Orthodox Liturgical Music & Chants (49)
The Church’s Liturgy is so important, St. John of Kronstadt even said that, “If one was to put all of the world’s most precious things on one side of a scale, and the Divine Liturgy on the other, the scales would tip completely in favor of the Divine Liturgy.” He revealed the depth of this statement by explaining that “the Divine Liturgy is truly a heavenly service upon earth, during which God Himself, in a particular, immediate, and most close manner, is present and dwells with men, being Himself the invisible Celebrant of the service, offering and being offered. There is nothing upon earth holier, higher, grander, more solemn, more life-giving than the Liturgy....When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai in the Old Testament, the Hebrew people were ordered to previously prepare and cleanse themselves. In the Divine Liturgy we have not a lesser event than God’s descent upon Mount Sinai, but a greater one: here before us is the very face of God the Lawgiver.” Sung in Arabic, Greek, and English by V. Rev. Elias Bitar, Samer Kannab-Adida, George Mansour, and Rana Nassour-Derbaly.
In celebration of 15 years of their beautiful musical offerings, the three sisters of Eikona have released this This beautiful compilation of several well known liturgical hymns of the Orthodox church, sung in several modes or tones in English (for the most part) according to the Byzantine chant transcriptions by Fr. Ephraim of St. Anthony`s Greek Orthodox Monastery in Arizona.
A Byzantine Christmas Carol is a collection of hymns from the tradition of the Orthodox Christian Church, sung in the traditional style of Byzantine Chant. The hymns are taken from the various services associated with the feasts of the Nativity of Christ and the Theophany of Christ, and are sung in English. The hymns meditate both on the themes of the feasts and on our relationship to the feasts and to God as humans of the "modern" world. The hymns delve into the Eastern Christian understanding of salvation as one of synergy with God, realizing itself in our own embodiment of the feasts, incarnating within ourselves the Word of God, and allowing God to be manifested in our lives such that our heavenly Father may look down upon us as well and say "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The Choir of St. Nicholas Church released their premiere CD, Good and Faithful Servant, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of their parish. The hymns represented here reflect the rich and varied practice of liturgical singing at the parish, drawing upon a number of different chant traditions. These beloved hymns from throughout the church year, including Lent, Pascha, Christmas, and the feast of St. Nicholas, stem from a variety of traditions, but principally that of South Western Rus`. They form the foundation of our choir`s repertoire, yet many are unlikely to be heard elsewhere! The choir has also selected three tracks of beautiful church bells ringing. The majority of the singing is in English language; the others are identified within the track listing below. The CD was professionally recorded and produced, and contains over 70 minutes of music.
This is the fifth recording by Eikona, a contemporary Byzantine music chorale, and continues their efforts to record the principal services in the Eastern liturgikon. This Service of Great Vespers is in the third tone, with music arranged by John M. Boyer. The quality of the recording and the production overall is very good. The services of Great Vespers rotate through the eight Byzantine tones, so this CD provides one of the eight, and includes constituent parts of the service such as the Evening Psalm and two litanies, in addition to the hymnology of the service. The recording is in English.
It is said that Father Gregory Petroff was murdered while in a prison camp, but not before he was able to pen the poignant Akathist of Thanksgiving, giving to the Church and to the world light from great darkness, reminding us that even in the midst of frightful suffering true Christian conviction and courage are unconquerable.
American composer Richard Toensing creates a vibrant musical synthesis of East and West with new settings of ancient Orthodox Christmas texts. This virtuosic Choral Concerto for unaccompanied double choir and multiple soloists uses the dramatic words of St. Romanos the Melodist (6th c.) to recount the mystery of Jesus? birth. Toensing?s more intimate New Orthodox Carols for the Nativity of Christ alternate between exuberant celebration and joyful contemplation as they bridge the gap between Byzantine and American hymnody. Chanted/sung in English, liner notes in English with complete hymn text.
Whenever a bishop serves it is customary to offer musical settings that are particularly elaborate and festive, in part to cover certain liturgical actions that require more time (the Great Entrance, the Communion of the clergy), but also as a way of marking the special character of the occasion.