Ivan Moody visits music composition class


In addition to working with the concert choir, Ivan Moody discussed composition with students from Oregon Episcopal School. The visit was hosted by Adam Steele, singer in Cappella Romana and on the music faculty at Oregon Episcopal School.

Tickets going fast for ARCTIC LIGHT

There are still a few of the best seats still available for the concerts of Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music, but they are selling quickly.

Order your tickets to ARCTIC LIGHT today at Brown Paper Tickets, 800-838-3006, or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.

More information about Arctic Light.

Fr. Ivan Moody concelebrates at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church


Fr. Ivan Moody (second from the right) concelebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church on Sunday morning, January 6, 2008. In addition to serving the liturgy, Fr. Ivan participated in the feast of Theophany, the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan, which culminated in the service of the Blessing of the Water.

Later, during a post-liturgy discussion, Fr. Ivan explained (among other things, such as his home in Portugal and parochial responsibilities there) that he is a composer, and that one of his latest compositions is a Tuba concerto, which seemed to mystify a number of people in the room who perhaps expected that he only wrote music for church services!

Arctic Light rehearsals begin


Fr. Ivan Moody has arrived from Portugal for a week-long residency with Cappella Romana. Here Fr. Ivan is shown conducting Cappella Romana in rehearsal, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in its new Hellenic American Cultural Center. (http://www.hellenicamericancc.org/)

Cappella Romana (Arctic Light) in the Japanese Press


Cappella Romana’s Arctic Light was picked up by Jen Magazine, shown above.

Messiah performances sell out


Portland Baroque Orchestra’s performances of Handel’s Messiah, with Cappella Romana as the chorus, have all sold out (four performances).

The first two performances on Thursday and Friday included Russian Orthodox music by Titov and Bortniansky.

Limited seats are available at the door. More information may be found at http://www.pbo.org.

Cappella Romana in good company

David Stabler, classical music critic for the Oregonian, mentioned Cappella Romana’s concert in November 2007 as one of the highlights of the season, alongside a concert by the David York Ensemble, Trio Mediaeval, and last night’s concert of the Tallis Scholars.

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“I can’t remember a fall season of such extraordinary choral concerts, from Cappella Romana’s premiere of Robert Kyr’s rapturous environmental oratorio, “A Time for Life,” to the heavenly stillness of David York Ensemble’s performance of “Miserere” by Henryk Gorecki, to Trio Mediaeval’s Norwegian folk magic, to the elaborately arched beauty of the Tallis Scholars.

Lucky us. “

Arctic Light is coming


(Now Father) Ivan Moody rehearsing Cappella Romana in January 2006.

ARCTIC LIGHT: FINNISH ORTHODOX MUSIC

Fr. Ivan Moody, guest director

Mikko Sidoroff (b. 1985), Panihida (excerpts), Kerubiveisu
Boris Jakubov (1894-1923), Ehtooveisu (Phos hilaron)
Pekka Attinen (1885-1956), Kerubiveisu no.3
Leonid Bashmakov (b. 1927), Pääsiäissunnuntain Iikossi (Paschal Ikos), Pääsiäisen Eksapostilaari No.2 (Paschal Exaposilarion)
Timo Ruottinen (b. 1947), Pyhä Jumala, Alkupsalmi
Ivan Moody (b. 1964), Te Apostolit…
Peter Mirolybov (Mirola) (1918-2000), Music for the Dormition of the Mother of God

Recorded Samples:
Ruottinen: Psalm 103
Ruottinen: Ehtooveisu (Phos hilaron from Vespers)
Bashmakov: Beatitudes

Sound samples from the CD Oi Jumalansynnyttäjä / O Theotokos Mother of Life, sung by the parish choir of the Tampere Orthodox Church, conducted by Timo Ruottinen (rehearsal pianist was Leonid Bashmakov).

Ivan Moody (recently ordained an Orthodox priest) returns to Portland this January to conduct Finnish choral works never before heard outside Finland that combine shining Northern clarity with Russian sonic richness. Moody is well known for his works for Trio Mediaeval (Words of an Angel, A Lion’s Sleep, and The Troparion of Kassiani), as well as his largest work to date, The Akáthistos Hymn, written for Cappella Romana and released on double CD.

This program of choral works from the Orthodox Church of Finland is led by one of the world’s foremost experts in the repertoire, the Rev. Ivan Moody, recently appointed chairman of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music in Joensuu, Finland.

While Orthodoxy was the earliest form of Christianity to reach Finland, its music was initially drawn from the rich Slavic tradition, subsequently adapted into the Finnish language.

In the 20th century, original works began to be composed in Finnish that drew upon the remarkable Finnish choral tradition, marrying the shining Northern clarity of sound with a sonic richness clearly related to the traditions of Russian choral singing.

Seattle-based singer Maria Männistö, 2007 Finlandia Foundation National Performer of the Year, will be a guest soprano and linguistic coach for the program.

The Orthodox Church in Finland serves the country’s important Orthodox minority, which has existed in the region since the 12th century, despite wars, shifting national borders, and other social upheavals.

The concert will feature a cappella choral works by composers such as Pekka Attinen, Boris Jakubov, Pekka Mirola, Leonid Bashmakov, Timo Ruottinen and the remarkable young 22-year-old composer Mikko Sidoroff. In addition, Ivan Moody’s new Finnish work Te Apostolit will be given its world première.

NEW Double CD | BYZANTIUM IN ROME: Medieval Byzantine Chant from Grottaferrata

NEW Double CD
BYZANTIUM IN ROME: Medieval Byzantine Chant from Grottaferrata

Click here to order.

Sound samples: Teleutaion Alleluia | Prosomoia for St. Benedict | Kontakion for St. Bartholomew | Communion for Pentecost

This release by Cappella Romana is a breathtaking collection of Medieval Byzantine Chant sung from manuscripts made at the Abbey of Grottaferrata in the suburban hills of Rome, which has operated continuously in the Byzantine rite since its founding before the Great Schism in 1004. During the Middle Ages, Grottaferrata was the site of an important scriptorium, the surviving manuscripts of which bear precious witness to musical repertories sung in Constantinople before the Crusader sack of 1204.

Click here to order.

Led by virtuoso cantor Ioannis Arvanitis, Cappella Romana recaptures on this recording the artistic vibrancy of medieval Italy’s Greek minority with ecstatic 13th-century chants. Disc one is devoted to the life and work of the monastery’s founders St. Neilos and St. Bartholomew, including kontakia in their honor, and an excerpt of a kanon for St. Benedict that was very likely composed for a Greek-rite all-night vigil at the Benedictine community at Montecassino in Sicily. Disc two features music for Pentecost, beginning with excerpts of its two kanons, the alleluiarion, and the communion verse for the feast. The central work on disc two is the Teleutaion (Final Antiphon) of the kneeling vespers in the medieval cathedral rite, featuring extended psalmody and ecstatic settings of the angelic refrain “Alleluia,” foreshadowing the beautified (“kalophonic”) chant of St. John Koukouzeles.

The booklet features a substantial essay on the music and its context by musicologist and Cappella Romana artistic director Dr. Alexander Lingas, and complete original texts in Greek with English translations by Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash). Beautiful photography of the Byzantine Abbey of Grottaferrata, taken on Cappella Romana’s tour there in May 2006, illustrates the booklet, as well as a sample of medieval Byzantine notation (as opposed to contemporary notation in the received tradition) drawn from the opening verse of the Teleutaion in the Grottaferrata manuscript Psaltikon Ashburnamensis 64. The CDs combined feature over 82 minutes of music.

Two CDs (CD1: The Founders of Grottaferrata; CD2: The Feast of Pentecost).

Click here to order.

Review of A TIME FOR LIFE

Today’s Oregonian posted an excellent review of Cappella Romana’s program, A Time for Life. A PDF of that review can be viewed here:

Review of A Time for Life, The Oregonian, November 5, 2007

Full text also here:

‘Time’ cries out for planet’s salvation

Monday, November 05, 2007

DAVID STABLER

The Oregonian Staff

A tenor walked slowly down the aisle of the church, between pews crammed with listeners. He sang softly to God, as if he were praying alone and we were invisible.

As he sang, something in his voice, a quality located somewhere between speculation and belief, said: We are all dying. Look at our brokenness.

Robert Kyr’s new environmental oratorio — I can’t think of another way to describe it — shimmered through St. Mary’s Cathedral on Friday, a twig trembling on the lip of the falls. Kyr’s music wept for the Earth. It shuddered and then grew stronger, blooming into beauty before evaporating in silence.

In our vast and seemingly hopeless effort to save the planet, “A Time for Life” is a tiny note in a bottle, reminding us that we are here but momentarily — “trembling with joy,” as soprano LeaAnne DenBeste sang on a brief, stabbing, ecstatic G. Or, as Robert Bly put it, “Like a note of music, you are about to become nothing.”

And yet, “A Time for Life” also suggests that we, the living, are survivors. We have crawled out of a sea of amino acids and although we have stained our altar stone of land, we can fix it. Kyr, as we’ve heard in his anti-war symphonies, is an optimist, a gentle witness of conscience, and this chanting piece is as much about spiritual recovery as it is about loss. “A Time for Life” begs us to remember and restore the Earth’s grandeur.

How Portland. How Northwest. That’s not a putdown, but an acknowledgement that, faced with our “paper or plastic” ethics, our choked roads and a Superfund, polluted Willamette River, in our hearts we believe that our air will one day be fresh again, our fields green, our rivers clean, our streets filled with bicycles, and Mount Hood will forever watch over our idealic valley.

We hear from politicians about global warming all the time. We read about going “green” until we’re blue in the face. Now, composers such as Kyr are putting the message into music.

“A Time for Life” contains no roaring river of sound in the style of Philip Glass or John Adams. With his Quaker background, Kyr combines tender, sometimes rapturous, lyricism with a whiff of Byzantine incense. Sophisticated canons and double choruses synthesize both modern and ancient modes, and Western and Asian musical traditions. And yet, his best music sounds artless.

During an hour of music, the eight excellent voices of Cappella Romana (sopranos DenBeste and Stephanie Kramer, altos Jo Routh and Tuesday Rupp, tenors John Michael Boyer and Leslie W. Green, baritone Mark Powell and bass David Stutz) lapped the walls with words from Sioux and Eskimo prayers, biblical psalms and Greek Orthodox texts. Three Renaissance stringed instruments (played by the superb Margriet Tindemans, Shira Kammen and David Morris) summoned the ancients while grounding the singers’ voices in rolling chords. A useful musical reference here may be the mystical music of Arvo Part and Henryk Gorecki.

Slants of melody set the mind adrift. If a million solar systems are born every hour, how many may have burst into being during the five-lined Navajo chant “Restore my feet for me?” as voices overlapped in canon?

A moment of beauty arrived with an Ojibwa prayer: “In all creation, only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way.” We had just heard Green and Powell howl at the shepherds who neglected their flocks — a rousing duet, expertly sung — when the mood shifted to supplication, as all eight voices pleaded for compassion “so we may heal the Earth.” The music broadened like a river delta with DenBeste’s bell-like voice again soaring on high.

By the end of the piece, with an inventory of crimes stacked against us, Kyr let us off gently. Flooding the church in a confluence of voices and instruments, the music swelled in homophonic splendor as the singers turned to the audience, singing, “Beauty before me, beauty behind me.”

It’s not a mystery, Kyr was saying as the singers walked slowly back up the aisles. The music tells us how to behave.

David Stabler: 503-221-8217; davidstabler@news.oregonian.com; http://blog.oregonlive.com/classicalmusic/