Chant - Music For The Soul

Album cover art for upc 028947668220
Label: DECCA
Catalog: B001148902
Format: CD

The Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz

"It’s a pretty safe bet that very few of Universal Music’s recent signings count Pope Benedict XVI among their fans. But the pontiff is a definite admirer of the latest boys in the hood(s) to sign globally to Universal Classics" – Billboard The Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz are delighted to release their debut album with Universal Music Classical following an incredible few months in which they were signed to the label after submitting their demo via a YouTube link. The monks subsequently recorded their unique sound with amazing speed and will release Chant: Music for the Soul on the Decca imprint in the US digitally on June 10th with general release to follow on July 1st. Already a runaway hit overseas, the album debuted easily at #1 on the classical chart and at #9 on the UK pop chart, alongside Madonna and Duffy, besting the likes of Amy Winehouse and Leona Lewis. Universal Music in the UK launched their search for sacred singers in February through advertisements placed in UK religious press. The ads prompted an incredible response with over 100 entries pouring in from religious organizations around the world. On the closing day for entries Tom Lewis, A&R Manager of Universal Classics and Jazz (UCJ), received a YouTube link from the Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, based in the Vienna woods in Austria. Mr Lewis was immediately bowled over by their sound, saying "They are, quite simply, the best Gregorian singers we have heard. They make a magical, evocative sound which is both immediately calming and deeply moving.” The Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, who count both young and old among their number, reside in the oldest continually inhabited Cistercian monastery in the world, and put their selection down to divine intervention. They had been due to record an album last year but cancelled plans because of a prestigious visit to their monastery by Pope Benedict XVI. So when a friend in London spotted the ad on the closing date he encouraged them to hurriedly submit their entry via YouTube to ensure instant consideration. By Easter Universal had signed the Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz, considering them to be the most accomplished singers of Gregorian Chant, and just a week later recording began. The monks were equally pleased to record their first ever commercial album to bring their voice, and the spirit of their peaceful monastic existence to a wider audience. Dating from the 7th century A.D., Gregorian Chant is the earliest form of music to be written down but, more importantly, to the monks it is their form of prayer. “When the Monks sing, the chant opens our hearts. We hope it purifies our souls and helps us regain clarity, light, strength and peace. Where there is chaos, we seek to restore order. Where there is emptiness, we try and find meaning. And where there is sadness, joy can return.” – Gregor Henckel Donnersmarck, Abbot of the Cistercian Abbey Stift Heiligenkreuz

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