Gregorian is a German band headed by Frank Peterson that performs Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs. The band features both vocal harmony and instrumental accompaniment.
Originally, Gregorian was conceived as a more pop-oriented group in the vein of Enigma. Under this concept, they recorded the 1991 album Sadisfaction, with lead vocals provided by The Sisters of Oz: Susana Espelleta (Peterson's wife at the time) and Birgit Freud. However, this was the only album in that style.
In 1998, Peterson and his team Jan-Eric Kohrs, Michael Soltau and Carsten Heusmann re-invented the project to perform popular songs in the Gregorian style. The criteria for song selection were strict; in order to be considered, a song needed to be translatable into the 7-tone scale. For each album, songs were carefully chosen in addition to original songs written by Jan-Eric Kohrs, Amelia Brightman and Carsten Heussman. Twelve vocalists - previously acclaimed session and choir singers - were then hired to record the tracks.
Each Gregorian album is initially digitally tracked at Nemo Studios, Peterson's
The vocalists then record their parts in a church atmosphere with dimmed lights
and candles, in order to escape what Peterson referred to in a 2001 interview
as the "cold and technical" studio atmosphere. Hamburg
The concept proved to be successful, and the group proceeded to record several more Masters of Chant albums in the same style. Their 2004 album, The Dark Side, was a slight departure from the others, featuring a darker repertoire consistent with the title.
At least once a year, producer Frank Peterson retreats with his headphones to raid his extensive music collection in the search for new repertoire. It takes a lot of instinct and inspiration to choose the songs for a project like Gregorian. "Not every song is suited for the Gregorian sound scale," he explains, "so the songs have to be chosen very carefully for Gregorian." Luckily, Peterson's immense music knowledge seems inexhaustible and there are no limits to his creativity. How else could it be that we find a Eurythmics ballad next to a Tears For Fears pop tune in the Gregorian repertoire? Or a Peter Gabriel song next to a Lenny Kravitz rock track? However, with Gregorian all of this fits in and forms a unit - well-known melodies in a completely new sound transporting the listener into the timeless world of Gregorian chant.
Masters Of Chant Chapter 8, released in 2011, is there last album.