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Taizé: Chants de Paix et e'Unité

Album Notes

Taizé is a monastic community in the village of the same name in eastern France. Founded in 1940 by a Swiss Protestant, it grew to attract Catholic and Orthodox celebrants as well, and it has become a pilgrimage site for young Christians, mostly European, of many denominations. This release gives a sample of the community's music, some of it sung by the Taizé brothers (there are no sisters), and some by a choir of visiting young people of many countries, singing in various languages. Save for its pacifist message, the music might be seen as a European counterpart to the simple inspirational music of American evangelical congregations. It offers monophonic tunes, simple repeated melodies perhaps accompanied by a guitar, and little bits of polyphony. What you'll think of it will depend largely on how you feel about simple religious messages, but those buying it in search of an introduction to Taizé, especially in the Western hemisphere where it remains little known, will likely be satisfied with the album. It presents a good mix of the various kinds of music involved with the community, and it straightforwardly transmits the group's emphasis on well-practiced unison singing. ~ James Manheim


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