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JOIN US! GREAT MUSIC IN A GREAT SPACE PRESENTS: Great Choir: The Glory of Constantinople TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, :30 PM 9 PM, GREAT CHOIR, CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE In this sixth collaboration
JOIN US! GREAT MUSIC IN A GREAT SPACE PRESENTS: Great Choir: The Glory of Constantinople TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, :30 PM 9 PM, GREAT CHOIR, CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE In this sixth collaboration of the Cathedral Choir with world music ensemble Rose of the Compass, we explore the glories of Constantinople, now Istanbul. From chants and motets composed upon the transfer of this great city from Christian to Muslim hands in the 15th century, to extraordinary modern-day arrangements of indigenous folk songs sung in Turkish, this concert promises to be an uplifting and inspiring look at the culture emanating from this seat of the Ottoman Empire. Notes on the Music Constantinople is only city in the world that sits astride two continents. Known to antiquity as Byzantium and to the modern world as Istanbul, it was already a thousand years old when, in AD 330, Constantine the Great made it capital of the Eastern Roman ( Byzantine ) Empire, capital of Christian civilization as well. In 1453, a thousand years later, the city was besieged and finally captured by Sultan Mehmet II. It then became capital of the Ottoman Empire, which endured until 1923 and the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Tonight we address the spiritual, cultural, and artistic heritage of Constantinople, especially its cruciality to the Eastern and Western churches during its existence. Yet we can scarcely hope to navigate those waters without reference to the varied tributaries liturgical song, folk music, princely artifacts of worship that flowed into its deep channels over the years. 1 Music from the Divine Liturgy Chant traditions in the Eastern Church have continuously evolved from ancient times to the present, as living practitioners contribute variants and additions. Did Byzantine chant mutate from pre- Christian Greek (and thus folk) traditions? Most Eastern Mediterranean peoples spoke Greek, and most early Christian documents first circulated in Greek. Or perhaps these chants reflect the heritage of early Jewish Christian communities such as that of Antioch. We will never know. More certain is that the development of Byzantine chant cannot be considered apart from its centuries-long relationship with the Imperial Court, which heavily influenced the creation and preservation of liturgical chant for its ceremonies. Imperial Acclamations for Constantine XI Paleologos Byzantine Liturgy, 15th c. Ayia. Polla ta eti ton vasileon. Ayia. May the Kings have many years. Konstandinou tou efsevestatou vasileos ke To Constantine Paleologos, the most faithful King aftokratoros Romeon, polla ta eti. & Emperor of the Romans, many years! Kirie, soson tous vasilis Lord, save the Kings. ke epakouson imon. And hear us. Hymn for Great Compline Manuel Gazes the Lampadarios (fl. 1440) Ayia. I asomatos fisis, ta Herouvim, asiyitis se imnis, doxoloyi. Exapteriga zoa, ta Serafim, tes apafstis fones se iperipsi. Ayie, ayie, ayie, Trisayie Kirie, eleison ke soson imas. Communion Verse for Pentecost Hagia Sophia Choirbook, 13th c. Neayie. To Pnevma sou to agathon odiyisi me en yi efthia. Allelouia. Ayia. The bodiless nature, the Cherubim, glorifies you with never-silent hymns, The six-winged living creatures, the Seraphim, exalt you with unceasing voices. Holy, Holy, Holy, Thrice-holy Lord, have mercy and save us. Neayie. Your good Spirit will lead me in an upright land. Alleluia. (Ps. 142: 10b) Our program begins with music from the Divine Liturgy (the Eucharist) as it would have been heard by Constantine XI Paleologos, last Roman Emperor of Constantinople, who was enthroned in Following Acclamations for the Emperor, the choir presents an unusual work by Gazes the Lampadarios, an Eastern composer who sought to enlarge the scope of Byzantine chant by creating polyphony in the style of early Western organum, i.e., through drones, parallel fifths, and other textural enhancements. Finally, the Communion Verse as sung tonight derives from a 13th-century copy of the choirbook of Hagia Sophia, largest Christian temple of its day. Like other chants from this source, the Communion s melismas ornate, rhapsodic multi-note settings of single syllables are punctuated by non-lexical vocables (na, ne, ou, he, ha, etc.). 2 Turkish Instrumental Music Nihavant Saz Samai Mesut Cemil Bey ( ) Şehnaz Longa Ethem Bey Santurî ( ) Art music was first cultivated in the monasteries of central Anatolia during the 13th century. It was also performed at the sultan s court and in the palaces of the aristocracy with professional singers and fairly large instrumental groups. The music was transmitted orally for many generations, which ensured that only the music of the most talented individuals survived. Traditionally, performers improvise upon (i.e., realize) compositional sketches in order to complete them; likewise, instrumentation is seldom specified. With the abolition in 1826 of the Janissary bands (we hear their echoes in the Turkish music of Mozart and Beethoven), a period of profound Westernization began in Turkish music. Today, traditional art music co-exists in Turkish musical life with Western orchestras, electronic pop/dance sounds, and the reincarnated music of the Janissaries. Nevertheless, a determined group of traditionalists persisted with earlier art-music styles, including the composers represented on this program. Traditional Turkish art music is based on makamlar, individual scales with unique sets of properties including ascending and descending melodic formulas, opening and closing tones, and emphasized tones or phrases. Unlike an Indian rāga, a makam has no allegorical significance and is not linked to a particular time of day or season. Each work also has a prescribed usul or rhythmic pattern, typically sounded using the düm-teka system common to much Arab music. Phrase length and phrase successions are largely determined by the prosody of the original text, regardless of whether it is sung. Besides customary interludes and refrains, improvisations are interleaved, usually by an instrumentalist rather than a singer. The music remains entirely melodic, although players who join in refrains and basic statements of the makam will frequently ornament the line differently, producing colorful heterophony in the ensemble. Rose of the Compass presents these selections in authentic manner, contributing improvised preludes (taksim) and solos when appropriate. Composer Mesut Cemil was a notable tanbur and cello player. After attending the Berlin Music Academy, he found work at Istanbul Radio, where he eventually held several important posts; he also formed the Classical Choir at Ankara Radio. Ethem Bey Santurî is considered one of the most important musical figures of the late Ottoman period. His father was a captain in the Janissary guard during the final flourishing of Ottoman culture. Santurî s Şehnaz Longa is one of the most beloved compositions from that period. Sevki Bey, born in Istanbul in 1860, wrote hundreds of songs, including over one hundred works in the uzzal makam alone, before dying at the age of 31. Sultan Abdülaziz ( ), 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, reigned from 1861 to Besides overseeing the growth of the Ottoman Navy, he took a special interest in music composition; several of his most successful works have been preserved in collections. He was eventually deposed, not because of musical activities but due to his lavish spending on the navy and on new palaces. 3 Ikon Pieces Kontakion for St. Basil, MS Psaltikon Florence Ashburnhamensis 64 (1289) Ayia. Ofthis vasis asistos ti Ekklisia, nemon Ayia. You appeared as an unshakeable foundation for the pasin asilon, tin kiriotita vrotis, episfrayizon sis Church, maintaining its authority as a sure refuge for mortals, dogmasin, ouranofandor, Vasilie osie. sealing it by your doctrines, venerable Basil, Revealer of heaven. Kontakion for Theophane, Romanos the Melodist, 6th c. Ayia. Epefanis simeron ti ikoumeni, Ayia. Today you have appeared to the inhabited world, ke to fos sou Kirie, esimiothi ef imas, and your light, O Lord, has been signed upon us, en epignosi imnoundas se. who with knowledge sing your praise: Ilthes efanis to fos to aprositon. You have come, you have appeared, the unapproachable Light. Balsamus et munda cera (1431), Guillaume Dufay (c ) Triplum, Motetus: Triplum, Motetus: Balsamus et munda cera cum chrismatis unda Balsam and wax with the pure water of consecrated oil make conficiunt agnum, quem do tibi muneri magnum the lamb, that I give thee in his greatness as a gift, fonte velut natum, per mystica sanctificatum: as if born of the fountain, sanctified by mysteries; fulgura desursum depellit et omne malignum. it deflects lightning from above and everything evil. Pregnans servatur, sine ve partus liberatur; The pregnant woman is kept safe, delivers without birth s woe; portatus mundae servat a fluctibus undae, he who was carried chastely keeps us safe from the floods, peccatum frangit ut Christi sanguis et angit, even as Christ s blood breaks and torments sin; dona refert dignis, virtutem destruit ignis, he returns gifts to the worthy, destroys the power of fire, morte repentina servat Sathaneque ruina. and saves us from sudden death and Satan s ruin. Alleluia. Si quis honoret eum, Alleluia. If any honor him, retinet ab hoste triumphum. Alleluia. he will triumph over his enemy. Alleluia. Tenor: Isti sunt agni novelli. Tenor: These are the new lambs. The 6th century AD witnessed the dedication of Constantinople s immense Hagia Sophia. Its size and its presence in the imperial capital undoubtedly encouraged the development of lengthy, sumptuous new liturgical chants. Actions of worship like processions or communion required more time to complete. The patriarchate also wished to announce important events or initiatives through songs that engaged