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

Read the full review on 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!

Orthodox Arts Journal Review for Good Friday

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreThe Orthodox Arts Journal asks “How can music be alive?” in On History and Tradition: A Review of Cappella Romana’s “Good Friday in Jerusalem”.

Good Friday in Jerusalem is no exception to the level of quality that audiences have come to expect from Cappella Romana’s recordings; the singing on the disc is at once rich, incisive, alive, and achingly beautiful. … The fact is that Byzantine chant is a tradition that is still growing and changing, like any living thing, and so the old and the new remain connected. In this way, a recording like Good Friday in Jerusalem has the capacity to inspire and influence the work of living composers of Byzantine chant, and it should. Even though some of the music on this disc is separated from today’s composers and chanters by nearly nine centuries, it is clear that both speak the same musical language and share the same musical culture in a deep way. … But in a living musical tradition, music being old is not in itself a problem, no more than the inner rings of a tree present a problem to the branches. In the context of a living tradition, the old and the new are one, with the old continuously watering the new at the same time as the new keeps the old alive. As long as Cappella Romana continues its work, there is good hope, I think, that the Byzantine chant tradition will not only stay alive, but will grow and thrive for some time yet.” —Benedict Sheehan, Orthodox Arts Journal

Read the full review and essay on the Orthodox Arts Journal

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Help Cappella Romana Make the Billboard Classical Chart

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreORDER NOW

Our “irresistible” (Audiophile Audition) new album Good Friday in Jerusalem is on sale today (February 10)! We need your help to boost the record to the top of the Billboard Classical Chart.

“This is not only Cappella Romana’s 20th recording, but it’s also one of the most compelling,” says Mark Powell, executive director of Cappella Romana and the disc’s executive producer. “This music was profound for its original listeners over a thousand years ago, but it also has intense power to move people today.”

If everyone interested in the record orders at least one copy on release day, Cappella Romana hopes the rapid spike in sales from the moment of the disc’s release will be picked up by Amazon’s algorithms for tracking the popularity of albums in each musical genre.

Once Good Friday in Jerusalem has secured a spot on Amazon’s “HOT NEW RELEASES” list, the subsequent attention from classical music fans outside our community will create a ripple effect and carry this remarkable recording to the top of the Billboard chart.

Many of you have already pre-ordered your copy – THANK YOU. If you haven’t yet, please do so now!

Working together during this brief window, we have an opportunity to catapult a landmark work into the spotlight where it truly belongs. With your help, it can be done!

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Good Friday In Jerusalem Now Available!

Good Friday In Jerusalem Now Available for Purchase and Download

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Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Alexander Lingas, artistic director and soloist; Stelios Kontakiotis, principal soloist; Spyridon Antonopoulos, John Michael Boyer, Constantine Kokenes, Mark Powell, melodists; Theodor Dumitrescu, David Krueger, Adam Steele, David Stutz, isokrates; Ioannis Arvanitis, performing editions;

Produced since 2004 by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Steve Barnett, Cappella Romana performs “music of purity and radiance” (Gramophone) in concerts of “luminous beauty” (Washington Post). Appearances in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Athens, Utrecht, Regensburg, and in the US Northwest all demonstrate how Cappella Romana “continues its ascent” (Wall Street Journal).

With Good Friday in Jerusalem, Cappella Romana’s intrepid male ensemble features international cantors from Greece, the UK, and the US, with Stelios Kontakiotis from Tinos, Greece, as principal soloist. Together they perform these chants with captivating modal inflections that underscore the deep pathos and personal drama of Good Friday. These profound selections for the 8th- and 9th-century ceremonies invoke an elaborate stational liturgy in Jerusalem’s most sacred Christian sites. Recorded in the splendid Stanford Memorial Church and sung in Byzantine Greek.

Extensive scholarly article by founding artistic director Dr. Alexander Lingas (City University London, University of Oxford), with full texts in Greek and translations in English.

