Press Reviews

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

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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

Gramophone Magazine Names Steinberg: Passion Week An Editor’s Choice!

Steinberg: Passion Week

Steinberg: Passion WeekGramophone Magazine names our new Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week recording an August Editor’s Choice!

“This important and exciting release from the Portland, Oregon-based 26-strong chamber choir is a notable successor to their ‘Good Friday in Jerusalem’ disc (5/15). … This recording closely followed what is believed to have been the premiere complete performance by these forces. … The a cappella textures spread variously and luxuriantly into 12 parts, requiring, as might be expected, the sopranos to soar with jewel-like brilliance and the basses to delve to their reedy subterranean depths. Cappella Romana cope with all of this with an eloquent brilliance, singing with tremendous relish, as though this obscure masterpiece had been in their repertory for years. Their unanimity of attack and fastidious approach to dynamic contrasts are just two hallmarks of an outstanding achievement. Hats off, too, to Preston Smith and Steve Barnett for their superb engineering and production. …the finest advocacy from these fine musicians. This is definitely a disc to savour.” —Malcolm Riley, Gramophone Magazine

Read the full review on www.gramophone.co.uk!

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Oregon ArtsWatch Reviews From Darkness to Light

Cappella Romana From Darkness to Light

Cappella Romana From Darkness to LightOregon ArtsWatch critic Jeff Winslow weighed in on Cappella Romana’s recent performance of Schnittke’s Verses of Repentance during our From Darkness to Light concert:

“Only a tin-eared deity could fail to be moved by such offerings. … In the final movement, over a constant drone from the low basses, the other voices, singing wordlessly with mouths closed, seemed to waft up into the heavens like clouds of incense. Consonance and dissonance were no longer distinct, but melded into one heartfelt expression that eventually found repose, not quite in, but one might say enfolded by the key of D major.… the exquisitely controlled voices and sensitive ears of quite possibly the city’s finest two dozen choral singers, carried the day and made the performance an experience which cast its spell long after the last note faded away.” —Jeff Winslow, Oregon ArtsWatch

Read the full review www.orartswatch.org

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Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week in The New York Times

Steinberg: Passion Week

Steinberg: Passion WeekNew York Times critic James R. Oestreich shared that he’d been listening to our Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week recording in the ArtsBeatClassical Playlist”:

“‘Passion Week’…is on a scale with the great sacred works of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, though in a slightly more advanced idiom, and is quite simply beautiful.” —James R. Oestreich, The New York Times

See the feature in The New York Times!

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Good Friday in Jerusalem a “Home Run”

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreThe “Almost Rational” blogger, Steven Bilow, calls Good Friday In Jerusalem a “Home Run” in his review:

“Cappella Romana’s Good Friday in Jerusalem is a superb example of just how lovely this music can be. It was recorded in a Church at Stanford and engineered by some clearly acoustically savvy members of Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). It was created, structured, and directed by UBC Musicologist and CR Artistic Director Alexander Lingas, And it was sung by a very talented subset of the a very talented and multifaceted vocal ensemble. In short, it is one of the best recordings of Byzantine church music you’ll find. … Definitely worth a listen. Personally, I want to see them get their Grammy! Check it out.” —Steven Bilow, Almost Rational

Read the full review on the Almost Rational blog!

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Orthodox Arts Journal Review for Good Friday

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreThe Orthodox Arts Journal asks “How can music be alive?” in On History and Tradition: A Review of Cappella Romana’s “Good Friday in Jerusalem”.

Good Friday in Jerusalem is no exception to the level of quality that audiences have come to expect from Cappella Romana’s recordings; the singing on the disc is at once rich, incisive, alive, and achingly beautiful. … The fact is that Byzantine chant is a tradition that is still growing and changing, like any living thing, and so the old and the new remain connected. In this way, a recording like Good Friday in Jerusalem has the capacity to inspire and influence the work of living composers of Byzantine chant, and it should. Even though some of the music on this disc is separated from today’s composers and chanters by nearly nine centuries, it is clear that both speak the same musical language and share the same musical culture in a deep way. … But in a living musical tradition, music being old is not in itself a problem, no more than the inner rings of a tree present a problem to the branches. In the context of a living tradition, the old and the new are one, with the old continuously watering the new at the same time as the new keeps the old alive. As long as Cappella Romana continues its work, there is good hope, I think, that the Byzantine chant tradition will not only stay alive, but will grow and thrive for some time yet.” —Benedict Sheehan, Orthodox Arts Journal

Read the full review and essay on the Orthodox Arts Journal

Good Friday In Jerusalem Now Available for Purchase and Download

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Audiophile Audition Five Star Review for Good Friday In Jerusalem!

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Good Friday In Jerusalem: Medieval Byzantine Chant from the Church of the Holy SepulchreAudiophile Audition‘s Steven Ritter gives five star to the new Cappella Romana Good Friday In Jerusalem release!

“This is the all-male version of Cappella Romana, and Alexander Lingas has his Portland-based ensemble going from strength to strength, perfectly judged balances among the melodists and those singing the ison, or lower drone notes, and executing these sometimes hugely challenging chants with razor-sharp precision and flawless unanimity. But what strikes me the most is the superb tonal quality of the group, rich, full, and velvety smooth in a genre that too often gives way to acerbic sonic ineptitude and soloistic grandstanding which gives chant a bad name. The resonance of the Stanford Memorial Church in California is expertly caught, though you might want to boost the volume a little. This disc is, simply, irresistible.” —Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition

Read the full review on AudAud.com!

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MusicWeb International Reviews A Time For Life

Robert Kyr: A Time For Life

Robert-Kyr_A-Time-For-LifeBrian Reinhart of MusicWeb International reviews the new Cappella Romana release, A Time For Life:

“There can be no questioning Kyr’s skill as a composer. Just listen to the first five minutes, as singers enter one-by-one — there are only eight — to the accompaniment of a single solitary cello. Many writers would need half an orchestra to create the effect Kyr manages with one instrument. Kyr’s vocal style throughout is an ear-pleasing blend of traditional church music and contemporary, tonal, harmony with some really special climaxes: best of all the penultimate track and the “Dance of Life”. I think the best way to describe it is that there’s no doubting this music’s modern origins, but Haydn could listen to it with pleasure. … Speaking of the choir, the Cappella Romana here demonstrates why it has a devoted fan-base in the Pacific Northwest and, via records, across the globe. There is not a weak link or uninteresting voice among these eight singers. The three string players from Third Angle New Music deal superbly with their parts…The booklet includes notes by Kyr and conductor Alexander Lingas, full sung text, and a letter of commendation and congratulation from His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.” —Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International

Full review on MusicWeb-International.com

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Leitourgeia kai Qurbana reviews Arctic Light

Arctic Light Finnish Orthodox Music_Cappella Romana_Classical CDs

Arctic Light Finnish Orthodox Music_Cappella Romana_Classical CDsRichard Barrett reviews the Cappella Romana Arctic Light recording on his Leitourgeia kai Qurbana blog:

“Where there is an intriguing religious culture, one hopes there will also be an intriguing culture of religious music, and Fr. Ivan Moody, conducting Cappella Romana, makes the case for the music of the Orthodox Church of Finland on the disc Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music. … it’s an aural treat in every way, with the vowel-rich language sparkling in the voices of Cappella’s singers. One can hear the Finnish language “in dialogue” with the ecclesiastical past of its country… Fr. Ivan as the conductor gets Cappella Romana singing this kind of polyphonic repertoire as well as they have in years; the choir sounds bright, clear, and musical. … The result is that Fr. Ivan and Cappella Romana are able make some beautiful, engaging music within that context, and provide a fascinating snapshot of an Orthodox musical culture that is developing its own very strong voice. Recommended.” —Richard Barrett

Read the full review at Leitourgeia.com

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#ThrowbackThursday — Fall of Constantinople Gramophone Review

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fallofconstantinopleBefore this weekend’s presentations of The Fall of Constantinople, here’s a look back at Gramophone Magazine’s review of our recording of this repertoire:

“English-speaking audiences commonly associate Greek Orthodox plainchant with the music of John Tavener, whose work draws substantially from its ethos. This recording confronts plainchant with the compositions of another Western composer, albeit one from the 15th century, when the two Christian churches were nearly reunited after a thousand-year split. It’s even likely that Dufay’s singers and their Eastern counterparts had a chance to hear each other in Florence. But these attempts at reconciliation came to nothing, and in 1453 came the event after which this disc is named, and to which Dufay devoted a commemorative lament, which concludes this recital very movingly.

The performance of Wester polyphony with voices trained in, or inflected by, Eastern chant is not unfamiliar — Ensemble Organum have been doing it for years. To do so, it’s not necessary to invoke a context within which the two might have commingled; as Alexander Lingas observes in his informative note, it’s likely that the Greeks found Dufay’s polyphony “incomprehensible”. But it must have been a fascinating confrontation, and it’s that sense of occasion that’s conveyed here. The range of performance options for the plainchant itself is surprisingly diverse, and an intriguing new light is shed on Dufay’s motets: the five-voice Apostolo gorioso is particularly striking, although Ecclesiae militantis is a touch less sure. The singers are miked more distantly than is usual nowadays for polyphony, but this only adds to the sense of pleasurable unfamiliarity.” —Fabrice Fitch, Gramophone Magazine

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