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Album: Voices, Chant From Avignon (Decca)

Decca searched high and low (70 convents across several continents) for the female equivalent of successful recent releases by the Priests and sundry chanting monks, before settling upon the Benedictine nuns of Abbaye Notre Dame de L'Annonciation, near Avignon.

Given the popularity of their male precursors, and the mid-1990s success of Hildegard von Bingen's chants, there's every likelihood Chant From Avignon will prove a Christmas hit. But while it's pleasant enough, I'd advise anyone thinking of buying it to invest instead in any of John Eliot Gardiner's pilgrimage series of Bach Cantatas featuring the Monteverdi Choir – religious singing at its most exemplary.

DOWNLOAD THIS Exsurge; Dies Irae; Benedictus Es