Beth Nielsen Chapman - Hymns

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Beth Nielsen Chapman - Hymns

I grew up in the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church. In those days, nuns still wore penguin suits, Mass was still celebrated in Latin, and music kept strictly to the old-school, as in the school of Palestrina, circa 1560. Singer/songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman remembers those days as well, and this set of pre-Vatican II hymns, most of them in Latin, plays like something of a Liturgical Greatest Hits collection from my childhood. But rest assured; there’s no rosary required. “Panis Angelicus,” “O Sanctissima,” “Tantum Ergo,” and “Salve Regina” will resonate with anyone who loves good liturgical music, while old chestnuts such as Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus,” “Ave Maria,” and the traditional round “Dona Nobis Pacem” will sound instantly familiar to even casual fans of the genre. The one original song, Chapman’s quiet “Hymn to Mary,” ?ts seamlessly with these ancient antiphonal and processional pieces. Chapman delivers these hymns with disarming simplicity and grace, the instrumental accompaniment is modest and understated, and various family members supply unobtrusive harmonies. These are beautiful hymns sung lovingly and reverently, with the merest dab of acoustic guitar hinting at the post-Vatican II Folk Mass hootenanny to follow.

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