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Coming soon: Cappella Romana’s Greatest Hits, Vol. I (330-1453)

Well, sort of. Mark Powell tells me that to some extent, Music of Byzantium was the first “greatest hits” collection, but to me that’s the live album with some bonus tracks. This is a compilation of selections from their studio recordings of the late antique/medieval Byzantine repertoire, released as a companion to the Byzantium: 330-1453 exhibit now running at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. I don’t know that this is the kind of thing that will really scream for a full-on review since it’s all previously-released material, but we’ll see. It certainly looks like a disc that will be a terrific introduction to medieval Byzantine chant as well as to Cappella Romana, and worth recommending on that basis at least. This will only be available in the UK for a bit yet, but it will eventually be out here, I’m told. You can order it online here, but shipping from the UK will double the cost. I’d just wait for the US release (or, if you’re going to the exhibit anyway, buy it from the gift shop in person).

Here’s the press release. I have taken the liberty of linking the recording titles to the pages where they may be purchased. I have them all and can recommend them all; I will say that The Fall of Constantinople and Byzantium in Rome tend to have higher production values than the other two in my opinion, and Music of Byzantium contains live versions of much of the same repertoire as The Fall of Constantinople, sometimes with interesting differences (and sometimes with a door slamming right in the middle of a number — ah, live music). Don’t let the price for Epiphany scare you; it’s out of print at the moment, but Mark says that it will be re-released at some point.

CAPPELLA ROMANA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Powell, mobile 503-927-9027; msg line 503.236.8202; E-mail mark@cappellaromana.org

London’s Royal Academy of Arts
Releases New CD Recording by Cappella Romana
for its Mega-Exhibition “Byzantium 330-1453”

25 October 2008 — PORTLAND, Ore, USA; London, United Kingdom — Cappella Romana announces the release of its 11th recording, the official companion CD commissioned for the exhibition, BYZANTIUM: 330-1452, at London’s Royal Academy of Arts (25 October ’08 to 22 March ’08. http://www.royalacademy.org.uk)

The Royal Academy calls this new CD “A glorious collection of choral music which traces the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire, all sung by the world’s leading performers of Byzantine chant, Cappella Romana.” The ensemble’s first museum exhibition CD, Music of Byzantium, commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2004, sold 12,000 copies.

The new CD, Cappella Romana’s third release in 2008, is a compilation of earlier recordings. It features tracks from Epiphany, Cappella Romana’s first full-length recording of Medieval Byzantine chant, as well as from the CD titles The Fall of Constantinople, Byzantium in Rome, and Music of Byzantium.

The disc will initially be available in the UK and Europe exclusively through the Royal Academy. Beginning in November 2008, the title will be distributed and sold in North America through Cappella Romana (www.cappellaromana.org) by special arrangement with the Royal Academy.

The Royal Academy of Arts in London is the fourth major world museum to have engaged Cappella Romana for its expertise in Medieval Byzantine Chant, joining these three institutions:

* The Metropolitan Museum in New York (Byzantium: Faith and Power, 2004; with CD selling 12,000 copies)
* The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (Byzantium and the West, 2004 and Icons from Sinai, 2006)
* The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (In the Beginning: Bibles before the Year 1000, 2006)

The first evening lecture of “Byzantium: 300-1453” will be given by Dr. Alexander Lingas, Cappella Romana’s founder and artistic director, on 7 November. Titled “The Heavenly Liturgy: Byzantine Psalmody to 1453, ” it will be enhanced by sung demonstrations by Dr. Lingas, Cappella singer John Michael Boyer, and three cantors from Hagia Sophia Cathedral, London.

The Royal Academy’s exhibition has received major press coverage in the UK and throughout the world, including a review and photo essay in Time magazine (Fri., 24 Oct. 2008).

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