the congregation emotionally. Of these new chants, the kontakion is among the oldest; its origins can be traced to the 6th century and to St. Romanos the Melodist, a Jewish convert to Christianity who hailed from Berytos (Beirut) and brought this form to Constantinople. A kontakion was a poetic paraphrase of the sermon for the day, i.e., Morning Office of a feast worthy of elaborate celebration. Kontakia required skilled soloists who sang ornate melismas for the prologues, which the choir then rounded off with less complex refrains. Eventually most kontakia were reduced to a single prologue with refrain. The Kontakion for St. Basil performed tonight is taken from a Roman manuscript that preserves florid chants as sung at Hagia Sophia. The Kontakion for Theophany reflects another facet of Eastern liturgy. Whereas the Greek East had originally observed the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 as a general celebration of Christ s appearance on earth, encompassing both the Nativity and his Baptism in the Jordan by John, it eventually adopted the Roman West s observance of December 25 for the Nativity, repurposing January 6 as Theophany, devoted exclusively to Christ s Baptism. Romans, on the other hand, used Epiphany to emphasize the visit of the Magi; in time it became known as the twelfth day of Christmas. This Theophany kontakion, attributed to St. Romanos, was set down in a 15th-century manuscript now housed at a monastery on Mount Athos. It is rare for a syllabic kontakion to be preserved in written form, but even more remarkable is how closely it accords with the received Greek melody a product of the oral tradition ultimately published in 19th-century Constantinople. 4 Western Responses As part of the Mass Ordinary, the Kyrie eleison is sung near the beginning of every principal Sunday service in the Roman rite. We do well to remember that this prayer, with its Greek words, originated within the vast and multicultural Roman Empire of Late Antiquity (Lingas) at a time when the shared beliefs of Greek and Latin Christians rendered their geographical separation far less significant than their spiritual unity. The Kyrie Cunctipotens Genitor sung tonight, taken from a 15th-century Greek manuscript, is virtually identical to that provided in the Liber Usualis by the Benedictine Monks of Solesmes. The Cantigas de Santa Maria, assembled at the court of Alfonso the Wise, King of Castile and León ( ), are considered one of the great monuments of medieval music. They consist of more than 400 monophonic songs in the style of the troubadours and jongleurs who customarily entertained French and Spanish aristocracy. These songs mainly recount miracles performed by the Virgin Mary; every tenth song is a general song in her praise. A number of Cantigas feature Moors (Muslims) and Jews, reminding us that even during the Reconquista, a contentious historical period that led to the Inquisition, adherents of the three Abrahamic religions managed to coexist in the Iberian peninsula with a degree of comity. Because veneration of the Blessed Virgin has its roots in the Eastern Church, Todo logar mui ben póde seems especially fitting for tonight s program. It recounts a legend in which the Virgin responded to the Patriarch Germanos, who prayed to her to deliver Constantinople from invasion by the Sultan of Syria. This story is rooted in historical fact, as Germanos did indeed contribute in AD 718 to the successful defense of the city, after which the Akathist Hymn was chanted to honor the Theotokos (cf. Latin Dei genitrix, Mother of God). Composer Guillaume Dufay (c ) exemplifies the attitudes and artistic contributions of the Western church during the final years of the Great Schism. Since the 11th century, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Byzantine Churches had experienced disagreements in doctrine and governance that ultimately proved insurmountable. These differences were exacerbated by cultural disparities and by political strife; both wings of the church were heavily involved in affairs of state. Matters worsened after 1204 and the Fourth Crusade s capture and sacking of Constantinople, an act of Western barbarism that still burns in the memory of Eastern Orthodox Christians. Yet many attempts, large and small, were made over the years to maintain communications and engender mutual cordiality. These took on greater significance during Dufay s lifetime as threats by the Turks to the Byzantine Empire escalated. Roman popes and Byzantine emperors sent messages and gifts to each other. Marriage alliances were contracted between the great aristocratic families of East and West. As the foremost musician of his day, well connected to the papal court and many prominent families, Dufay himself engaged in similar projects. His early isorhythmic motet, Vasilissa, ergo gaude, celebrated the 1421 marriage of a Malatesta daughter to one of the Byzantine emperor s sons. Balsamus et munda cera, performed tonight, was composed in 1431 for the first occasion at which newly elected Pope Eugenius IV celebrated a special