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Stift Heiligenkreuz: Gregorian "Chant" leads Cistercian Monks straight into the charts

img  Tobias
“Chant” is the direct result of Universal’s search for an ensemble of Gregorian singers. Monks of the Stift Heiligenkreuz Monastery disovered the label’s call for entries and quickly contacted Wallner in order to participate in the competition. For them, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to gather the financial means needed for a new recording project – a thought they had been toying with for years, but which was thwarted because of the prohibitively high costs involved. Somewhat reluctantly (he hadn’t even heard of Universal), Wallner obliged, mailing the aforementioned link to the record company on the very last day of the deadline. Upon hearing the music, Tom Lewis, the Development Manager of UCJ was awestruck – to him, the race had been decided. 

Of the sessions, Wallner remembers: “The days of recording were unusual for us, but also a deeply religious experience. The recordings were done in the Church where our relic of the True Cross is kept. In the midst of the microphones and other paraphernalia, we always kept the reliquary in sight, and we faced the tabernacle, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. We always sang facing the altar - towards God. Thus the recordings were not just musical productions but rather continuous prayer.”

While the chart success of Gregorian Chant and the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz remain a mystery to some, it has to be said, of course, that the promo campaign for “Chant” was anything but mediaeval. With Youtube clips and even a digital single on offer, it actually resembled the likes of the very pop stars the monks are now enjoying the company of. And yet, it does seem as though each generation of record buyers truly needs its Gregorian Chant recording – boding well for the future of these ancient chants.

Homepage: Stift Heiligenkreuz
Homepage: Mini Page for Chant
Homepage: Universal Classical

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