Latin Chant on MSNBC

Fr. Jim Martin over at America has a post on the monks of Christ in the Desert singing “Alleluia. Iustus Germinabit”… on The Today Show! Do you believe it?  “Alleluia. The just one will sprout forth…”

Here’s the same chant in another rendition, with the notes if you care to follow along:

Here’s an aside I can’t resist. When Jim first put the post up, it was with the unfortunate typo “Lustus Germinabit.” (I emailed him, it’ll probably be corrected by the time you read this.) Could happen to any of us. “Lustus” would be the masculine singular in the nominative case, which in this monastic context would refer to… oh, never rmind.

Anyway, it’s always good to see the Jesuits posting on Benedictines.


  1. Lustus Germinabit. OK, I’m laughing now and forgot what I was going to say. Thanks for posting this! I tried to post it on my parish blog, but the link code kept failing. Now I will simply link to PT!

    Not wanting to sound like the liturgical-TV police, I must say that this almost 30 year veteran of the TV business turned church employee, would like to offer a correction; Fr. Jim Martin’s post seemed to have influenced this, it albeit inadvertently. MSNBC and NBC are two different entities, although owned by the same parent company.

    How much of a nitpicker do I sound like? Is this how iustus is served? 🙂

  2. The intonation of the incipit was fascinating in that the abbot/monk involved had a very cultured vibrato and muscularity Bartolucci would swoon over. NBC then mucked up the sound with way too much digital ambience effects, IMO. Hard to tell about the guys’ precision from the aural wash.

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #2:
      The monstrous acoustics of the Vatican basilica have a similar sea-sickness inducing quality. Not so, say, Santa Maria Maggiore or Santa Sabina, shall we say.

  3. Really I don’t think this is anything to write home about. The great majority of people who view this on TV think chant is a kind of vocal elevator music, and listen to it to fall asleep at night.

    1. @Mark Emery – comment #5:
      Well, I wanted to be “nice.” Heiligenkreuz these guys aren’t. But bless ’em anyway. I’ve never had an opportunity to meet and chat with AWR, but I’ve yakked with Turkington, Mahrt and my fellow CA’ers MA Carr-Wilson and Jeffrey Morse about the lead goose syndrome, which I kind of heard from the Desert monks. You know, just like the de Silos monks and the ones from that website in Brazil, there’s always one distinct voice, generally with a unique, over-oscillated vibrato that flies point a millisecond ahead of the brothers’ flock in formation. I think these sorts of monk scholas should listen to recordings of various women’s groups, the late Anonymous 4 for example, to see that precise unison is achievable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *