Orthodox Liturgical Music & Chants (52)
This album is a tribute to the splendors of Byzantine music, source of the oldest Christian traditions. This is one of the greatest recordings of Byzantine music that exists in the world; a true and internationally recognized masterpiece. This CD has been conceived as a subtle dialogue between two outstanding artists representative of this renowned repertoire: a legend and an up-and-comer.
The Elevation of the Cross, celebrated on September 14th, commemorates the fourth-century discovery of the miracle-working Cross of Christ by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine. It also commemorates the recovery of the Cross from the Persians by the emperor Heraclius in the seventh century. At that time, it was “elevated” in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, which Saint Helen had built in its honor. To this day, bishops and priests in the Orthodox Church raise up the Cross on the feast day as the faithful continually chant “Lord have mercy” (Track 19). The Cross is raised as our symbol of victory over death, strength and healing for the faithful, and our reminder that we find eternal life through self-denial in this life.
Sung by the finest Russian and Bulgarian choirs, this extraordinary collection of transcendent prayers and hymns highlights the timeless Russian tradition of devotion to masterfully-composed Church music. Litrugical music by Russian composers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, such as Rachmaninov, Tchsikovsky, Bortniansky, and Kedrov, is performed by large, mixed choirs with an incredibly wide dynamic vocal range.
This recording by the monks of Holy Cross Monastery is dedicated to the Feast of Feasts-the bright and glorious Resurrection of our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The choir has used as a primary musical basis, the official Synodal chant books of the Russian Orthodox Church. These books, the only ones ever blessed for liturgical use by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church, represent the most ancient and venerable forms of Russian Church music. In adapting these sanctified melodies for English text, the monastic choir strives to preserve the reverent and ascetical spirit of the original hymns, while at the same time rendering the English versions easily intelligible.
The hymns on this CD are sung in various Russian chant forms (Znammeny, Valaam, Carpatho-Russian, etc.) by an all male choir, but almost as many are sung in either Byzantine chant or related chant forms. It is a terrific cross section of the Eastern Orthodox chant expression in English that is happening in many parishes today. The hymn selection is both festal and is principally from the Lenten-Paschal cycle. Liner insert includes the entire text in English.
The Paschal service is the most widely attended service of the year. It is filled with hymns of exhortation and joyful praise, announcing the good news of Christ’s Resurrection.
This is the day of Resurrection Let us be radiant in the festival Let us embrace one another Let us call brothers, even those who hate us And forgive all things in the resurrection And therefore let us proclaim: Christ is risen from the dead By death He has trampled upon death and to those in the tombs He is bestowing Life!
The brothers of the Valaam monastery choir in Russia sing and chant select hymns from Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha. Beautifully sung in Church Slavonic! This is the sort of recording where the spirituality and sincerity of the singers overcome language barriers. Znamenny Chant.
In 2006, the Summer School of Orthodox Liturgical Music marked the fifteenth anniversary of its founding. The recording project brought together approximately 30 singers under the direction of Nikolai Myshkin, a Moscow choir director who has been a long–time faculty member at the School. The repertoire and the style of singing are reflective of the School’s musical orientation—preserving the best traditions of the “new Russian Choral School”. More rehearsal and recording time would have likely yielded a slightly more polished product—the entire project was accomplished with only two rehearsals and four days of recording sessions. Nevertheless, the recording is a tribute to the dedication and perseverance of the School’s founders, faculty, and supporters, who have created an unparalleled institution for cultivating the art of Russian Orthodox liturgical singing outside of Russia.