Cappella Romana Remembers September 11 – Lament for the Fall of Constantinople


Cappella Romana remembers September 11th

From the Seattle Post-Intelligncer in January 2002:

Alexander Lingas, founder and music director of Cappella Romana, has a keen ear for music and its historical and cultural context.

Over the past decade, that kind of approach has taken the small vocal ensemble, and its growing audience, over many centuries and countries. A link was made for the great distance that sometimes had to be traversed in order to make a connection to today.

Even though Cappella Romana’s program Saturday night at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle concentrated on music more than half a millennium old, its political ramifications could not be more current.

“Music for the Fall of Constantinople” focused on the Turkish capture of the great Byzantine capital, straddling Europe and Asia, in 1453. For several hundred years, the Turks streamed into the Near and Middle East and battled Byzantines for political control of the vast lands ruled by them. At first, it was the Seljuk Turks, then the Ottomans, who eventually whittled the huge empire down to its capital and a few surrounding lands. The fall of Constantinople to the Turks ended the Eastern branch of the Roman empire but also a major Christian tie to the East. Only a few ruins — extraordinary as they are — and a few churches, also extraordinary, survived a brutal and devastating defeat. The Byzantines disappeared into history.

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Full Text from the Lament:

O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance, they have defiled your holy temple, O Lord. They have given the dead bodies of your servants to the beasts of the earth. They have shed their blood like water round about Jerusalem and there was no one to bury them. We have become a reproach to our neighbors, subjected to scorn and derision from those around us. How long, O Lord? Again how long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long shall your jealousy burn as fire? Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you, and on kingdoms which have not called upon your name. Do not remember our old sins, but quickly help us, and have mercy on us.

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