Capella Romana presents "Baroque Splendor" with 21-yr old Iranian-born organist Mahan Esfahani
The Resurrection History
by German composer Heinrich Schütz
The first half will feature The Resurrection History (1623) by Heinrich Schütz, a setting of the biblical accounts of Jesus’ resurrection for 8-part choir and soloists. Making his Northwest début on continuo organ will be Mahan Esfahani, the extraordinary 21-year-old Tehran-born organist and harpsichordist currently at Stanford University. Performing the role of Evangelist will be tenor Blake Applegate, known to Northwest audiences as assistant director of Cantores in Ecclesia and a regular soloist with the Trinity Consort and other early music ensembles.
The second half will present Russian and Ukrainian music for the Paschal Divine Liturgy (Mass) reflecting the variety of native and foreign styles of music sung in the 17th-century. Traditional Slavic culture will be represented by chant and indigenous polyphony from the Kievan, Znamenny, and Demestvenny repertories (whose polyphonic styles are just as likely to sound in seconds as in thirds). These will be juxtaposed with extravagant baroque “partesny” (i.e., sung from part-books) motets in as many as 12 individual parts by Nikolai Diletksy and Vasily Titov.
Digital photos available.
ABOUT THE FEATURED ARTISTS
MAHAN ESFAHANI, GUEST ORGANIST
Hailed as an 'extraordinarily nimble-fingered' exemplar of 'bravura playing' (San Francisco Classical Voice), the Tehran-born early keyboardist Mahan Esfahani is finishing his B.A. in Musicology at Stanford University, where he is also the recipient of two performance awards, the Dan Robinson Prize in instrumental performance and the Blew-Culley-LaFollette Prize in keyboard. He is active across the United States as a harpsichordist and organist, most notably with the critically-acclaimed Ciaramella Ensemble for 15th-century music. In addition to distinguishing himself as an active solo musician and collaborative player, Mr. Esfahani has also had a successful start to a musicological career and has published and presented musicological papers on subjects ranging from the study of music theory in the Medieval Islamic world to the music of early Renaissance keyboard collections, and more recently has been examining the emergence of Italian Romantic Opera for his final thesis in musicology. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, and has appeared at the Bloomington, Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and Amherst Festivals, and has performed with Ciaramella, the Whole Noyse, A Due Canti, and Berkeley's B.A.C.H. Ensemble. Mahan can be heard on the Naxos label, performing as a soloist with the Ciaramella ensemble.
BLAKE APPLEGATE, TENOR
Blake Applegate, tenor, is the Assistant Director of Cantores in Ecclesia, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Gregorian chant and liturgical music. In addition to directing the choir at home and on tour, he is also responsible for training its choristers. He is a member of the Schola Cantorum of Holy Rosary Church and the Temple Beth Israel Quartet, and frequently sings with Trinity Consort, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival, and Cappella Romana. This past year he sang with Cappella Romana at concerts in New York, Los Angeles, and at the Bloomington Early Music Festival in Indiana, and was featured in a recital of consort songs for Portland's William Byrd Festival. Mr. Applegate and his wife, Anna Song, are deeply committed to the musical education and vocal training of children. Their daughter, Grace, recently celebrated her first birthday.
ABOUT CAPPELLA ROMANA
Directed by founder Alexander Lingas, Cappella Romana is a vocal chamber ensemble dedicated to combining passion with scholarship in its exploration of the musical traditions of the Christian East and West, with emphasis on early and contemporary music. Performing music of the Three Romes, its name is derived from the medieval concept of the Roman oikoumene (inhabited world), which included not only "Old" Rome and Western Europe but also "New Rome" (Constantinople) and "Third Rome" (Moscow) and its commonwealth of Slavic countries. Cappella Romana made its London début in March 2004 at the Byzantine Festival in London, with concerts at Queen Elizabeth Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Greek Cathedral of London. The following month the ensemble made its New York début at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Its fourth CD recording, “Music of Byzantium,” was released on CD through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in March, 2004, and has sold over 8,000 copies. It has recorded two prior CDs on Gagliano and two on Gothic Records. Its latest recordings are “Epiphany: Medieval Byzantine Chant” on Gothic Records and “Lay Aside All Earthly Cares: Orthodox Choral Works in English” on CR Records. Forthcoming in 2006: “Music for the Fall of Constantinople” and “The Byzantine Divine Liturgy in English.”
Alexander Lingas is Cappella Romana’s founder and artistic director. Under his leadership Cappella Romana’s programming continues to expand, including music from the very oldest musical manuscripts to contemporary works by some of the world’s most notable composers. He has directed Cappella Romana on NPR and BBC Radio 3, Festival Vancouver (BC), and recently at the Byzantine Festival in London, which featured a gala concert in St. Paul’s Cathedral, performed before HRH The Duke of Kent and an audience of over 2,000. Dr. Lingas is currently an Assistant Professor of Music History at Arizona State University’s School of Music and a Fellow of the University of Oxford’s European Humanities Research Centre. With a B.A. in Music (Composition) and Russian Language from Portland State University, he received his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Lingas has received Fulbright and Onassis grants for musical studies in Greece with noted cantor Lycourgos Angelopoulos, a Junior Fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., and a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship for study in Oxford under Bishop Kallistos (Ware). From 1998 until 2001 he was British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Oxford University’s St. Peter’s College. In May 2001 he collaborated with Ioannis Arvanitis, Lycourgos Angelopoulos and the Greek Byzantine Choir on the first celebration in 500 years of Vespers according to the ancient Rite of Hagia Sophia. His upcoming projects include books on Sunday Matins in the Rite of Hagia Sophia and Byzantine experiments in polyphony, as well as a general introduction to Byzantine Chant for the Yale University Press. From 2003–2004 Dr. Lingas was in Princeton, New Jersey as a member of the School of Historical Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study and as an NEH Area Studies Fellow from the American Council of Learned Societies.
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