Audiophile Audition Gives Passion Week Five Stars

Steinberg: Passion WeekAudiophile Audition gives Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week a Five-Star review!

“[Maximilian Steinberg’s] music is pretty much sunk in obscurity…Until now, that is. … His Op. 13 Passion Week is his seminal work in the genre, actually more a collection of pieces selected from various Holy Week services that could be used outside of the opus whole. It disappeared for many years to be found only in a few private hands. Fortunately one of these was an émigré Russian conductor named Igor Buketoff, who tried for years to get it performed (this is not easy music, and removed from the capabilities of most parish choirs). Ultimately it ended up in the hands of Alexander Lingas, and so here we go. … Once again Alexander Lingas and his intrepid crew provide sterling and gorgeously recorded music in exacting and beautifully defined performances. Some will balk at a non-Russian choral group daring to sing this music—I have heard this nonsense before, and in fact my favorite recordings of the Rachmaninov Vigil are all non-Russian ensembles—but I think Steinberg would be the first to applaud this. The perfect Lenten gift has just become available.” —Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

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AllMusic Reviews Good Friday In Jerusalem

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreAllMusic.com’s James Manheim has a new review for our Good Friday In Jerusalem release!

“It takes a good deal of scholarly effort to reconstruct a program like this from manuscripts in various places (some are Armenian) and at various levels of notational detail. The result, though, is spectacular. The chants were sung (if this reconstruction is correct) with a low drone note whose resonances are well engineered here, and the chant melodies themselves are densely ornate. The singers of the Cappella Romana execute them crisply and with a sense of connection to the texts, all of which are given in translation in the booklet from Greek to English. … Recommended not only for those planning a trip to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but to anyone curious about Byzantine chant in general.” —James Manheim, AllMusic

Read the full review at www.allmusic.com

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Watch the Passion Week Video

Watch the new Passion Week Video to hear a track from the new album and see photos from the recording sessions!

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Steinberg Passion Week a “Landmark Recording”

Steinberg: Passion WeekThe Orthodox Arts Journal‘s Benedict Sheehan gives Cappella Romana’s upcoming Maximilian Steinberg Passion Week an absolute rave:

“Every so often a record comes along that changes the landscape of choral music.…The work itself is the sort of thing musicologists dream about: a treasure of inestimable musical value, hidden away in some attic or dusty library stack, unknown for nearly a century. Similar to conductor Johann von Herbeck happening upon Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony nearly forty years after the composer’s death, the discovery of Steinberg’s Passion Week is cause for celebration among lovers of music. It is a profoundly moving piece of sacred choral literature, and a masterwork of compositional craft. … While the discovery of this long-lost major work of sacred choral music is a milestone in the history of the literature, in no lesser degree is Cappella Romana’s rendering of the piece a landmark contribution to the modern canon of choral recordings. In every respect, and I don’t use these words lightly, their new disc is a triumph. Using their characteristic radiantly bright and clear sound—a welcome relief from the proliferation of performances that seem to be stuck in the wrong-headed notion that Russian sacred music has to be dark, dramatic, and ponderous, with a superabundance of vocal “cover”—Alexander Lingas and the singers of Cappella Romana bring a highly refined musical sensibility to the Steinberg score. Every vocal line is luminously present to the ear, every musical idea carefully considered and totally convincing. The solos in the piece too emerge seamlessly from the ensemble like subtly brighter beams of light, commanding but never dominating or seizing attention too boldly. Of particular note are the brief but captivating solos of baritone (and executive director of the ensemble) Mark Powell and soprano Catherine van der Salm. … Such a beautiful work deserves the attention of the world. However, if it is going to capture the world’s attention it needs a vehicle, and I will be surprised if anyone can offer a better one than Cappella Romana’s new record anytime soon. Indeed, though it’s only March, I will be surprised if a better choral recording of anything comes out this year.” —Benedict Sheehan, Orthodox Arts Journal

Read the full review at www.orthodoxartsjournal.org

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Steinberg Passion Week Look & Listen

Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week — Behold, The Bridegroom Comes

Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week LP

A first listen to the Passion Week recording at Echo Audio in Portland:

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Good Friday In Jerusalem: Musical Time Travel

Cappella Romana Good Friday In Jerusalem — #8 Billboard Chart DebutOregon Artswatch breaks down our Good Friday In Jerusalem Concert saying, “Vocal ensemble’s Passion performance transports listeners to millennium-old sacred service”:

“On a strictly sonic level, the concert at Portland’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral was magnificent … As with last year’s concerts of Finnish Orthodox music, it was especially satisfying to hear the singers perform music they’d already worked to a fine polish for committing to disc. The ten men filled the space with dark resonance, making effortless work of melismatic unison melodies and rock-solid drones, and the pacing was measured but unflagging. … The concert also invited a listener to delve into the expressive potential of this ancient music, a kind of artistic expression that, because the rigors and self-negating ethos of the medieval church are worlds away from the nakedly personal poetry of, say, Schubert, we have little ability to grasp. But it was impossible not to hear the laments of Mary at the foot of the cross and not be moved. … Good Friday in Jerusalem went deep, and it sounded close to the spring from which poured centuries of sacred music.” —James McQuillen, Oregon ArtsWatch

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Good Friday in Jerusalem a “Home Run”

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreThe “Almost Rational” blogger, Steven Bilow, calls Good Friday In Jerusalem a “Home Run” in his review:

“Cappella Romana’s Good Friday in Jerusalem is a superb example of just how lovely this music can be. It was recorded in a Church at Stanford and engineered by some clearly acoustically savvy members of Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). It was created, structured, and directed by UBC Musicologist and CR Artistic Director Alexander Lingas, And it was sung by a very talented subset of the a very talented and multifaceted vocal ensemble. In short, it is one of the best recordings of Byzantine church music you’ll find. … Definitely worth a listen. Personally, I want to see them get their Grammy! Check it out.” —Steven Bilow, Almost Rational

Read the full review on the Almost Rational blog!

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Good Friday In Jerusalem #8 on Billboard Chart!

Thanks to all of you who pre-ordered and purchased during the first week of the release, Good Friday In Jerusalem debuted at #8 on the Traditional Classical Billboard Chart!

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Good Friday In Jerusalem in The Oregonian!

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreThe Oregonian‘s David Stabler features our Amazon chart-topping Good Friday In Jerusalem release:

“Alexander Lingas leads Cappella’s all-male version in stirring performances, anchored by bass drones underneath meditative melody. The feeling is profound, devotional and powerful in its simplicity, reflecting the pathos of Good Friday, the day Christ died. … Holding drone pitches and singing unisons are among the trickiest passages for singers to sustain, yet Cappella navigates these difficulties naturally and gracefully. This is music in their wheelhouse.” —David Stabler, The Oregonian

Read the full review on OregonLive.com

Good Friday In Jerusalem Now Available for Purchase and Download

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Steinberg: Passion Week Pre-Release Party at ACDA

Steinberg: Passion WeekFebruary 25-28, 2015 is the American Choral Directors Association Convention in Salt Lake City! As part of the celebrations, our new recording of Maximillian Steinberg’s Passion Week will be available for purchase nearly a month before its release date (March 24)! Find it at the Musica Russia booth, and during a read-along session of the score on Thursday, February 26 at 4pm!