…should definitely include:
- the work of St. Hildegard of Bingen. This dear saint was/did so many things that I can’t list them all here–but one of them was composing sacred music and frequently writing the text to go with the tunes. The German group Sequentia has excellent albums that I highly recommend. (Just beware some other groups/albums since the New Agers got ahold of her in the 70s/80s, ugh!) Listen to and enjoy the whole album of O Jerusalem which includes many amazing instrumental works. As to particular pieces, I love so many, but can especially tell you to find “O Virtus Sapientiae” and “Nunc aperuit nobis.” (For a much more in-depth introduction to St. Hildegard and her music, go here!)
- albums by Anonymous 4. This group of four American women has made so many albums of medieval and Renaissance music that I am far from having listened to them all! Currently I am enjoying La bele Marie: Songs to the Virgin from 13th Century France. I so badly want scientists to invent a time-machine so that I can go back to a culture that had this kind of music everywhere!
- polyphony by Thomas Tallis. On the marvelous album Treasures of English Church Music: 46 Anthems and Motets sung by The Cambridge Singers, you will find my two favorite pieces by this incredible composer. Tallis was a recusant in Tudor England, but his talents at composing glorious music preserved his life. My two favorite pieces are “If Ye Love Me” and “Loquebantur variis linguis.” You have GOT TO HEAR THEM.
- the Domincans of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Their first album, Mater Eucharistiae, just came out earlier this year! I have listened to it so many times, and enjoyed every minute of it. They sing ancient chant and polyphony, and newly composed sacred works as well. It has spent weeks atop the Classical music charts. It just goes to show it’s not only me–there’s a sacred music revival going on, folks, Deo gratias!
I need more ideas–please leave me some of your favorites in the comments below!