Concerts

The Oregonian Explores Cappella Romana’s History

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cr-featured-25thBrett Campbell explores Cappella Romana’s history in The Oregonian before this weekend’s 25th Anniversary Celebrations:

“When Alexander Lingas moved to San Francisco in 1990, the Greek Orthodox cathedral where he’d just been appointed associate cantor lay in ruins, devastated by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Lingas wanted to help the church rebuild – and the only contribution he could offer was music.

The Portland native had sung in his Greek Orthodox church, with local choir Cantores in Ecclesia and with the Portland State Chamber Choir. So he and his Portland musical friends piled into a van and headed south to perform a benefit concert. The church offered them lodging and a lavish, post-concert spaghetti dinner with freshly cured Greek olives.

After hearing the Northwesterners sing Greek Orthodox music from ancient Byzantium as well as contemporary Greek-American composers and more, nearly 300 listeners donated money for cathedral reconstruction. Lingas and friends decided to keep making music.…” —Brett Campbell, The Oregonian

Read the full piece on OregonLive.com

Orthodox Music: Ancient & Modern

25th Anniversary Celebration!

Orthodox Music: Ancient And Modern

A reprise of Cappella Romana’s 1991 début performance, including selections from the Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil, rarely heard Byzantine chants from Constantinople, and Greek American choral works.

Seattle
Friday 23 September, 7:30pm
St. James Cathedral

TICKETS

Followed by A Night on the Aegean Gala Reception

Portland
Saturday 24 September, 4:00pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

TICKETS

Followed by A Night on the Aegean Gala Dinner & Auction

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A Night on the Aegean: 25th Anniversary Gala

Following Orthodox Music: Ancient & Modern the opening performance of Cappella Romana’s 2016-17 Season

Seattle
Friday, September 23, 2016
St. James Cathedral
804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
TICKETS

Portland
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
147 NW 19th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
TICKETS

Liège Performance On Demand!

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Cappella Romana’s 3 September concert in Liège of cultural encounters between Venice and its Greek colonies is now available courtesy of Belgian Radio’s on-demand Musiq3 Service:

Listen

Photos from Namur

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Information from the performance in Namur.

These engagements were supported by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Subscribe To Our 25th Anniversary Season Today!

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Why should you become a subscriber for our 25th Anniversary Season? Check out our subscriber benefits:

With 3-concert subscriptions starting at $66 ($56 for Seniors), don’t miss your opportunity to get these amazing benefits during our 25th Anniversary Season!

2016-2017 Season:

Artslandia Interviews Alexander Lingas

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Listen to Artslandia’s Susannah Mars interview with Alexander Lingas about our 25th Anniversary and this weekend’s ‪‎New Mystics‬ program on “Adventures in Artslandia”:

New Mystics From East & West

Mystical - Adamis MacMillan Kontoglou iconOur season closes with a program of music by two important modern voices: the Greek Orthodox composer Michael Adamis and Scottish Catholic James MacMillan. The choral works of both composers share a deeply personal quality and a rare devotion to ancient chant: Byzantine for Adamis and Gregorian for MacMillan. Colorful sonorities and intricate structures give the music of each an unmistakably mystical quality.

Seattle

Friday, 13 May 2016, 7:30pm
Blessed Sacrament
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Portland

Saturday, 14 May 2016, 7:30pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
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Sunday, 15 May 2016, 2:30pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral
TICKETS

Stirring. Meditative. Powerful.

Epiphany

Let yourself be swept away by the power of ancient chant for Epiphany

Epiphany

Alexander Lingas conducting the Epiphany program in 2001

New Year’s Weekend

Epiphany: Medieval Byzantine & Old Roman Chant

Cappella Romana’s specialist ensemble of Byzantine cantors perform Epiphany: a program of Medieval hymns and psalms for the feast of Epiphany, including examples sung directly from 11th-century manuscripts. The program was the first all-chant concert given by Cappella Romana and premiered to sold out audiences during the 10th Anniversary Season in 2001.

Seattle

Friday, 1 Jan. 2016, 7:30pm
Blessed Sacrament
TICKETS

Portland

Saturday, 2 Jan. 2016, 7:30pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
TICKETS


Sunday, 3 Jan. 2016, 2:30pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral
TICKETS

The Messiah in Willamette Week

Messiah Rehearsal with Monica Huggett
Messiah Rehearsal with Monica Huggett

Messiah Rehearsal with Monica Huggett

Willamette Week calls our performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Portland Baroque Orchestra the “True Messiah” for Portlanders this Christmas 2015:

“…if you want the true messianic experience that’s closest to what the composer intended and its first audiences actually heard, you’ll go for Portland Baroque Orchestra’s annual complete version, performed on replicas of instruments of the Baroque era…and in the styles and tunings of the time. They’ll be augmented by the superb local singers of Cappella Romana and a quartet of well-regarded guest vocal soloists, including Portland Opera’s Hanna Penn.” —Brett Campbell, Willamette Week

Tickets:

Fri 11 Dec 07:30PM
First Baptist Church
TICKETS
Sat 12 Dec 07:30PM
First Baptist Church
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Sun 13 Dec 04:00PM
First Baptist Church
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Preview The Rose Ensemble!

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Preview the Rose Ensemble before their Sunday concert in Portland:

Cappella Romana Presents The Rose Ensemble

The Rose EnsembleSunday, November 22nd – 2:30pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Portland
TICKETS

Cappella Romana presents The Rose Ensemble from Minneapolis, MN for one night only in Portland. The Rose Ensemble performs the program Il Poverello, a journey across the rustic countryside of Umbria and Tuscany to the spectacular churches of Florence and Rome. This joyful program features centuries of hymns, dances, and motets, as well as early Italian-language spiritual songs and light-hearted readings about or written by Francis himself.

Byzantine Music in Cyprus

Cyprus: Between Greek East and Latin West

Cyprus: Between Greek East & Latin WestManuscripts of Byzantine chant copied through the middle of the fifteenth century show that Cyprus remained closely tied to the musical mainstream of Byzantium. The two hymns (stichera) from the Greek office for St Hilarion included on the present recording are excerpts from a longer sequence of hymns interpolated on the eve of his feast between the verses (stichoi) of the Lamplighting Psalms of Byzantine Vespers. Their melodies have been taken from standard collections of medieval Orthodox hymnody and, like all the Greek chants on this disc, have been edited by Dr Ioannis Arvanitis in the light of his groundbreaking research on rhythm in Byzantine chant of the Middle Ages (2010). One of our sources is the Sticherarion Sinai Greek 1471, a volume that consists mainly of through-composed hymns (stichera idiomela) that Oliver Strunk (1977) identified as having been copied on Cyprus during the fourteenth century and, perhaps because of the island’s proximity to the Middle East, includes rarely notated hymns associated with the rite of Jerusalem.

Cypriot cantors from the period of Lusignan rule not only maintained existing traditions of Byzantine chanting, but also contributed works in the new kalophonic style to musical anthologies copied on the mainland. What little we know about these musicians comes mainly from brief headings to their compositions mentioning their names, the fact that they were from Cyprus, and perhaps also their musical or clerical posts. For the present recording we have selected three works partially or wholly attributed to Cypriot composers from the manuscript Athens, National Library of Greece 2406, an encyclopedic volume of Byzantine service music copied in the northern Greek town of Serres and dated to the fateful year of 1453.

Byzantine musical manuscripts record the musical activities of three members of the Asan family of Cyprus, two of whom appear in Athens 2406 (the third is the priest Manuel Asan, whose works are transmitted in other early fifteenth century sources). To Konstantinos (Constantine) Asan are ascribed several texts set to music in the kalophonic style by John Kladas, a Lampadarios of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia and the leading Constantinopolitan composer of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. The present recording offers one of their two hymns that honour the Holy Trinity in fifteen-syllable verse, a metre employed widely in Byzantine sacred and secular poetry. The music of Kladas is generally meditative in character, but gradually builds in tension through a series of textual repetitions. This tension is released with teretismata that culminate in vocal imitations of brass fanfares that herald the final exclamation: ‘Save me, Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit!’

