Good Friday In Jerusalem Liner Notes

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreIn the year 637 AD the orthodox Christian Patriarch Sophronios (d. 638) surrendered Byzantine Jerusalem to the Arab Caliph Umar, inaugurating a period of Muslim rule in the Holy City that would last until its conquest by Latin Crusaders in 1099. Although subject to tribute, Jerusalem’s Christian inhabitants retained the right to continue celebrating both for themselves and for visiting pilgrims their distinctive forms of worship. These services made extensive use of the shrines associated with life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that had been created with imperial patronage in the years that followed the official legitimation of Christianity by Roman Emperor Constantine I in 313.

Constantine and his mother Helen had sponsored the most important of these edifices: the cathedral complex of the Holy Sepulchre built on the accepted site of Jesus’ crucifixion and entombment. Its major components were a large basilica (the Martyrium), an inner atrium incorporating the hill of Golgotha, the Rotunda of the Anastasis (Resurrection) over Christ’s tomb, and a baptistry. Egeria, a Spanish pilgrim of the late fourth century, describes in her diary how every week the clergy, monastics, and laity of late fourth-century Jerusalem would gather on Saturday evening and Sunday morning to remember the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus with readings, prayers, and psalmody performed at historically appropriate locations within the cathedral compound. These same events of sacred history were commemorated annually in a more elaborate fashion during Great and Holy Week, which climaxed with Easter Sunday (Pascha). Holy Week services in Jerusalem incorporated the buildings on Golgotha into a larger system of stational liturgy that made full use of the city’s sacred topography.

Cathedral complex of the Holy Selpulchre, 4th c.

Cathedral complex of the Holy Selpulchre, 4th c.

The musical repertories created for worship in the Holy City developed gradually over the centuries out of patterns of interaction between the secular (urban church) and monastic singers of Jerusalem and those of other ecclesiastical centres. Monks from the monastery founded by St Sabas (439–532) in the desert southeast of Jerusalem became active participants in worship at the Holy Sepulchre, which maintained a resident colony of ascetics later known as the spoudaioi. Responsorial and antiphonal settings of biblical psalms and canticles formed the base of cathedral and monastic liturgical repertories. Palestinian poet-singers subsequently increased the number, length, and musical complexity of the refrains sung between the biblical verses, leading by the sixth century (and possibly earlier) to the creation of hymnals organised according to a system of eight musical modes (the Octoechos). The contents of the earliest hymnbooks from Jerusalem are preserved today only in Armenian and Georgian translations.

Until the recent discovery of a few Greek sources for the urban rite of Jerusalem among the New Finds of the Holy Monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai, the most important surviving Greek witness to cathedral worship in the Holy City was the so-called Typikon of the Anastasis. Copied in 1122, this manuscript (Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem MS Hagios Stauros 43) contains services for the seasons of Lent and Easter as celebrated prior to the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre complex by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim in 1009 (and probably also, according to recent research (Galadza 2013), for many decades after its Byzantine reconstruction). Older and newer chants presented without musical notation coexist in the Typikon of the Anastasis. Thus works from the apogee of Christian Palestinian hymnody—a period initiated by the liturgical works of Sophronios and continued by the eighth-century poet-composers Andrew of Crete, John of Damascus and Kosmas the Melodist—are integrated with hymns by writers working within the traditions of the Constantinopolitan monastery of Stoudios. The latter had, at the behest of its abbot Theodore, adopted a variant of the monastic liturgy of St Sabas at the beginning of the ninth century. The resulting Stoudite synthesis of Palestinian and Constantinopolitan traditions was a crucial stage in the formation of the cycles of worship employed in the modern Byzantine rite.

Cappella Romana - Good Friday in JerusalemThe present recording features excerpts from the Service of the Holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ as it would have been celebrated in Jerusalem during the transitional period of its ritual Byzantinisation. An archaic cousin 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 in a sequence beginning with his Last Discourse to his disciples (John 13:31–18:1) and ending with his burial (John 19:38–42). 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 manuscripts ranging in date from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries. Manuscripts with archaic and intervallically imprecise forms of Byzantine musical signs (neumes) were consulted alongside the earliest available versions of Passion chants in the readily decipherable Middle Byzantine Notation, a system that was employed from the later twelfth century until the notational reform by the ‘Three Teachers’ (Chrysanthos of Madytos, Chourmouzios the Archivist, and Gregorios the Protopsaltes) first introduced in 1814. Dr Ioannis Arvanitis, a leading authority on medieval Byzantine musical rhythm and performance practice, then edited and transcribed the chants into the Chrysanthine ‘New Method’ of Byzantine notation for use by the singers of Cappella Romana.

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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

Coming February 10, 2015! HELP US CHART THE RECORD by pre-ordering!

Pre-Order on Amazon! 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. Pre-Order on Amazon!

