Review of Toensing Kontakion in the Seattle PI
‘Kontakion’ reflects the old, new
The first half of the program was devoted to carols and hymns of all sizes and attitudes. Most were written in the past century, with texts in English and Greek. Although they may be familiar in Orthodox circles, they are not so known outside that universe. They should be. The variety was admirable and the effect astonishing — from music of sheer beauty to dramatic amplitude.
None of that would have been possible without the guiding hand of Alexander Lingas, who founded the group in the early 1990s in Portland, then mounted a second season soon after in Seattle. Currently a senior lecturer in music at City University in London, he is a scholar with all sorts of academic studies at prestigious universities in the United States and England. But there is nothing remotely pendantic about his approach.
It is lively and informed, often in difficult waters. The result is singing that is wonderfully blended, accurate in pitch and precise in ensemble. This is music-making on a very high order.