In Athens 2406 the Communion Verse for Saints (and ordinary Tuesdays) by Nicholas Asan follows another setting of the same text attributed to the daughter of Kladas. Nicholas begins with a brief quotation of a formula for the syllabic rendering of psalms, after which he shifts into a melodically florid style for the remainder of the piece, about two thirds of which is devoted to repetitions of the refrain ‘Alleluia’ extended through the intercalation of consonants within the melismas and the insertion of the command ‘Λέγε!’ (‘Say!’). These extensions not only helped to fill the time required for the distribution of Communion, but also reflected sonically the Byzantine theological understanding of earthly worship as an icon of that celebrated perpetually by the angels.

Byzantine cantors who wished to further prolong a liturgical moment were able to do so by inserting a musically independent kratema (‘holder’), a composition consisting entirely of teretismata. Although their vocables were rendered exclusively with the human voice, kratemata could serve liturgical functions analogous to those of the organ preludes, interludes, and postludes found in later Western liturgical traditions. On the present recording we demonstrate this by appending to the Communion Verse a kratema by Paul Kasas, a priest-monk who was Protopsaltes (First-Cantor) of Cyprus during the early fifteenth century. Copied in Athens 2406 among festal psalms for evening prayer, this kratema is labelled a katavasia by its scribe. This technical term denoting some kind of descent was traditionally applied in Byzantine liturgy either to the concluding stanzas of poetic canons at the morning office or, in the old rite of Jerusalem, the short festal hymns known in modern use as apolytikia (‘dismissal [hymns]’). Composers of kalophonic chant, however, tended to use the term to refer to short kratemata that could be added as codas to other works (Anastasiou 2005). The katavasia of Kasas is divided musically into three large sections of melodically related material, each of which is formed of sequences of phrases that climax an octave above the base (final) of the mode. Athens 2406 includes two endings for this kratema, the second of which is recorded on this disc: a lightly ornamented version of Neagie, the intonation for the Fourth Plagal Mode; and an alternate version in which this intonation is dramatically stated in octaves, labelled ‘doubling’ (‘diplasma’) in the manuscript, after which the upper voice executes a gentle descent to the base of the mode.

During the final decades of the Lusignan dynasty and then subsequently under the administration of Venice, Greek Orthodox cantors in Cyprus began to shadow the musical developments of their colleagues in Venetian-ruled Crete. While continuing to transmit the central repertories of Byzantine chant, Cypriot musicians also wrote new chants and selectively arranged older compositions in ways that reflected shifting musical sensibilities. As in Crete, the changes included alterations of melodic style and the extension of modal variety to a broader range of liturgical genres. An example of these new directions in melody and modality is the Trisagion (‘Thrice Holy’) Hymn composed as a conclusion to the Great Doxology (Gloria in excelsis) of the Byzantine morning office of Orthros. This hymn appears amid the older musical layers of Sinai Greek 1313, a Cypriot manuscript of the sixteenth century featuring the hands of multiple scribes. Probably the latest of these scribes is Hieronymos Tragodistes, a composer and theorist who left Cyprus in the middle of the sixteenth century for Venice where he became a pupil of Gioseffo Zarlino (Strunk 1974).

—Alexander Lingas

Read Part One
Read Part Two
Read Part Three

Order the Recording

Concert Tickets

Seattle

Friday, 13 Nov. 2015, 7:30pm
Blessed Sacrament
TICKETS

Portland

Saturday, 14 Nov. 2015, 7:30pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
TICKETS


Sunday, 15 Nov. 2015, 2:30pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral
TICKETS

Latin Music in Cyprus

Cyprus: Between Greek East and Latin West

Cyprus: Between Greek East & Latin WestLiterary witnesses to the cultivation of music by the French kings of Cyprus are found in a variety of sources, but nearly all of the surviving music associated with the Lusignan court is contained in a single manuscript: Torino Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria J.II.9. This remarkable document was, according to Karl Kügle (2012), evidently copied between 1434 and 1436 under the supervision of Jean Hanelle, one of two priest-musicians from Cambrai (the other was Gilet Velut) who arrived in Cyprus in 1411 with Charlotte of Bourbon, the second wife of King Janus I (1398–1432). Whereas Velut appears to have soon left the island, Hanelle remained in the service of the Lusignan family for decades, becoming scribendaria of the Roman Catholic cathedral of Nicosia in 1428 and also, at some point, master of the Cypriot king’s chapel. Probably travelling to Italy in 1433 as part of the Cypriot delegation for the marriage of Anne of Lusignan to Louis of Savoy, Hanelle then seems to have supervised the production of Torino J.II.9 for the Avogadro family of Brescia, whose coat of arms is on the first folio of the codex.