Read the Liner Notes

Good Friday In Jerusalem Concert Program

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreOur concert features excerpts from the “Service of the Holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ” as it would have been celebrated in Jerusalem during the tenth century. The ancestor of the service celebrated in the modern Byzantine rite on Holy Thursday evening, this is a stational version of the office of early morning prayer (matins or orthros, literally “dawn”) in which eleven gospel readings narrate the events of the Passion of Jesus from his Last Discourse to his disciples to his burial. The texts and rubrics of the Typikon of the Anastasis form the basis of our reconstruction, supplemented by notated musical settings for its chants transmitted in later manuscripts. Extant sources with Byzantine melodic notation date from the tenth century, with readily decipherable versions available in chantbooks copied from the late twelfth century onwards. Dr. Ioannis Arvanitis, a leading authority on medieval Byzantine musical rhythm and performance practice, edited the scores used today by Cappella Romana.

The morning or dawn (orthros) office for Holy Friday began in the middle of the night on the Mount of Olives and featured a series of processions taking worshippers to shrines at Gethsemane and other sites associated with the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. The first half of the service was dominated musically by an anonymous series of fifteen antiphons that accompanied and commented on events recounted in the first six gospel readings. This evening we will be singing selections from antiphons sung on and below the Mount of Olives (Antiphons 1 and 4 respectively), as well as in the final one chanted at Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) built on the reputed site of the palace of Pontius Pilate (Antiphon 15). After this, the assembly processed to the atrium of the church of the Anastasis (known in medieval times as the “Center of the Earth”), where the Beatitudes and other hymns were sung before the reading of the Seventh Gospel.

Cappella Romana - Good Friday in JerusalemThe service approaches its climax with “The Paradise in Eden,” a chant sung on the way to the Place of the Skull. The Eighth Gospel (Luke 23:32–49; omitted) was read upon arrival at Golgotha, followed by the singing of the Three-Ode Kanon by Kosmas the Melodist. Each ode consists of a model stanza (heirmos), a series of metrically and melodically identical stanzas (troparia), and a reprise of the heirmos (the katavasia). The poetic odes of kanons were originally composed to provide thematically appropriate theological commentary for the invariable sequence of nine biblical canticles or “odes” sung at Palestinian morning prayer. Three biblical odes—Isaiah 26:9–20 (Ode 5), the Hymn of the Three Youths from Daniel 3 (Ode 8), and the Magnificat and Benedictus (Ode 9=Luke 1:46–56, 68–79)—were appointed for Lenten Fridays, leading Kosmas to echo their themes in his musical meditation on the betrayal and trial of Jesus. The conclusion of the Kanon in tenth-century Jerusalem was marked by two hymns called “Exaposteilaria,” of which we sing the first, and chanting of the Ninth Gospel.

It was (and remains) customary to insert other chants and readings at certain points within a kanon. Thus the Typikon of the Anastasis places between Odes 5 and 8 the prologue and first stanza of the Kontakion on the Mary at the Cross by Romanos the Melodist. Romanos was a deacon from Beirut who settled in Constantinople during the early sixth century. There he distinguished himself as the greatest composer of the multi-stanza hymns that came to be known, after the scrolls on which they were copied, as kontakia. By the tenth century two melodic traditions had been developed for kontakia: a simple one consigned mainly to oral tradition, and a florid one transmitted in the Psaltikon, a musical collection created for the soloists of Justinian’s Great Church of Hagia Sophia. On the present concert we both the simple and elaborate melodies of the prologue to this kontakion.

In both Palestine and Constantinople the arrival of dawn was marked in daily prayer by the singing of Psalms 148–150, known collectively as Lauds. Whereas the Late Antique custom of chanting these psalms throughout with simple refrains was retained in the Constantinopolitan cathedral rite, churches associated with Jerusalem began interpolating hymns known as stichera between their concluding verses (stichoi). From the ten hymns appointed by the Typikon of the Anastasis for Lauds on Holy Friday we select seven. The first two are anonymous hymns sung to a standard model melody and assigned in modern service books to Thursday evening prayer. The remaining five stichera are through-composed works known as idiomela. A hymn in Mode 1 evoking the cosmic dimensions of Christ’s crucifixion by Theophanes Protothronos, Archbishop of Caesarea (9th c.), is followed by another written by same composer in Mode 2 commenting on his abandonment to execution. The Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (reigned 886–912) contributes a moving portrayal of the Virgin Mary lamenting at the foot of the Cross set in Mode 2. Another hymn on the rejection of Jesus by an anonymous “Byzantine” author in Mode 3 leads to the final chant of Lauds, a meditation on the Passion by an unnamed monk from the Constantinopolitan monastery of Stoudios.

