Category: Alexander Lingas

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

Alexander Lingas Talks Passion Week Cycle on the Orthodox Arts Journal

2013-14-Season Cappella Romana

Alexander Lingas has a new article on the Orthodox Arts Journal on the re-discovery of Maximilian Steinberg’s Passion Week Cycle, Op. 13! The article, “Passion Week, Opus 13 by Maximilian Steinberg (1883–1946): The Recovery of a Neglected Musical Contribution to the Russian Religious Renaissance” traces the history of the Russian Religious Renaissance and the story of how Dr. Lingas rediscovered and is now premiering the work with Cappella Romana.

Read it Here!

Passion Week

8:30pm, Fri., Apr. 11, St. Mary’s Cathedral (NOTE LATER TIME)

8pm, Sat., Apr. 12, St. Joseph’s Parish, Seattle

Get your tickets today!

The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by Tikey Zes

Dr. Zes first published in 1991 The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom recorded on this disc. In 1996 he reissued it in an expanded edition that he dedicated to Cappella Romana, which had presented the concert premiere of the work in 1992. 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. One and, in some cases, two choral settings are provided for all the ordinary chants and responses of the Divine Liturgy. It also includes music for services celebrated by a bishop, the Liturgy of St. Basil, and numerous texts proper to particular days or seasons. (Two older items that Dr. Zes incorporated into the 1996 Liturgy—the Cherubic Hymn #1 and the Sunday Communion Verse #2—may be heard, respectively, on Cappella Romana’s discs When Augustus Reigned and Tikey Zes: Choral Works.)

The present disc offers the music required for a celebration of the Divine Liturgy by a priest and deacon on the Second Sunday after Pentecost. The Greek text sung here is—with the exception of the dialogue preceding the Alleluiarion, which is fully restored to its ancient form—that of The Divine Liturgy of Our Father Among the Saints St John Chrysostom, 2nd ed. (London: Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, 2011). The space limitations of the CD format required us to make a number of abbreviations to portions of the service not set to music by Dr. Zes. The Prokeimenon (Gradual) and Apostle (Epistle) reading are thus omitted, as are the Litanies of the Catechumens and the Faithful following the Gospel, and the bulk of the Nicene Creed. In addition, the presidential prayers of the celebrant are generally limited to their concluding exclamations, a usage that prevails in churches where these prayers are read silently. (The complete text of the Divine Liturgy may be heard on Cappella Romana’s 2-disc recording The Divine Liturgy of Our Father Among the Saints John Chrysostom in English in Byzantine Chant.)

For a listener approaching this recording from the perspective of the Greek American choral traditions surveyed above, Dr. Zes’s 1996 Liturgy will probably seem like a radical departure from prevailing norms. Although the music often echoes Byzantine chant in Modes 1, Plagal 1 and, less often, Plagal 4, the vast majority of its melodies are original. Indeed, only three of the movements recorded on the present disc are based on pre-existing melodies. The Apolytikion of the Resurrection presents a traditional chant with some rhythmic and melodic modifications, while the Introit “Come, let us worship” sets only the first half of the chant before reprising the original tune heard earlier as the refrain to the Second Antiphon. The only melody by Sakellarides occurs in the Communion Hymn “Of Your Mystical Supper,” which is a Greek retroversion of the English setting previously recorded by Cappella Romana on the disc Tikey Zes: Choral Works. Musical unity is provided instead through various formal devices. One such device is the recurrence of invertible counterpoint (exchange of vocal parts) in the antiphons, Trisagion and Communion Verse. Another occurs in the Litany of Peace, the opening unison melody of which is subsequently heard in different voices as its polyphonic texture builds.

Despite the paucity of recognizable chant melodies, 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 deacon or celebrant are, in keeping with their liturgical function, generally short, homophonic and unaccompanied. Vocal textures in antiphons and hymns are often sparse, consisting of one or two parts with organ accompaniment. 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 splendor with restraint that is, its inculturated musical idiom notwithstanding, thoroughly Byzantine.

— Alexander Lingas

Order Direct Today!

Order on