MusicWeb International Reviews Good Friday In Jerusalem

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreMusicWeb International critic Garry Higginson recalls his own Holy Week in Jerusalem experience while listening to Cappella Romana’s new Good Friday in Jerusalem recording:

“Jerusalem was filled with people of all nations, as befits a city of pilgrimage. Droves of superior-looking tourists who had come to gaze curiously on the rites of the Eastern Church were queerly mixed with humble Eastern Christians. That was in 1984 when I was there for what turned out to be a richly memorable week.

I was told that if I wanted to witness the Greek ceremony of the feet washing I should rise at 5.00 am and join the crowds for the 8:00 am start that was eventually 9.00 am. It was here that I first heard what we could call Byzantine chant. The singing was steadily and rhythmically paced to match the slow procession of Copts and Egyptian Christians walking out of the church of the Holy Sepulchre where they had been chanting and praying for an hour before. It is quite unlike the free and liquid movement of Gregorian chant — utterly unforgettable. The church bell, which rang later, had a haunting rhythm and tone quality, which I can still recall.

Listening to this CD especially during this Holy Week (2015) has brought it all back and the helpful diagram of the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in the booklet reminds me of the astounding church which dominates the area. …” —Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International

Read the full review on www.musicweb-international.com

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ClassicalNet: Passion Week is An Ethereal Experience

Steinberg: Passion WeekClassicalNet‘s Brian Wigman says Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week is an example of why he’s “been a fan of Cappella Romana for a few years now”:

“I’ve been a fan of Cappella Romana for a few years now, and they have thoroughly enriched our understanding of Orthodox choral music from all over the world. Director Alexander Lingas – who also provides the detailed, yet accessible notes for this release – marshals his forces to create an immaculate blend and an ethereal experience. … [Steinberg’s] writing is distinctive in its own way and wholly captivating … there is much to savor in the beautiful harmonies and soaring melodies. Cappella Romana does this sort of thing better than anyone, and there is literally nothing to criticize from a technical standpoint. … The texts and translations are always welcome, and the whole project is as well-crafted and professional as one could wish. This is a major addition to any choral library.” —Brian Wigman, ClassicalNet

Read the full review on www.classical.net

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Passion Week a MusicWeb Recording of the Month

Steinberg: Passion WeekMusicWeb International critic John Quinn names our Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week a RECORDING OF THE MONTH!

Passion Week is one of the finest and most moving Orthodox settings that I’ve encountered and I’ve been excited by getting to know it. It’s particularly pleasing that this music should receive its first recording from such a fine choir: Cappella Romana have done Steinberg proud.

Every aspect of the presentation of this release is first rate. The recording is excellent. The acoustic of St Stephen Catholic Church is warm and sympathetic and the engineers have conveyed the right amount of natural resonance without letting the sound of the choir become diffuse in any way. The singers are nicely balanced and lots of detail registers. There’s a fine dynamic range and the climaxes open up in a very satisfying way. The booklet is excellent, not least for the absorbing essay about the music by Alexander Lingas.” —John Quinn

Read the full review on www.musicweb-international.com

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#7 Billboard Debut for Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week!

Thanks to all of you who pre-ordered and purchased during the first week of the release, Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week debuted at #7 on the Traditional Classical Billboard Charts!

Maximilian Steinberg Passion Week Billboard Charts

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The Choral Stream Recap

If you missed Friday’s Passion Week Choral Stream presented by American Public Media and Classical MPR, you can still get a look back at all the action thanks to the live conversations on Twitter:


You can also catch the interview with Passion Week producer, Steve Barnett, in “An Insider’s Perspective on Steinberg’s ‘Passion Week’”.

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Minnesota Public Radio Features Passion Week!

Steinberg: Passion WeekClassical MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) is featuring recordings for Holy Week, and Thursday will be broadcasting our Passion Week recording on Thursday, April 2 at 10am(Central)/8am (Pacific)! Bookmark www.classicalmpr.org today to stream the broadcast!

The name of Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) will be a new one to almost all music lovers. As this release from the ensemble Cappella Romana shows, he’s a worthy member of the great Russian choral tradition.

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Harmonia Early Music Features Good Friday in Jerusalem

Indiana Public Media’s Harmonia Early Music program features Good Friday In Jerusalem as a part of their “Music for Christian Holy Week” episode, and names it their Featured CD!

Listen to the program and find information on all of the tracks at www.indianapublicmedia.org:

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Passion Week Review

Steinberg: Passion WeekSarah Bryan Miller says Passion Week helps to “fill the gap” in music for Holy Week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“In ‘Passion Week,’ which receives its world premiere recording here, that style is lushly traditional in the Russian Orthodox style. It’s paired with Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Chants for Holy Week.’ It’s all beautifully sung by Cappella Romana, a Portland, Ore.-based professional choir. It provides a satisfying musical tour of the conclusion of the season of Lent.” —Sarah Bryan Miller, Passion Week

See the full post at www.sltoday.com

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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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