Glenstal Abbey has just released a new CD of organ music. Canticum Domini is a recording of over an hour of improvisations on Gregorian Chant themes by John Columba McCann OSB, one of the organists here at the Abbey. John Columba McCann received a First Class Honors degree in Music at University College, Dublin while studying organ with Peter Sweeney, in Dublin’s College of Music.

With a keen interest in improvisation, he has studied this art with Ansgar Wollenhorst (Ratingen) and Frederic Blanc (Paris). This recording uses the chant melodies as the basis of a wide variety of pieces in various styles:

-A suite which borrows forms from the French Baroque while encircling it with a broader palette of harmonic colours

-A set of variations in the German Baroque style

-A set of Advent Meditations on the ‘O’ Antiphons in a more contemporary idiom

-A treatment of the Easter Sequence, Victimae Paschali, in the archaic ‘ricercare’ form, though using a more modern approach to modality

-A set of dances based on chants for Trinity Sunday

-A Suite in a modern Symphonic style, based on chants from the Liturgical year

Nourished by liturgy and lectio divina, the latest book by Gregory Collins OSB, Meeting Christ in His Mysteries: A Benedictine Vision of the Spiritual Life, offers a transforming theological vision based on prayer and spiritual insight. The author’s aim is to encourage a contemporary mystical spirituality based on the great sources of Christian revelation. Much of the book consists of reflections on the mysteries of Christ as they are celebrated  in the liturgy. It is grounded in theological research yet written in a style that is accessible to non-specialists; ecumenical in inspiration, it draws largely from Orthodox and other Eastern Christian sources. Deeply committed to the post-Vatican II renewal of the Church, it aims to recover some of the ancient spiritual resources of monastic tradition so as to encourage a new vision of Christ as we meet him in his mysteries.

The CD & book are available to purchase online through the shop link at the top of the page