We celebrate the beginning of Great Lent with Byzantine music. From the website of the Chronos Ensemble:
Wonderful Byzantine Music!!!
“Byzantine Passions” or “Chants of Holy Week” were recorded at 2012. This is a solo album of Evgeny Skurat, the art director of Chronos ensemble.
Last sermon of Christ, the anointing by a sinful woman and Judas betrayal, the Last supper, Passions, Crucifixion and Entombment of Jesus are chanted in Greek and Slavic.
The music of the most distinguished post-Byzantine composers is recorded on this double CD. These compositions by German of New Patras, Nikolaos of Smyrna, Petr of Peloponnese, Theodor of Phocaea and Petr Filanfidis one can not find even on the albums from Greece.
Most of the chanted texts were composed in VIII-IXth by John of Damascus, Cosmas of Maiuma, Theodore the Studite and Kassia – the saints of the Eastern church.
A very pleasant surprise from our friend and colleague, Vincent Moon, who churns out stream of startlingly beautiful compilations from places off the beaten path (Ossetia, Chechnya, etc). His label, Collection Petites Planètes, presents a compilation done with the assistance of Fatime Kosumi, a Kosovar singer of Albanian heritage, covering folk tunes for female choir.
There is an accompanying video which was posted by the duo at Vimeo, which you can access here.
We drift gently into the Nativity with a few Ukrainian Christmas Carols performed by tenor Ivan Kozlovskiy and orchestra.
Belarusian countertenor Slava Kagan-Paley sings Franz Schubert’s version of ‘Ave Maria’, in honor of the ultimate Mother, for all mothers on this day.
After a rather brutal week health-wise, I figured it was time to listen to something which would be both lengthy and calm enough to let me wind down a bit. Hearing England’s The Hilliard Ensemble perform this sumptuous work by Arvo Pärt suffices nicely.
Kitka come as an absolute surprise to my ears. A group of American women who do justice to the Eastern Orthodox choral music of Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and other locales, they treat the material with reverence and sing in a nearly angelic manner. One of the best choral collections I’ve heard in some time.
A personal story about Iraida Yusupova.
Many years ago, I had run a record label (Falçata-Galia) which had a few releases. I was, and am, proud of every single one, though the label disintegrated thanks to many misunderstandings which the artists never had a part of. Iraida was one of the artists I desperately wanted to publish, and as it seems I’m drifting back into the trajectory of music again, it looks like a grand opportunity to work with one of my favorite modern composers.
This is a new work by her. Choral bliss.
A gorgeous piece of minimalism with choir by former Sigur Rós multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson, who is off working on a couple of new projects of his own.