Cyprian Consiglio – Awake at Last - Catholic CD Review

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Cyprian Consiglio’s newest release Awake At Last captured me immediately on first listen. A Camaldolese Benedictine monk, Consiglio has a keen interest in meditation and prayer. Following in the footsteps of Thomas Merton, he has traveled extensively to dialogue with monks of other religious traditions. His journey of contemplation and outreach is reflected on this CD, with a wide musical palette being used to present several psalm settings, Gospel acclamations, a nearly eight minute Litany of the Holy Cross, and other hymns.

Awake At Last opens with an enchanting contemporary rendering of the Gregorian chant “Attende Domine”, using lush vocal harmonies that build slowly, drawing the listener into prayer. Consiglio has added new English text that supplements the traditional Latin, continuing a trend in recent Catholic music to introduce the musical treasures of the Church to a new generation. I was wanting much more of this piece, but it soon transitions into another beautiful track, a Lenten hymn that offers wisdom for all of us: “Leave the past in ashes / and turn to God / return to God / with tears and fasting.”

As producer of Awake At Last, Consiglio chose to employ several other vocalists and choirs to assist him in delivering the material, so it’s easy to envision the majority of these pieces being sung by choirs at Sunday Mass, as well as being used for personal prayer. Several upbeat hymns express the joy of the Easter season, completing the presentation of a seasonal journey, and complementing the more meditative songs. I found the arrangement of one piece (with saxophone and Gospel-style singing) towards the end of the CD to be out of place, but this is a minor complaint to an otherwise wonderful recording.

I recently had the privilege of attending an evening prayer service that Consiglio led on acoustic guitar, and it was deeply moving. He is a talented musician, yet his guitar playing on this recording is humbly understated as he allows other instruments (cello, flute, oboe, horn, eastern percussion) to tastefully enhance the beauty of the melodies he has composed, several of which are now engrained in my memory.

You can purchase Awake At Last through OCP at http://www.ocp.org/products/20561

reviewed by Matthew Baute

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About Author

Susan Bailey is an writer, speaker and musician. She is the author of River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times, published by Ave Maria Press, and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message, part of the Literary Portals to Prayer series published by ACTA Publications. Along with her own blogs Be As One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion), Susan frequently contributes to CatholicMom.com and the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. She has also contributed to Catholic.net and Catholic Online. Susan writes articles and a monthly column known as Be as One for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press. Bailey, who works as a marketing/advertising assistant for a local real estate firm, is an associate member of the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where previously she served as chair and secretary, helping to organize the biennial “Gather Us In” women’s conference, one of the first major Catholic women’s conferences in the country. As part of her duties she wrote the monthly column for The Catholic Free Press known as “Concerning Women” and appeared on CatholicTV’s “This is the Day” to promote the conference. A professional musician and graphic artist, Bailey released four CDs, performed on EWTN, CatholicTV and World Youth Day 2002, and worked as a cantor in her parish of St. Luke the Evangelist for fifteen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (with concentrations in US History and Music) from Bridgewater State University. She and her husband, Rich, have two grown children and live in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Susan invites you to join her email list where you will receive updates on exciting professional developments and speaking engagements. Email subscribers also receive special giveaways and previews of new projects. Susan loves a good conversation and looks forward to corresponding with you! Join here.

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