Since all of the music in J.II.9 is anonymous and there are no known melodic concordances with other sources, Kügle has suggested that its contents may be largely the work of Hanelle, and, perhaps, of some of his colleagues at the Lusignan court. The Torino manuscript opens with a section of Latin plainchant (a rhymed Office and Mass for St Hilarion, a rhymed Office for St Anne, and six sets of chants for the ordinary of the Mass), followed by a fascicle of polyphonic music for the Mass ordinary, and then another section containing 41 polytextual motets (33 in Latin and 4 in French). The remainder of the codex is devoted almost entirely to polyphonic French secular song (ballades, virelais, and rondeaux), the exception being a single polyphonic Mass cycle inserted by a later hand after the fascicle of ballades. The polyphony of J.II.9 ranges in idiom from technically advanced compositions displaying the rhythmic complexity characteristic of the so-called ars subtilior (‘subtler art’) cultivated in France and northern Italy during the later fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries to works in comparatively simple styles. An example of the latter is the largely homophonic Gloria in excelsis 10 for three voices, which features textures not entirely unlike those that could be produced by polyphonically elaborating chant in performance (as in the preceding Kyrie for St Hilarion).

Interspersed throughout the present recording is music for St Hilarion, an early Christian monk whose biography was written by St Jerome. Born in Gaza in 291, he learned asceticism in Egypt as a disciple of St Anthony the Great and completed his earthly life as a hermit near the city of Paphos in Cyprus. St Hilarion was thereafter regarded as a patron of the island; the castle in Kyrenia that served as the Lusignan summer residence was dedicated to him. In 1414 the court of King Janus marked the feast of St Hilarion (21 October) with newly composed services that the Avignon Pope John XXIII had recently approved for celebration with the issuance of a papal bull that is copied at the very beginning of codex J.II.9.

Cappella Romana CyprusThe Vespers responsory Letare Ciprus mixes praise for St Hilarion with supplication for the island, themes that the verse of the Mass Alleluia Ave Sancte Ylarion recalls amidst a stream of Greek terms. Detailed references to the life of the saint enrich the encomia and entreaties of the following Sequence Exultantes collaudemus in a manner similar to the texts of Motet 17 Magni patris/Ovent Cyprus, one voice of which, the motetus, directly asks Hilarion to intercede for King Janus.

The medieval motet is a form of polyphony in which upper voices, each of which may be provided with its own text, are supported by a foundational part (the ‘tenor’) that is either taken from a pre-existing melody (often a piece of plainchant) or, as is the case with all but two of the motets in the Torino manuscript, newly composed. Nearly all of the parts in the motets of J.II.9 feature what modern scholars call ‘isorhythm’, namely the repetition of a rhythmic pattern (talea) one or more times following its initial statement. This repetition may be literal or, as in the case of Motet 8 Gemma Florens/Hec est dies, involve patterns of diminution (in this case, a talea repeated twice in 3:1 diminution for a total of four statements).

Gemma Florens/Hec est dies is one of several motets commemorating milestones in the life of the Lusignan family, evidently having been written to mark the baptism in 1418 of John, the son of Janus and Charlotte of Bourbon. Its triplum voice emphasises kinship with the French royal family into which Charlotte was born, mentioning a ‘Macarius’ who is probably to be understood as being St Denys of Paris. Its motetus, on the other hand, speaks of the birth of John the Baptist to Elizabeth before invoking Christ’s protection on King Janus. Although differing in their wording, both upper voices of Motet 33 Da magne Pater/Donis affatim are hymns of praise to God featuring the acrostic ‘Deo gratias’, the concluding response for the Mass of the Roman rite.

—Alexander Lingas

Read Part One
Read Part Two
Read Part Four

Order the Recording

Concert Tickets

Seattle

Friday, 13 Nov. 2015, 7:30pm
Blessed Sacrament
TICKETS

Portland

Saturday, 14 Nov. 2015, 7:30pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
TICKETS


Sunday, 15 Nov. 2015, 2:30pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral
TICKETS