Salve Regina


Number four in a series SM Studios published in the Seventies, but in reading the inside of this gatefold I discovered that these recordings were already started in 1949! They must have known very well what they were doing, visiting these closed environments.

What I like so much in these recordings is that they are very atmospheric. They claim to have done that on purpose, to convey the sound and feelings of the abbey. The abbey in question here is the founding location of the order of Citeaux. There is a helpful map on the back of the outside cover, showing lots of other locations of monastic orders in France. I would not be surprised if more than half of those are following the rules as developed in this abbey.

Citeaux was founded in 1098, and quickly became a powerful force in a renewal movement for monastic life. Its followers were looking for a more strict adherence to the rules of Benedict. In the previous centuries monks were getting a bit too easy on those rules. In the 13th century, Citeaux had about 500 monasteries that were under tight control. Being the abbot of this place must have given Cardinal Richelieu right before the French Revolution a few steps towards his later eminence.

During the French Revolution the abbey was destroyed and sold for parts. In 1898 what was left was bought back and rebuilt. So if this particular recording was made in 1949, the monks residing there must have been among the first generation of the rebuilt abbey.

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