Experience the music of St. Michael's Abbey

“It belongs to the lover to sing.” ~St. Augustine

Thanks to the loving hand of providence, our abbey follows a rich liturgical tradition which is at the heart of our vocation as Canons Regular of Prémontré. Music is a necessary part of this liturgical heritage, and as the Second Vatican Council teaches us in Sacrosantum Concilium, Gregorian chant holds “pride of place” among all the various forms of liturgical music.

The best way to experience the music of St. Michael’s Abbey would be to join us in prayer at the sacred liturgy, which is the proper context for all of our chant. However, so that the beauty and power of this music might be made available even to those who live far away from our little hilltop, in recent years we have recorded several CDs featuring our abbey’s liturgical music.

Together on the Way (2012)

For three grace-filled nights in February of 2011, the choir of St. Michael’s Abbey chanted at Segerstrom Hall to introduce and complement Maestro Carl St. Clair’s conception of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony 9 as performed by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. Then, in March of 2012, Biola University asked the Norbertines to chant at the close of their Art Symposium on Sacred Space as a demonstration of what sacred music should fill a sacred space. Although the fathers knew that many of those who heard them would not understand the Latin they were chanting, it was their fondest hope that they would be moved simply to join them in prayer.

Since neither of these concert programs were recorded, the Norbertines thought to capture the experience in the only way possible—to produce this album with the same pieces sung before, yet in their very own abbey church.

A total of 13 tracks include:

01. Dominabitur
02. Oremus pro Pontifice
03. Anima Christi
04. Adoremus
05. Qui sunt isti
06. Resurrexi
07. Lætatus sum
08. Cantemus
09. Tota pulchra es
10. Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
11. Anima mea
12. Christus
13. Dum fabricator

Requiem (2011)

This is the third Gregorian chant album by the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey in California. This is not an actual Mass, but the traditional Requiem music according to the ancient Norbertine Rite, a form of the liturgy similar to the ubiquitous Roman Rite but the exclusive property of the Norbertine Fathers.

The old cliche of a novel beginning with the words: “It was a dark and stormy night…” could well apply to the recording of this album, as the date that worked for all the singers to record was the day of one of the longest and most violent tempests of 2010. The abbey’s cantor, Fr. Chrysostom Baer, decided that, far from detracting from the quality of the recording, the howling winds actually added to the haunting tones of chant. This is the reason for the atmospheric effects heard in the background of many of the recorded tracks.

A total of 15 tracks include:

01. Rain and Bells
02. Requiem
03. Kyrie Eleison
04. Requiem
05. Si Ambulem
06. Dies Irae
07. De Profundis
08. Domine Jesu Christe
09. Preface
10. Sanctus
11. Agnus Dei
12. Lux Aeterna; Requiescant
13. Subvenite
14. Suscipiat vos Christus
15. Chorus Angelorum

Anthology (2009)

The eclectic selection on this album is a cross-section of music sung at the Abbey that includes chants from the liturgy as well as motets and music from the Renaissance era. The latter are sung on more solemn occasions like Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, and the other great feasts of the liturgical year.

Singing at St. Michael’s Abbey is nothing new. Learning sacred chant starts in the seminary and becomes part of the Norbertines’ daily life. After all these centuries, the chants are still in use and retain their sacramental quality, their supple vigor, and their ability to dispose the soul for the contemplation of God and his mysteries.

A total of 18 tracks include:

01. Tu Nobis Dona
02. Arbor Decora
03. Norbertine Exultet
04. Jubilate Deo
05. Qui Confidunt
06. Cantemus Domino
07. Laudate Dominum
08. Vinea Facta Est
09. Attende Coelum
10. Sicut Cervus
11. Ave Maria
12. Panis Angelicus
13. Spiritus Domini
14. Spiritus Sanctus
15. Veni Sancte Spiritus
16. Confirma Hoc
17. Factus Est Repente
18. Verbum Caro

Christmas at St. Michael’s Abbey (2008)

This recording includes the proper chants of the three Masses of Christmas (Midnight Mass, the Mass at dawn, and the Mass of the day) as sung at St. Michael’s Abbey.

The repetoires of Norbertine chant are almost like “dialects” of the Gregorian repertoire—there is a substantial overlap with texts and settings found in the Roman Missal (for the Mass) and Antiphonarium (for the Liturgy of the Hours), but there are few items that are completely identical.

A total of 16 tracks include:

01. Nocte: Introit
02. Nocte: Gradual
03. Nocte: Alleluia
04. Nocte: Prose
05. Nocte: Offertory
06. Nocte: Communion
07. Aurora: Introit
08. Aurora: Gradual
09. Aurora: Alleluia
10. Aurora: Offertory
11. Aurora: Communion
12. Die: Introit
13. Die: Gradual
14. Die: Alleluia
15. Die: Offertory
16. Die: Communionluia