Faith grows best when it is integrated into life. To that end, I’d like to share a few examples of Catholic music to play in your home. I believe the Spirit inspires across all ages and styles of music, so I cast a pretty wide net in this list. Whatever your personal tastes, I hope you’ll go exploring outside your comfort zone. Enjoy!
Chant and Polyphony: the original Catholic music
- Ave Maria: Gregorian Chants recorded by Rev. Lucien Diess
- The Monks of Solesmes are widely regarded as the ultimate modern authority in chant. They have lots of recordings.
- The Tallis Scholars are my favorite ensemble for Renaissance motets. The motets were first written as expansions of chants into polyphony. Look for works by Palestrina, Josquin Desprez, Thomas Tallis, Tomas Luis de Victoria. Two of my favorites: O Magnum Mysterium and Ave Maria.
Classical sacred music. The vast majority of the sacred music written by classical composers was written for the Church. As there are Mass settings, requiems and other sacred works by almost every major composer, Catholic or not, any attempt at a list is hopelessly non-inclusive. So I’ll just highlight four:
Other “Standards.” WLP also offers a 4-disc set titled “Catholic Treasures.” It includes Christmas carols, traditional and modern classic hymns used widely in liturgies today (for example: “Panis Angelicus” and “Tantum Ergo Sacramentum” are included, as well as Joe Mattingly’s “On That Holy Mountain” and Steve Janco’s “Draw Near.”)
Music written for and/or performed by children. These songs introduce theology and Scripture to children at their own level. All three major Catholic publishers offer music for children; there’s lots to choose from, and you can listen at the links below:
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- OCP’s list of CDs for children
- GIA’s list of music for children and youth (many of these are print music, so if you go exploring, keep an eye out for the label “CD.”)
WLP also has a number of resources for children; I’ll highlight three:
- Let the Children Come To Me, Here I Am, God, and Kids Sing for Jesus
- Sing Out: A Children’s Psalter gets its own bullet point, because it offers simple, uncluttered settings of the common psalms for the Church year, sung by a single voice , which allows the words to take precedence.
Catholic Recording Artists. Say what you will about Life Teen, it has produced a generation of enthusiastic, devout Catholics making high-quality CCM. The following list of artists is recommended by a long-time youth minister.
- Audrey Assad
- Matt Maher
- Ike Ndolo
- Steve Angrisano
- Tom Booth
- John Angotti
- Bob Rice
- Michael James Mette
What music do you use to feed your faith (and your family’s)?
Kathleen Basi is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, flute and voice teacher, liturgical composer, choir director, natural family planning teacher, scrapbooker, sometime-chef and budding disability rights activist. She puts her juggling skills on display at www.kathleenbasi.com.
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