THE SOUND OF LOURDES
DO you know the sound of Lourdes? It is something, a bit intangible perhaps, which soaks into the mind of every pilgrim. Long after the home bound train has pulled away from the station, and the bells and singing have mingled into the distant blue Pyrenees, those sounds will come again to mind like fragments of some Jacob's Ladder of praise and supplication leading from Mary's chief pilgrim city right up to God Himself.
These sounds have now been captured on two of the most
moving records 1 have ever
heard, "The Voice of Lourdes— a pilgrimage in vision and recorded sound" (Soundprint Hutchinson. 22s. 6d.) has an introduction by Cardinal Godfrey. Fr. llltud Evans, Q.P., wrote the text for a handsome picture hook and Wynford Vaughan Thomas speaks the commentary on two accompanying double-sided 7-inch 331 r.p.m. discs which are tucked inside the front and back covers of the hook.
Fr, Illtud takes the reader in a way suitable to everyone, pilgrim or no, Catholic or no, through the history of Lourdes from the childhood of Bernadette to the present-day pilgrimage.
Wynford Vaughan Thomas does the quietly spoken commentary on the records, a commentary which really brings out the tremendous fusion of faith, hope and charity that make the living Lourdes. Outstanding in these records are the sounds no pilgrim will forget: The prayers of supplication during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament—Lord, if Thou will, thou canst make me whole: Lord that may see Lord that 1 may hear . . . Lord that I may walk! Seigneur none vows adorons, Seik
neur, sous croyons en vousl
Snatches are heard of the bells of Lourdes, the Lourdes hymn, the Lauda Jerusalem, the prayers at the baths, the tremendous volume of the evening Credo, the voices of pilgrims praying and singing at the grotto.
A unique recording has been
incorporated on the fourth side.
that of Pope John (then Cardinal
Roncalli) consecrating the underground Basilica of St. Pius X.
One curious fact struck me: That throughout the four sides of the records no mention is made of the place of the Mass in a pilgrim's visit to Lourdes. After all, Our Lady did ask for a chapel to be built . And smaller points : the hymn is Lauda Sion (not L(4udete); also. I always
understood that processions are
to walk not "march."
This book. with its records, is outstanding value. As a gift for a sick person---whether they have been to Lourdes or not, it is ideal; in fact 1 consider this one of this Christmas' hest buys for anyone. FEAST
IHERE'S a whole feast of
records around with a Christmas flavour—from Fr. Sydney MacEwan's "Carols You Love." including "Silent Night" (7-inch EP
Philips 12s. 7d.) right through the whole range of carol solos. carols by choirs, umpteen recordings of Handel's "Messiah", to per
haps one of the peak recordings
of all. First (Midnight) and Third Masses of Christmas, recorded by the Monks of Solesmes (12-inch LP Decca. 40s.); or Second Vcspers and Compline of Christmas recorded by the monks of Beurom (12-inch LP Archive, 40s.).
Mention of Archive (above) reminds me of the ever-expanding collection of treasures from the past which have been assembled over the past dozen years by DGG (Deutsch en Grammonhon Gesellsc./unit) their 250-page catalogue is a gift in itself,
A top favourite at Christmastime is the B.B.C.'s broadcast of the Festival of Lessons and Carols from King's College Chapel, Cambridge. You can choose your own listening time with two records on sale now by Argo (12inch LP. 40s, each).
"Christmas in Europe" (12-inch LP Philips, 23s. 3d.) gives us carols from nine European countries: while Decca have recorded the monks of Solesmes in a Gregorian Chant Midnight Mass
tl.XT 5251). Incidentally_ Decca have at least nine records of
Gregorian Chant on their current list, including an Easter Mass which starts off with the bells of Solcsmes Abbey.
If you are giving records as presents remember such gems as "The Divine l.iturev of St. John Chrysostom"—a beautiful record
ing of the Byzantine Liturgy
made at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin, New York (Westminster XWN 18204 12inch LP 33; rpm., 40s.).
Westminster Cathedral choir should record more often. Currently selling is Britten's Misra Brevis (Decca 7-inch EP, 45 r.p.m. at 13s. 5d.)Incidentally, if you want a Lourdes record which is all music rather than a commentary with musical interludes, try Ave Maria de Lourdes, a recording made in Lourdes with the grand organ of the Rosary Basilica (London PM/45/19, 7-inch EP, 12s. 8d,).
Beniamino Gigli lives on in his voice. Don't forget HMV's recording of Are Maria (Gounod) and Agnes Del (Bizet); his Pants Angelk•us of "Ave Maria, Agnes Dei and two Neapolitan songs" (7ER 5178, 7-inch EP, Us. 5d.).
A rather specialised record.
but a radio prizewinner when the B.B.C. broadcast it in 1958 is "Seclusion." a documentary recording of the life of a community of Carmelite nuns in Bologna. English text is spoken by Flora Rohson. (Oriole LP, 12-inch. 385. #d.)
Coming back to the Christmas spirit: "Christmas with the Trapp Family Singers" should go down well. (Brunswick 1.P 35s. 9d.) Also, a new Nina and Frederik record of Christmas carols arid songs is called "White Christmas" (Colombia SEG 8215—on sale from this week).
This year's gift suggestions from the EMI Group include Bach's Christmas Oratorio, out next week, and, incidentally, the first complete version in stereo: the Royal Choral Society, under Sir Malcolm Sargent singing a dozen carols and Christmas songs (s. and m.): Joy to the World. Carols recorded by the Roger Wagner Chorale (s and m): and a splendid recording by the Vienna Boys' Choir "Christmas in Austria" (m only), Enquire of your local dealer
for prices, etc
Golden Guinea (Pye) give excellent value as always in their three-record album of Handel's Messiah with the London Philharmonic Choir and the London Orchestra conducted by Walter Susskind (57s. 6d. mono; 65s. stereo).
EMf now have quite a range of children's records, a Christmas one issued last year, was "The First Christmas," ably narrated by Dame Edith Evans with the Chorleywood College Blind Children's Choir (EG7 119 HMV, Its. 2}d. mono).
And there are gift tokens ranging from 6s. to 40s.—saves postage, of course . . .