post-easter Mass with ritual distribution of wax figures of the Lamb of God (agnus dei). The text, however, had been written in the previous century by Pope Urban V as part of a gift sent to Emperor John V Paleologus. Later the Emperor visited Urban V and agreed to steps that would have led to a reunification of the Eastern and Western churches. In any case, Dufay seems to have recognized the continuing relevance of the poetry, which describes the power of God s love to protect the innocent and allow those who honor [the lamb] to keep victory back from the enemy. Whereas the interplay of motives in the upper lines florid arabesques give full expression to the gentle poetry, the strict isorhythmic construction of this music s lower lines remains largely hidden veiled, like the mysteries it commemorates. 5 In a letter of 22 February 1456 to Piero and Giovanni de Medici, Guillaume Dufay mentioned that he had written four Lamentations for Constantinople which are rather good.... If you do not have them, be so kind as to let me know and I shall send them to you. Only one has survived: the Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae. It was apparently inspired by a similar lament at the Feast of the Pheasant, given by Dufay s patron Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in Philip hoped to promote a crusade against Mehmet II to retake Constantinople. A Papal Bull of 1455 promised a campaign against the Turks the following year; Dufay wrote the Lamentatio in support of that announcement. Unlike Balsamus, this motet is written in the newly fashionable manner of a polyphonic chanson. Aside from the tenor, all its voices are freely composed, not bound by the formulaic constraints of isorhythm. In the French text the speaker is the Virgin Mary metaphorically, the Mother Church her plaint addressed to God the Father. Mary s words are set against a Latin text in the tenor from Jeremiah 1:2 ( All her friends have dealt treacherously with her ), a scriptural text originally prompted by the devastation of Jerusalem in the 6th century BC. As placed in Dufay s Lamentatio, it presents a direct rebuke to the West for failing to aid the Byzantine Empire. The tenor quotes a Psalm Tone used in chanting the Lamentations during Holy Week; other voices consistently echo its distinctive rising melody. 6 Turkish Folk Songs The Turks came westward from central Asia more than 900 years ago, eventually occupying all of Anatolia. Their music still bears traces of its Asian origin but has become so intermingled with Persian, Arab, Balkan, and Greek influences that no one can point to any style feature as uniquely Turkish. Folk music remains a living tradition in Turkey. Outsiders may be struck by the number of modern versions of old folk favorites, redone for contemporary taste, that flourish on outlets like YouTube. Old peasant songs tend to belong to either the uzun hava ( long melody ) or kırık hava ( shattered melody ) styles. The former are marked by rhythmic freedom, greater ornamentation, and lengthy melodic lines. They include both love songs and laments (âĝıt). The latter, now often simply called türkü, are usually dance songs with less ornamentation, smaller ranges, syllabic texts or non-lexical vocables, and strict meter (a steady beat ). In both uzun hava and kırık hava, melodies tend to begin or quickly ascend to a high note, then wind gradually downward. Serious study of folk music in the region began with Komitas Vardapet ( ), Armenian priest, musicologist, composer, and choirmaster who collected and catalogued vast numbers of Armenian, Kurdish, and other folk songs. In 1910 he moved to Constantinople in order to found the Gusan Choir, which gave performances of music Komitas had arranged. Because he was Armenian, he was arrested and sent to a prison camp by the Ottoman government in He never fully recovered from this traumatic incident, dying twenty years later in a French psychiatric hospital. The arrangements performed tonight pay artistic tribute to Fr. Komitas, who combined Western training (he had studied in Berlin) with a deep sensitivity to regional poets and subject matter. Urfa nin Daglari, an âĝıt from Shanliurfa, circulates with many verses and variants. Musically it is made up of brief melodic couplets, each immediately repeated. Although beginnings of couplets may vary melodically or through ornamentation, their ending patterns are similar, invariably descending through an augmented second (the gypsy interval) to the tonic. In further lyrics to this song, a parent seems to warn a child: My gazelle, do not wander in the smoky mountains of Urfa. They may hunt you there. You will be taken away from your mother, father, lover. My eyes burn; I have lost my babies. Although the origin of the song cannot be accurately determined, it is now often associated with the 1915 genocide of Armenian peoples in Turkey. Ben Giderim Batum a is an energetic dance song in irregular meter. The lyrics refer in a joking manner to a lovers assignation in the worst section or s
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