We then jump over a series of prayers, readings and hymns to the Eleventh (and final) Gospel, which offers John’s account of the burial of Christ. After a few more prayers and a litany, the patriarch and archdeacon processed to a reliquary chapter behind Golgotha, from which the patriarch retrieved the cross and then carried it on his shoulders to the Chapel of the Holy Custody that was located on the other side of the atrium. At this chapel a short service evidently derived from the liturgical practices of Constantinople preceded the dismissal of the Passion Office. It consisted of dismissal of a brief reading from Zechariah (11:10–13) and several chants, the last of which was the Prokeimenon “May you, Lord, guard us,” a responsorial chant from the Psaltikon.

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Concert:

  • In Procession to the Mount of Olives
    Antiphon One in Mode Plagal 4
  • At the Holy Place of Veneration (Proskynesis) at the Foot of the Mount of Olives
    Antiphon 4 in Modes Plagal 1 and 1
  • At the Pavement (Lithostroton) in Hagia Sophia
    Antiphon 15
  • At the Center of the Earth (the Atrium of the Anastasis)
    Seventh Gospel – Matt. 27:33-54
  • In Procession to Golgotha (the Place of the Skull)
  • Processional Sticheron “The Paradise in Eden” in Mode Plagal 4
  • At Golgotha
    Three-Ode Kanon (Triodion) in Mode Plagal 2 — Kosmas the Melodist (8th c.)
  • Ode 5
  • Kontakion on Mary at the Cross — Romanos the Melodist (6th c.)
    (Syllabic and Psaltikon melodies)

    • Ode 8
    • Ode 9
  • Ninth Gospel – John 19:25–37
  • Exaposteilarion Automelon: “O Lord, who on that very day”
  • Lauds: Psalms 148–50 (selected verses) in Mode 4
    • Stichera Prosomoia in Mode 4
      • “When all creation saw you crucified”
      • “The eternal record of Adam”
    • Sticheron Idiomelon in Mode 1 “All creation was changed” — Theophanes Protothronos (9th c.)
    • Stichera Idiomelon in Mode 2
      • “Impious and lawless people” — Theophanes Protothronos
      • “When she saw you, O Christ” —  Leo VI the Wise (866–912)
    • Stichera Idiomela in Mode 3
      • “Israel my firstborn son” Byzantios
      • Doxastikon: “Each member of your holy flesh” Stoudites
  • Eleventh Gospel – John 19:38–42
  • At the Chapel of the Holy Custody (Hagia Phylake)
    Prokeimenon “May you, Lord, guard us” in Mode Plagal 1

Good Friday in Jerusalem — Portland & Seattle

Seattle

TICKETS

Friday, 6 February 2015, 8:00pm
St. Joseph’s Parish

Portland

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Saturday, 7 February 2015, 8:00pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral


TICKETS

Sunday, 8 February 2015, 2:00pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral

Good Friday in Jerusalem — Video from London

Cappella Romana releases its 20th recording in conjunction with performances of music for Good Friday in Jerusalem THIS WEEKEND. Directed by Alexander Lingas featuring solo psaltis Stelios Kontakiotis. This film features the performance at London’s oldest church, St-Bartholomew-the-Great in the City of London.

Pre-Order Good Friday in Jerusalem on Amazon Today!

Good Friday in Jerusalem — Portland & Seattle

Hear Medieval Byzantine chant, the fraternal repertoire to Latin chant in the West, composed for 8th and 9th-century celebrations of Holy Week in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Hymns from the seventh to the ninth centuries by Jerusalem’s great church fathers—Patriarch Sophronios, Kosmas the Melodist, and Saint John Damascene—include the famous Orthodox hymn “Semeron krematai” (“Today He who is hung upon the tree”) sung to its original medieval melody.

Seattle

TICKETS

Friday, 6 February 2015, 8:00pm
St. Joseph’s Parish

Portland

TICKETS

Saturday, 7 February 2015, 8:00pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral


TICKETS

Sunday, 8 February 2015, 2:00pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral