Category: Alexander Lingas

Congratulations Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos

Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos

All of us at Cappella Romana wish to congratulate Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos on his being awarded a PhD in Musicology at City University London today. He was advised (with a dissertation on the Byzantine composer and theorist Manuel Chrysaphes) by Cappella Romana’s founder and artistic director Dr. Alexander Lingas, who serves on the faculty at City University London as Reader in Music.

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

BBC Radio 4 Features Alexander Lingas

BBC Radio 4 interviews Cappella Romana artistic director Alexander Lingas in the second episode of the series, Byzantium Unearthed, and Cappella Romana can be heard in the opening of the first episode as well as throughout! Click below to listen to Episode Two; Alexander Lingas comes in around 15:00 mark:

BBCRadio4 Alexander Lingas Interview

Cappella Romana Thank You Notes

Cappella Romana Executive Director Mark Powell writes his Thanksgiving Thank You Notes:

GT_2014Web-Banner_250x250_1Join the #GivingTuesday movement by making a gift to Cappella Romana on or before December 2nd.

Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a global movement born in 2012 to shine a light on giving back. It’s a holiday designed to rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday: a day to focus on what really matters.

And follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter!

Ways to Support Cappella Romana

Your support, at any level, is vital and makes a difference!

Save the Date — #GivingTuesday



After Two Days of Shopping, #GivingTuesday is a day to give back

December 2nd, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global movement born in 2012 to shine a light on giving back. Make a gift to Cappella Romana by December 2nd.

#GivingTuesdayIt is a holiday designed to rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday: a day to focus on what really matters.

Save the date and follow the Cappella Romana countdown to #GivingTuesday on Facebook and Twitter!

Join the movement and participate in Giving Tuesday by making a contribution to Cappella Romana on or before December 2nd.

Ways to Support Cappella Romana

Alexander Lingas: Music, Acoustics, and Ritual in Byzantium

Enjoy the following video from an Alexander Lingas presentation in the Stanford Seminar Series “Aural Architecture” given in 2013:

The Fall of Constantinople — Program Notes

Constantinople | Cappella RomanaGreeks and Latins had lived uneasily together in the Eastern Mediterranean ever since the sack and occupation of Constantinople (1204–61) by crusader knights. During the 14th and 15th centuries, however, the shrunken Byzantine Empire and the remaining Western colonies were often forced to cooperate in desperate attempts to defend themselves against the Ottoman Turks. This situation is reflected by the music on this evening’s concert, which begins with music that would have been heard by Constantine XI, enthroned in 1448 and the last Roman Emperor of Constantinople. Even though his realm consisted of little more than the capital and the Peloponnesus, the majestic liturgy continued to pray for him and his Empire with many of the same forms employed during Byzantium’s apogee a millennium before. This may be seen in the solemn texts and music of the Entrance Rite for a Divine Liturgy celebrated by a bishop. After a series of processional antiphons, the clergy would enter the sanctuary as the Introit was sung. A hymn in honor of Christ’s resurrection from the weekly cycle of the eight modes was followed by acclamations to the reigning emperor (taken here from the manuscript Athens 2401) and one or more seasonal hymns known as kontakia. The kontakion selected for this program was probably written after Constantinople’s deliverance from an Arab siege in the seventh century and recalls the Mother of God’s role as chief protectress of the City.

The choirs and clergy would then sing in alternation the traditional version of the ancient “Thrice-Holy” (Trisagion) hymn, the melody of which is taken from the manuscript Iviron 1120. Dated 1458, this MS is an autograph of Manuel Chrysaphes, a prolific theorist and composer who served as a lead singer in Constantine’s chapel. The setting for “Glory to the Father…” is relatively elaborate and was meant to accompany a blessing given by the celebrating bishop. The Trisagion concludes with a ‘Dynamis’ coda, in which Chrysaphes subtly elaborates upon the hymn’s traditional melody.

Bereft of significant financial or military resources, the last emperors attempted to consolidate their remaining territory while balancing the competing interests of Italians and Ottomans through diplomacy and dynastic marriages. These concerns are reflected in Vasilissa ergo gaude, a Latin motet by the Franco-Flemish composer Guillaume Dufay (ca. 1400–74). Written while Dufay was employed by the Malatesta family’s Rimini branch, the work celebrates the marriage in 1421 of Cleophe Malatesta da Pesaro to Theodore Paleologos, Despot of the Morea (Peloponnesus) and son of the Emperor Manuel II (1391–1425).

In the fifteenth century, the Peloponnesian port of Patras was (as it remains today) an important meeting-point between the Greek East and the Latin West. As Gregorios Stathis has recently noted, the Byzantine musical manuscript Athens 2401 is an important witness to the vibrancy of cultural interchange in the city of the Apostle Andrew’s martyrdom. Its contents include works by Patras’ Protopsaltes (first cantor) Andreas Stellon of Cyprus (one of which is a composition honoring St. Andrew) and examples of efforts by Byzantine musicians to employ some of the simpler and (usually unnotated) types of polyphony practiced by their Italian colleagues. One of these is the two-part Hymn for Great Compline by Manuel Gazes the Lampadarios, the homorhythmic texture and open sonorities of which reflect the contemporary Western tradition of cantus planus binatim (“plainchant twice”).

Despite their absence from Athens 2401, elite forms of mensural polyphony were not unknown in the eastern Mediterranean, having been cultivated most notably at the court of the Lusignan Kings of Cyprus. Shortly before Patras reverted to Byzantine rule, Pandolfo Malatesta served as the Latin archbishop of Patras and presided over the rededication of a church honoring St. Andrew. Dufay marked the event with his radiant Italian motet Apostolo glorioso/Cum tua doctrina/Andreas Christi.

The ubiquity of the Latin rite is further indicated by the transmission in Byzantine neumes of the Gregorian Kyrie Cunctipotens genitor in Athens 2401. Discovered in modern times by Michael Adamis, it further demonstrates the interest of Byzantine cantors in the music of their Western colleagues. Perhaps of greater significance is the way in which the scribe translated what he heard into Byzantine notation, providing valuable information about the way contemporary Gregorian chant was being performed. For this performance, this chant is sung both unadorned and with unwritten extra voices reflecting contemporary techniques of polyphonic improvisation.

While the separation of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches is mentioned only briefly in Dufay’s motet for St. Andrew, negotiations for reunion became more urgent as the Ottoman threat grew. This movement climaxed under Pope Eugenius IV (1431–47) with the Council of Florence, at which a small Byzantine delegation of bishops and theologians assented to union with the Roman Catholic Church on 5 July 1439 in return for military aid. Dufay was a member of the papal chapel during the 1430s and it has recently been proposed that his imposing 5-part motet Ecclesiae militantis was written not for Eugenius’s coronation, as generally believed, but to commemorate the search for union at Florence.

At all events, the aid promised by the West at Florence was never delivered and public opposition prevented the official promulgation of the union—the terms of which were viewed as total capitulation to Papal supremacy and other Latin doctrines—in Constantinople until December of 1452, after which most Orthodox refused to attend services at St. Sophia. Nevertheless, there remained a number of prominent Byzantine converts to the Latin cause, among whom was the composer and theorist John Plousiadenos (ca. 1429–1500). Later consecrated bishop of Venetian-held Methone, Plousiadenos displayed his uniate sympathies in a number of literary works including the Canons in honor of Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Florence. Both canons are set to melodies from well-known works by John of Damascus, transcribed here from the manuscript Vatopedi 1529. Like Gazes’ compline Hymn, Plousiadenos’ Communion Verse is related to the Western tradition of cantus planus binatim. This setting for Mid- Pentecost is from a manuscript presently located in the Athonite monastery of Dochiariou (MS 315), in which the upper part is labeled “τὸ τενώρει” (“the tenor”) and the lower part is described as “τὸ κείμενον” (“the text”).

This program concludes with two threnodies for the fall of New Rome to Mehmed the Conqueror on 29 May 1453. The first is Chrysaphes’s setting of verses from Psalm 78, transcribed by Markos Vasileiou from MS Iviron 1120. The Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae by Dufay is the only one to survive of the four laments he composed to mark this event. These works were probably written in 1455 as part of an effort to convince Pope Callixtus III to mount a crusade against the Turks, one of many such schemes that was never realized.

—Alexander Lingas

Concert Tickets & Information

A Note from the Executive Director

Mark Powell_Cappella-Romana_Board and StaffDear friends,

Cappella Romana just successfully completed one of its largest seasons ever. Last month the ensemble recorded Steinberg’s Passion Week, the remarkable work performed complete for the first time in April, with Grammy-award winning producer Steve Barnett.

This coming season is the ensemble’s most ambitious, with 13 performances in the Pacific Northwest series: 5 programs performed on Fridays in Seattle, and Saturdays and Sundays in Portland. We’re thrilled to be able to offer you more of “the Northwest’s leading chamber choir” (Oregon ArtsWatch).

The first program of the season is performed on Labor Day Weekend, an unusual time for certain for a classical concert. However the performances in Seattle and Portland of “The Fall of Constantinople” are given just prior to the ensemble’s first appearance at the Utrecht Early Music Festival in the Netherlands, the most important Early Music festival in the world. The concert given there (on September 7) will be broadcast on all the major European broadcasting networks, including the BBC, Radio France, and German Public Radio.

Here in the Northwest, there’s still time to subscribe: you can save a lot if you buy all five concerts!

I look forward to seeing you at Cappella Romana this coming season.

Yours Sincerely,

Mark Powell

Alexander Lingas Gives Presentations at Yale and King’s College

Alexander Lingas gives academic presentations at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University and the Institute of Classical Studies at King’s College London:
Alexander Lingas_Cappella Romana_Board and Staff

King’s College London

Eastern-Western Motet: Liturgical Music in Byzantium and the West

The Musical Codification of Byzantine Hymnody

See the Full Two-Day Colloquium Schedule Here

Yale University Institute of Sacred Music

Competing Imaginations: Byzantine Chant and the Search for Usable Pasts

This presentation will survey major points of contention that have arisen over the past 150 years as authors writing from a variety of vantage points have competed to imagine pasts for Byzantine chant that were, as Yiorgos Anagnostou would say, ‘usable’ within particular ecclesiastical, political or social contexts. Some of these pasts were imagined in such a way as to complement the aspirations of peoples in Eastern Europe and the Middle East seeking to build distinct national cultures upon the ruins of the multi-ethnic Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. These locally imagined pasts fostered especially virulent debate when colliding with the supranational ideologies of Western Orientalism and Orthodox anti-Westernism, manifestations of which may be seen in competing claims to the musical inheritance of the Late Antique and early medieval Christian oikoumene.

Find out more here!

Alexander Lingas Performs The Kontakion in Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of Sir John Tavener

Sir John Tavener

Μετὰ τῶν Ἁγίων ἀνάπαυσον, Χριστε, τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ δούλου σου, ἔνθα οὐκ ἔστι πόνος, οὐ λύπη, οὐ στεναγμός, ἀλλὰ ζωὴ ἀτελεύτητος.

With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of your servant, where there is no toil, nor grief, nor sighing, but everlasting life.

Cappella Romana Artistic Director, Alexander Lingas, served as one of the cantors at the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life and Work of Sir John Tavener at the Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, June 11. The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, and featured music by Tavener both beforeand during the Service. Highlighting the tribute to one of Britain’s most celebrated composers was The Prince of Wales, who attended the service in a personal capacity as a friend of Tavener and his family.

For more information on the service:

The Telegraph
The Telegraph Blog
Church Times