After a year of collected recordings, Neumz launches at Pentecost, traditionally the celebration of the first fruits of the harvest. It is on this day that a “mighty rushing wind” with “tongues as of fire” descended upon the gathered disciples of Jesus Christ. “Filled with the Holy Spirit”, they began “to speak in other tongues”. This feast also marks the celebration of the Apostles assembling to found the Church, which would deliver the Gospel to all nations. Through the winds of the internet and the fire of electrons, we hope that Neumz will likewise offer the timeless beauty of Gregorian Chant to the entire world, provided in translations into many languages, and speaking through the beautiful recordings of the music itself. We hope that the Sisters’ voices may bring peace and serenity to listeners around the globe, regardless of beliefs or background.
Chant: Factus est repente, the communio from the Mass of Pentecost
Complete Gregorian Chant – In the Palm of your Hand
Following our enthusiastically received preview of the Holy Week Chants at Easter, we are happy to announce the official launch of Neumz: the complete Gregorian chant presented in synchronised recordings, notation and translations. The publication of the web app coincides with the Feast of Pentecost, with iOS and Android apps following in Autumn 2020.
Neumz is the largest recording project ever undertaken: the complete Gregorian Chant, in a long-term collaboration with the community of Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fidélité of Jouques, in Provence, France. The complete project covers three years of recordings. It presents the entire Gregorian repertoire, including thousands of pieces (the equivalent of more than 7000 CDs). Each chant is synchronised with its Franconian square-note score, the Latin text, and its translation into the user’s language. The contents of the Psalter, lectionary, collectary, antiphonary, responsoriary, and Gradual are assembled into a 21st-century multimedia “Liber Digitalis”.
“… the recordings of clear unaccompanied voices are speckled with authentic sounds such as the creak of wooden benches, the occasional coughing or dropping of prayer books and bell chimes.” The Guardian
The new web app is completely free to try while we finish adding the year’s chants to its database. After this, it will remain free in a restricted, “radio” mode, allowing users to listen to the chants of the hour. “Play-on-demand” will then be limited to our Patrons. We invite users to experiment with the full capabilities of the app now, during this trial period, and to consider donating or becoming a Patron to lock in a discounted early-bird rate. As The Tablet reported:
“The nuns in the community, founded in 1967, hope that the revenue from the recording project will allow them to fund better their Abbey’s daughter-house in Africa, and [that the project will] give ‘peace, consolation, hope, and a sense of communion’ to those isolated by the coronavirus pandemic.”
“A bold idea that the American [founder] had during his music studies at Oxford. At that time he often visited his aunt, who lived as [a sister] at the monastery in Jouques, and experienced an atmosphere that all the theory at university could not convey: the mysteriously archaic, quiet and remote world of Gregorian chant. Today he wants to get the chant out of its sacred seclusion and bring it to everyone, so that they too can get to know the ‘basis of the western musical tradition’.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The pandemic has led to an increased focus on ways to aid mental health and wellbeing, and we believe the serene sounds of these ancient chants to be a real source of calm. Listening each day can bring us back to ourselves and restore balance. Neumz will also be a precious resource for academics wishing to explore the Gregorian repertoire and liturgical calendar. It offers many world-premiere recordings, and brings the chant, notation, language, and structure together in one place, in an easy-to-use app.
Neumz is brought to you by a group of passionate experts: the team behind Odradek Records, in collaboration with Manuel Alberto Díaz-Blanco, Professor of Hispanic Philology and an avid connoisseur of the liturgy and of Gregorian chant recordings, and Dominique Crochu, medievalist, fellow liturgical connoisseur and co-foundeur of the Musique Médiévale network.
“There is something ‘beyond’ that we can connect with when we hear a song that we do not understand … Something within us awakens and recognises that essential part of something sublime, something unique.” (Neumz team-member Manuel Alberto Díaz-Blanco in interview with Codalario)