Good Friday in Jerusalem “in hand”

Stock of our February Good Friday in Jerusalem CD is now in hand! Street date for this release is February 10, but you can pre-order on Amazon NOW!

Good Friday In Jerusalem CD In Hand

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Cappella Romana’s latest release is in conjunction with our Good Friday in Jerusalem Concert Series in Seattle and Portland, February 6-8! 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.

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Echoes of the Renaissance Photos

Echoes of the Renaissance – Pre-Concert Talks

gil_seeleyDr. Gil Seeley, music professor emeritus of Lewis and Clark College and of the Oregon Repertory Singers, will give the pre-concert talks for “Echoes of the Renaissance.” He was a classmate of Tikey Zes at the University of Southern California, and also knew Greek American composer and church musician Frank Desby, also a graduate of USC.

Tikey Zes was first to record Ockeghem’s Missa Mimi on Lyrachord LP in 1964; when Gil Seeley heard it for the first time it was “a revelation,” says Seeley.

Cappella Romana has obtained a rare copy of this LP.

Dr. Seeley will be playing excerpts of this recording, and of Cappella Romana’s CD of the Divine Liturgy by Tikey Zes, who is greatly influenced by Ockeghem and other Renaissance composers.

Pre-concert talks begin one hour prior to the concerts on January 9, 10, and 11.

More information here about the concerts.

Echoes of the Renaissance — Program Notes

Ockeghem MiMi Kyrie MS Vat234_excerpt680-361In his magisterial The Rise of European Music, 1380–1500, Reinhard Strohm traces the development and dissemination of complex styles of music written with multiple voice parts using measured (‘mensural’) notation that enabled precise rhythmic coordination of the voices. By the middle of the fifteenth century the most notable centers for the production of this polyphonic (‘many voiced’) music were religious establishments in the cities and courts of northwestern Europe that trained singer-composers such as Guillaume Dufay (ca. 1397–1474), Johannes Ockeghem (ca. 1410–ca. 1497), Jacob Obrecht (ca. 1457–1505), Josquin Desprez (ca. 1450–1521), and Adrian Willaert (ca. 1490–1562) who took up influential musical posts elsewhere and thus assured that polyphony became a pan-European style of art music. Subsequent generations of composers of polyphonic music modified the style in various ways, on the one hand refining and systematizing its techniques of combining independent voices in counterpoint, and on the other responding to classicising trends in Renaissance humanist thought regarding the proper setting of text.

Codified for subsequent generations in the music theory of Gioseffo Zarlino (1517–1590) and the works of composers including Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (ca. 1525–1594), Orlande de Lassus (ca. 1530–1594), and Tomás Luis da Victoria (1548–1611), the resulting synthesis has continued to echo through the centuries. At the dawn of the seventeenth century Claudio Monteverdi enshrined the High Renaissance style of polyphony as the ‘First Practice’ of music, an appellation that within a few decades had been changed to the ‘Stile antico’. Composers working through the nineteenth century continued to draw selectively on the ‘Old Style’ in their vocal and instrumental works, even as a few pieces by actual Renaissance composers persisted in the repertories of church choirs.

Interest in the full inheritance of Renaissance polyphony awakened in the later nineteenth century thanks to nationalist and revivalist movements across Europe, the most prominent being the Caecilian Movement amongst Catholic Germans to revive chant and the music of Palestrina. Coinciding with the rise of academic musicology, these movements sought to recover the heritage of musical pasts that were seen as offering forms of expression that were somehow purer than the Italian styles of operatic and instrumental music that had become internationally dominant in Western Art Music during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As a result vast quantities of early polyphony were studied and published, thereby laying the foundations of the modern Early Music movement.

Dr. Tikey ZesAlthough this search for musical roots and the revival of early repertories that it engendered strongly influenced the course of sacred music in late Tsarist Russia through the work of the Moscow Synodal School, only sporadically has it affected the composition of Greek Orthodox liturgical music. After the Second World War in California, however, a group of young Greek American composers began to set Byzantine chants for mixed chorus using the techniques of polyphony they had encountered in their universities and in American concert life. Three of these composers received their doctorates from the University of Southern California: Frank Desby (1922–92), for much of his life Director of Music at St Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral; Peter Michaelides (b. 1930), who later continued his academic career in the Midwest; and Tikey Zes (b. 1927), whose contributions both to Early Music and Greek Orthodox liturgical music are being honoured in these concerts.

Following a move to the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr Zes made a pair of LP recordings for the Lyrichord label in the 1960s representing his parallel work in these fields. With the choir of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Ascension in Oakland, where he was then director of music, he recorded an album of Greek Orthodox liturgical music dominated by his own choral settings for mixed voices and organ. For the other album he directed the Berkeley Chamber Singers in a landmark recording of two settings of the ordinary of the Roman mass by Johannes Ockeghem, a composer who for much of his life served the royal family of France: the Missa Fors seulement, which is based upon the tenor of the composer’s own setting of the secular song Fors seulement, and the Missa My my.

