Cappella Romana performs “Blessed is the man” by Cyrillus Kreek with renowned Finnish choral director Timo Nuoranne during the Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure concert at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington on November 17, 2017.
Cappella Romana rehearsing “Psalm 84” by Cyrillus Kreek with renowned Finnish choral director Timo Nuoranne.
The Psalms of Estonian composer Cyrillus Kreek (1889-1962) take a pride of place in “Arctic Light II.” Kreek and his family converted from the Lutheran church to the Orthodox faith in 1896, when Kreek was just seven years old. His psalm settings follow Orthodox forms, which each include a traditional selection of verses along with refrains familiar to Orthodox faithful. Verses from Psalm 84 (LXX 83) heard in the video above are usually sung for a dedication of a church (“How lovely are your dwelling places”).
Kreek also has a special connection to Cappella Romana’s prior work, in that he was a student of composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory when one of his teachers would have been Maximilian Steinberg, student and son-in-law of Rimsky-Korsakov and composer of the now celebrated Passion Week, of which Cappella Romana gave the world premiere performances and world premiere recording in 2014. Echoes of Steinberg’s compositional voice can be heard in Kreek’s setting of Psalm 137 (LXX 136) “By the waters of Babylon,” which you won’t want to miss on this weekend’s program!
Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure
Renowned Finnish choral director Timo Nuoranne returns to direct glimmering sacred works from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Estonia. With selections from Cappella Romana’s celebrated recording Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music, and a Trisagion in Estonian, Slavonic, and Greek by Erkki-Sven Tüür.
Audiences in the Pacific Northwest know Timo Nuoranne from his Cappella Romana debut with Arctic Light in 2014: a concert program that was almost scrapped, as the program’s original director (Fr. Ivan Moody) was forced to cancel his appearance due to a recent injury that prevented him from flying.
The project was a brilliant success, and Timo’s excellent musicianship, commitment, and rapport with the singers was on full display.
Because of Timo’s life-long commitment to the choral music of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016), we invited him to come back for a project this past January, Rautavaara’s completely peerless All-Night Vigil.
But it was not to be.
Timo had produced the definitive recording of Rautavaara’s All-Night Vigil with the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, which he directed for many years.
Everything was in place for his second appearance.
But then we hit a major snag. His work visa became mired in a worldwide bureaucratic confusion at the State Department (and its embassies) following the presidential inauguration. After multiple attempts, three airfare rebookings, and personal calls to our government officials, Timo was not able to travel to the United States to direct the Rautavaara concert.
Undaunted, we quickly began to devise a new program that would bring Timo back to the States, directing music that he knows and loves. The result was Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure.
“I am absolutely thrilled that Timo will be leading this music for audiences in the Pacific Northwest,” said Mark Powell, Executive Director of Cappella Romana. “I am half Norwegian myself, and 25 years ago I had the privilege of performing some of this music with the great choral leader, the late Eric Ericson from Sweden.” At that time, Timo was completing his graduate studies with Maestro Ericson in Stockholm. “When Timo first came to work with Cappella Romana we became quick friends over our shared experience with Eric Ericson. I’m so happy that Timo will be back with us again.”
Timo Nuroanne arrives later this week to start rehearsals with Cappella Romana for “Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure.”
Leading our Arctic Light performances will be director, Timo Nuoranne, a faculty member at the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki and one of the world’s leading experts in the Finnish choral repertoire.
The program will include 20th-century works from the Finnish Orthodox Church, including selections of the (in)famous Vigilia by Einojuhani Rautavaara, of which Nuoranne has made the definitive recording. Stream some Timo Nuoranne’s definitive Vigilia recording right here in a preview of the concert!
8pm, Fri., Jan. 17, St. Mary’s Cathedral
8pm, Sat., Jan. 18, St. Joseph’s Parish
Timo Nuoranne from Helsinki Directs Cappella Romana in “Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music” in January 2014
Back by popular demand, this program of sumptuous choral works from the Orthodox Church of Finland was first performed to sold-out audiences in 2008.
Timo Nuoranne, a faculty member at the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki and one of the world’s leading experts in the Finnish choral repertoire, will direct.
The program will include 20th-century works from the Finnish Orthodox Church, including selections of the (in)famous Vigilia by Einojuhani Rautavaara, of which Nuoranne has made the definitive recording.
Cappella Romana’s 20th CD release, of this program “Arctic Light,” will be pre-released at the concerts.
Guest director Timo Nuoranne will present a free pre-concert talk on the Finnish choral tradition one hour prior to each performance.
PORTLAND: Fri., Jan. 17, 2014, 8pm, St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St (at 18th)
SEATTLE: Sat., Jan. 18, 2014, 8pm, St. Joseph’s Parish, 732 18th Ave East
TICKETS: Order online or call 503.236.8202 or call Box Office Tickets at 800.494.8497 (phone service fee applies). Platinum, Gold & Silver seating available. Prices start at $25, with discounts for seniors, students & Arts for All.
“Arctic Light: Finnish Orthodox Music” will feature nineteen of the finest singers in the Northwest.
Notes about the program
While Orthodoxy was the earliest form of Christianity to reach Finland, its sacred music was initially drawn from the Russian Slavic tradition. During the 20th century, Finnish church music composers produced a new wealth of choral music written in their native language, stimulated by the post-WWII nationalist movement and solidified by Finland’s declaration of neutrality during the Cold War-era. The resulting style celebrated both heritage and history, marrying the shining Northern clarity of sound with the sonic richness of its Russian roots.
“Arctic Light” will feature music from this style, including works by Pekka Attinen, Boris Jakubov, and Leonid Bashmakov, as well as contemporary works by modern Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. British composer Ivan Moody’s “Te apostolit,” a work in Finnish on the Dormition of Mother of God, is also featured on the program.