Remember last week’s digital campaign by the small, Miami-based choral group Seraphic Fire to get its new album, ”Ave Maria: Gregorian Chant,” an unlikely spot on the Billboard chart? It worked.
The list released Thursday has “Ave Maria” at No. 9 on the Top Classical Chart, No. 9 in the Traditional Classical Chart and No. 22 on the Classical Albums Chart.
“We really wanted to put the national classical music scene on notice that we are in the game,” said Seraphic Fire founder and artistic director Patrick Dupre Quigley in a press statement.
“Ave Maria,” was released Aug. 27 in digital and physical formats on the ensemble's Seraphic Fire Media label. The group urged fans to all buy the album on opening day in an effort to trip the algorithms used by Google and Amazon to rank its popularity, hoping it would result in a wave of attention, both digital and human, that would put “Ave Maria” on the Billboard classical charts.
Not incidentally, the album is a sublime journey into the mysteries of the daily meditations of monastic clerics in the Middle Ages. Quigley calls “Ave Maria” “the best recording project we’ve ever done.”
The news recalls similar notice for Seraphic Fire in 2010, when its Monteverdi album “Vespers of 1610” made the iTunes classical chart in its first week, alongside Yo-Yo Ma and the London Symphony Orchestra. When NPR acknowledged the “zero to hero” success of the album, it ended up very briefly on the iTunes all-genre chart next to Lady Gaga.