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Music of Byzantium
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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1. Kontakion (To you my Champion)
2. Imperial Acclamations for Constantine XI Palaiologos
3. Kontakion for Theophany; Romanos the Melodist
4. Festal Trisagion (As many of you as have been baptized); Xenos Korones
5. Anagrammatismos for Theophany; St. John Koukouzelis
6. Sticheron Apostichon Idiomelon for St. Basil; Byzas
7. Kalophonic Coda for St. Basil; Gregorios the Domestikos
9. Kanon in Honor of St. Thomas Aquinas: Ode 1; Plousiadenos
10. Communion for Mid-Pentecost; Plousiadenos
11. Lament for the Fall of Constantinople; Manuel Chrysaphes
12. Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae; Guillame Dufay
13. O great and most sacred Pascha; Hieronymos Tragodistes of Cyprus
A selection of medieval Byzantine hymnology chosen by Alexander Lingas, Artistic Director of Cappella Romana, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art to comprise a CD to accompany the 2004 exhibit "Byzantium: Faith and Power." The hymn selections range from the late 13th century to early 16th centuries, transcribed from extant manuscripts. Composers include St. Romanos the Melodist, Xenos Korones, St. John Koukouzelis, Byzas, John Plousiadenos, Manuel Chrysaphes, Guillame Dufay and Hieronymos Tragodistes of Cyprus. Good liner notes with historical overview and description of each hymn, as well as complete hymn text in English.
This is an absolutely unique and superb recording! Unique because there is no other collection of this hymnology available; superb because this ensemble sings gloriously and has a deep and abiding passion for this music. The recording is really a survey of medieval Byzantine music, and while one might wish for more depths in some periods or on the part of some composers, the overview it provides the listener, to say nothing of the experience delivered, is top notch. Besides early period hymns like a very early Kontakion, it also has a Kyrie that represents the later Medieval influence of Latin chant in the East, with good representation from the major composers of the period. While this other representational hymnology is very good, most astonishing is the anguished rendition of Chrysaphes' "Lament for the Fall of Constantinople" followed by Dufay's "Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae." Both convey the impact of the fall of New Rome to the Turks, and almost leave one breathless. These are outstanding voices, under great direction, singing exceptional material, based on solid scholarship!
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