The designation ‘My my’ is attached to the mass in the Chigi Codex (Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Chigi C VIII 234) and, according to Ross Duffin, appears to refer to the piece being in one of the Phrygian modes (based on the note E=’mi’ in solfège). The mass shows a musical relationship to the composer’s setting of the virelai (a form of secular song) Presque transi. Gayle C. Kirkwood has furthermore suggested that a form of theological allegory may be encoded in the mass, whereby the citations of the song and the recurrence of the musical interval of a fifth could have been read by the clerics of St Martin of Tours, where Ockeghem for many years was attached as treasurer, as referring to the Passion of Christ. At all events, the Missa My my is a work of polyphonic mastery that shows in the sophisticated development of its musical lines the skill that Josquin later eulogized in his Déploration on the death of Ockeghem. On the present programme we offer four of the five movements of this mass alongside seasonal works by three composers of the late Renaissance that Dr Zes has cited as influential on his own development: Palestrina, Victoria and Lassus.

Divine Liturgy Tikey Zes_Cappella Romana_Classical CDs Online

The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (1991/96)

The Divine Liturgy bearing the name of St John Chrysostom (d. 407) is the form of the Eucharist celebrated most frequently in the modern Byzantine rite. Like the communion services of most other Christian traditions, it features two large sections: a service of the Word that climaxes with readings from the New Testament and concludes with the dismissal of those preparing for baptism (the catechumens); and a service of the already initiated Faithful during which the Gifts of Bread and Wine are brought to the altar and offered in a great prayer of thanksgiving (the Eucharistic Prayer or anaphora) before being distributed as the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. In common with the Roman mass, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy also contains both invariable (ordinary) and variable (proper) chants.

Dr Zes has written several choral settings in Greek and English of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, the first of which was published in 1978. He completed the setting featured on the second half of our concert in 1991, leading to its concert premiere the following year by Cappella Romana, to which he later dedicated an expanded edition of the work in 1996. It is a collection of choral settings intended for Orthodox liturgical use and, like many other such publications (for example, Tchaikovsky’s All-Night Vigil, op. 52), includes more music than would ever be required for a single service. For the present concert performances we offer excerpts from a normal Sunday celebration of the Liturgy by a single priest, a service that without abbreviation would last between ninety minutes and two hours.

Although Dr Zes’s 1996 Liturgy often echoes Byzantine chant in Modes 1, Plagal 1 and, less often, Plagal 4, the vast majority of its melodies are original. Musical unity is provided instead through such formal devices as the recurrence of invertible counterpoint—that is, the switching of melodies among the voice parts—in the antiphons, Trisagion and Communion Verse. Despite the paucity of recognisable chants, the 1996 Liturgy bears the marks of a composer long engaged with the traditions of Orthodox worship. Choral responses uttered in musical dialogue with the celebrant are, in keeping with their liturgical function, generally short, homophonic and unaccompanied. Only at liturgically or textually significant points does the musical texture thicken as parts multiply in passages of homophonic declamation or dense counterpoint (examples of the latter may be heard in the musical evocations of angelic worship of the Trisagion, Cherubic Hymn, Sanctus (‘Holy, Holy, Holy’), Megalynarion and Communion Verse). Cumulatively opulent in its variety, level of difficulty and ecstatic polyphonic climaxes, this Liturgy achieves a balance of splendour with restraint that is, its echoes of the Renaissance notwithstanding, thoroughly Byzantine.



Friday, 9 January 2015, 8:00pm
St. Joseph’s Parish



Saturday, 10 January 2015, 8:00pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral


Sunday, 11 January 2015, 2:00pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral

Watch Cappella Romana’s Twelfth Night Performance

Watch the full performance from the Twelfth Night Festival in New York City courtesy of Trinity Wall Street!

Trinity Wall Street Performance

Ockeghem Missa Mimi

Cappella Romana will perform the Missa Mimi by Johannes Ockeghem alongside excerpts from The Divine Liturgy by Tikey Zes in this weekend’s “Echoes of the Renaissance” concerts. Here, Dr. Tikey Zes conducts the Berkeley Chamber Singers in the Ockeghem Missa Mimi in a 1964 recording, likely the first recording ever made of this remarkable work.

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Looking Back on Arctic Light

As 2014 comes to a close, we look back on our Arctic Light concert and February CD release:

Video from the Arctic Light Concert:

Stream our Messiah Performance on AllClassical FM

Messiah on AllClassical FM
Courtesy of Portland’s AllClassical FM, you can listen to our performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Portland Baroque Orchestra from now through January 6, 2015! Visit today!

Audio Courtesy of All Classical: