Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Music Review: Advent at Ephesus

Advent is a time of quiet contemplation, meditation, and joyful expectation as we await the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. Listening to this beautiful CD certainly does put me in the mood for preparing my heart and soul for Jesus. The Benedictine nuns voices are crystal clear and so beautiful; the music captures the spirit of Advent, as it is very meditative and uplifting, containing a heavenly peace that you don't hear in secular music.

The sixteen track CD includes many of the sisters’ favorite Advent hymns including an original composition. Many of the hymns were not all that familiar to me; but the music is to be savored because of its breathless beauty. Some of the hymns are about the birth of the Christ child, while others are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I enjoyed all of the hymns, but especially liked listening to "O Come, O Come Emmanuel".

The story behind the music is that the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles are a group of young,  contemplative sisters hidden in Missouri's rolling farmland, who unite themselves with Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. The sisters seek above all else, a life of union with God in prayer as guided by the Rule of St. Benedict. They pray and sacrifice especially for the sanctification of priests.

The order's Prioress, Mother Cecilia, vacated her seat in the horn section with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio to enter religious life. A graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, in Houston, Texas, she has arranged the the songs on Advent at Ephesus.

Although only just released on November 20, Advent at Ephesus from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Traditional Classical Music Chart. The initial release from De Montfort Music also earned the No. 3 spot in Billboard’s new-artist “Heat Seekers” chart, which encompasses all music genres.

Advent of Ephesus also topped a group of Classical albums that includes Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Fifty Shades of Grey Classical, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Once Upon a Christmas, and the soundtrack to the popular current film Moonrise Kingdom.

You can find the CD here:

Learn more about the Sisters and listen to a sampling :

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