lowe
Copyright: 
2001
Publisher: 
Memoria Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

There are several components of this Latin/Music Appreciation Program. Materials may be purchased individually or in sets, depending on where you purchase them from.

Song Book and Audio CD: A lovely, six voice polyphonic choir performs twenty-four Latin songs and hymns a capella (without accompaniment) on this professionally-recorded CD. Not only is this a beautiful way to present this type of music, but it also makes the music easier to learn for children and families. These songs represent some of the most beautiful musical treasures of the Church - from Gregorian Chant ( e.g. Mass of the Angels and Adoro Te ) to classic four-part hymns (e.g. Panis Angelicus and Stabat Mater). Singing can be a great component of your Latin curriculum. It aids pronunciation, provides additional (and fun) practice and helps students make connections to Latin used outside of class.

The CD alone is a wonderful complement to a Catholic education and a simple way to introduce your children to the beauty of our Catholic heritage. I found my two year old singing snatches of the Ave Maria when we had only listened to the CD a few times. The song book includes four part harmonies and extensive verses all written in modern musical notation (if you'd like the Gregorian Chant notation for the appropriate songs, you will find those in the Adoremus Hymnal). In addition to the more "serious" selections, this set also includes some fun-to-sing songs like the traditional German Student Song Gaudeamus Igitur.

Even on their own, the Lingua Angelica CD and Song Book will make an excellent addition your Latin curriculum, a beautiful component of family devotions and an excellent resource for music history and appreciation. The song book also includes historical notes on the songs and offers some related topics for further research. Every Catholic family - even those not yet studying Latin formally - will enjoy and benefit from this musical set.

Student Book and Teacher Manual (Level I): The first level Lingua Angelica text gently guides student and teacher through sixteen Latin prayers and songs through the study of vocabulary and grammar. While this is not intended as a complete Latin program in and of itself, it will reinforce grammar components learned elsewhere and help interconnect Latin studies with related subjects. Ideally, this supplement would be started once the student has completed about three quarters of Latina Christiana I. Each lesson covers a song or a part of a song; offering new vocabulary and practicing noun, verb and adjective endings. The back of the text includes thirteen pages of Grammar Charts for easy reference.

The Introduction to the Teacher's Manual gives a great overview of the reasons why Christian Latin can be so helpful and formational on many levels - both as a foundation of "real" Latin for students to build their later studies upon and as a beautiful and worthy subject matter for our children to memorize and learn to appreciate for their own sake. This manual also includes a detailed schedule (with varying levels of learning activities which are easily adaptable for different abilities) and grammar and vocabulary notes on each song.

The entire Lingua Angelica - the Song Book, audio CD and two levels of Texts (with teacher's manuals) provides a well-planned six-year Latin supplement based on these songs and prayers. These six years are specifically intended to complement the two years of Latina Christiana and four years of Henle.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
9-20-04
Reviewed by: 

The Adoremus Hymnal

Book cover: 'The Adoremus Hymnal'
Copyright: 
1997
Publisher: 
Ignatius Press
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
329 pages
Subject(s): 
Review: 

This is a beautiful hymnal with all the favorite traditional Catholic hymns and the parts and prayers of the Mass in English and Latin. It avoids any use of "feminized" (a.k.a. inclusive) language, which has destroyed so many of the Church's beautiful hymns and even tried to remove the use of "he" or "him" when referring to Jesus. Our family has taken to pulling out this hymnal every morning after prayers and each person picking out their favorite song to sing together before beginning the school day. My six year old daughter who is just reading likes to scan through the index in back to look for something familiar. She is unwittingly introducing herself to the concept of "alphabetical order" and getting a little reading practice as well. The choir edition (424 pages) contains all four parts for those who wish to learn the harmonies and the chant parts of the Mass are in the traditional chant notation.I think this is an excellent resource for the Catholic homeschooler's music curriculum. Included are traditional Christmas Carols (such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing), favorite Marian Hymns (such as Salve Regina and Hail Holy Queen), hymns for every liturgical season and special feasts. Many hymns are offered in both English and Latin (such as O Come All Ye Faithful). The multiple indices in back are also helpful for finding particular songs and you'll even find an "Index of Scriptural References Related to Hymns."

Perspective: 
Catholic
Additional notes: 

Ignatius Press also offers at set of four CDs covering all of the songs in the Adoremus Hymnal. This isn't a "great" recording intended for pleasurable listening - but it's a great way to help teach your children some of the great treasures of the Church even if you're not very musical or aren't familiar with the hymns.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: