Hi everybody — just squeaking in under the wire in getting this up on Tuesday, but last weekend was a very busy few days, being occupied with the Boston Byzantine Music Festival (LINK), sponsored by the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture (LINK). Cappella Romana (LINK) gave a lovely performance on Friday of the program “The Fall of Constantinople”; I first heard this program in the Indiana University School of Music (LINK)‘s Auer Hall at the Bloomington Early Music Festival (LINK) in May 2004, and to say that it’s music that means something completely different to me ten and a half years later is an understatement to say the least. The Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir (LINK) also sang Saturday evening (they were kind enough to allow me to join them) in a program of the music of Petros Peloponnesios, followed by the Turkish ensemble Dünya (LINK). The performances were all terrific, and then there were also some excellent lectures and workshops, including Dr. Alexander Lingas’ lecture “Greeks, Latins, and the Musical Culture of Late Byzantium”, and Psalm 103 composer John Michael Boyer’s workshop on conducting a Byzantine choir. In addition, Gabriel Cremeens, a contributor to Paraklitiki‘s first issue, gave a great talk on English language composition in Byzantine chant.
Dr. Lingas’ talk included the following quote from Meletios Pegas (1549-1601), Patriarch of Alexandria, that ought to be of interest to our friends and supporters:
For it is said, “Sing to God, you righteous ones of his”. One can praise divine things not only through monophonic chanting, but also through polyphonic harmony, which is not discordant, according to the custom of each country, so that we may neither give nor take offence.
Food for thought.
I mentioned Paraklitiki having a contributor, and indeed we have several; the first issue’s lineup includes contributions by Vladimir Morosan and John Boyer, as well as by Gabriel. Vlad has taken his excellent presentation from the 2011 Antiochian Village Sacred Music Institute, “What Makes Orthodox Music Orthodox”, and turned it into an article-length piece for us; John has a very thought-provoking essay titled “The Ethics of Liturgical Music”, and Gabriel has Byzantine chant in English that we will be publishing. I am also penning a response to Vlad; it’s provocative enough that it invites one, and hopefully my response is even half as much worth reading as what Vlad has written. We’ll also be running book reviews; Jeffers Engelhardt’s book on Estonian Orthodox music and identity is now out, as is the English translation of Gregorios Stathis’ classic on kalophony in Byzantine music.
Paraklitiki is also the focus of this week’s #GivingTuesday and #StJohnThursday video, so here we go: