Capella Antiqua Munich's recording of the century is now available as a 3-CD set. Recorded in 1974 in Aicha vorm Wald in Lower Bavaria, it brings the indescribable beauty of those old sacred chants to life, not just as a high-quality audio document, but as proof of present-day intensive analysis of over 1000 years of music-making. Gregorian chant composed for the most significant festivals of the church year – Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide –here represents the cream of what is viewed as the origin of Western music. The recording by Capella Antiqua Munich under Konrad Ruhland has long since become a classic – because it represents a milestone in the endeavour to portray the topicality of Gregorian chant’s timeless art form.
Capella Antiqua Munich was formed in 1951 as one of the forerunner ensembles of the Early Music movement. Under the direction of Konrad Ruhland (1932-2010) the group established itself, before disbanding in 1981, as a top-flight ensemble for medieval music through to the early Baroque. The essential factor in all this was their ability to delve deep into the far past, making expansion into the field of Gregorian chant an obvious choice.
The name originates from Pope Gregory the Great (560-604 AD). Initially passed from generation to generation by word of mouth, the music spread out from Rome into the Western world, forming the basis for liturgical music of the global Catholic church for almost 1500 years. And that is self-evident in the way it opens up to the entire world: "Music that serves and interprets, that represents emotion and observance of one’s duty; music that helps us meditate and linger, that awakens and motivates us, that can soothe and excite us." (Konrad Ruhland).