Music of the Week: October 20, 2023: Charles Gounod – Sanctus

2019-12-02 Gounod CeciliaMesse-Sanctus HD

2019-12-02 Gounod CeciliaMesse-Sanctus HD

The Sanctus is a central part of the Christian eucharistic liturgy within all Christian denominations—Eastern, Orthodox, Catholic, Oriental, Ethiopian…. It derives from Isaiah’s prophetic vision (Isaiah 6:3) of the Divine surrounded by the angelic host singing the celestial song, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts.” A similar experience is given to John in Revelation 4:8, but this Trisagion is also part of apocryphal scrolls such as the ancient Book of Enoch. So important are these words that in many liturgies, they remain untranslated in either Greek or Hebrew original terminology. As mankind joins in with the choir of the angels during this high point of service, we unite our souls with those around the throne in the worship of the Most High.

Rarely has the celestial beauty, mystical awe, and sacred soundscape of angelic realms been captured so directly as in the Sanctus of Charles Gounod’s Saint Cecilia Mass, here rendered in a high-quality recording from the Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany.

An absolute favorite.


Charles Gounod St. Cecilia Mass (Wikipedia)

An excellent recording of the full mass with Barbara Hendricks under Georges Prêtre (YouTube)

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