Cappella Romana Presents its Most In-Demand Program: 
The Fall of Constantinople,
Latin and Greek Music c. 1453

7 April 2006 — Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash. If any concert program has come to define the ensemble Cappella Romana, it is THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

This, the ensemble’s most in-demand program, has been performed at such prestigious venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Yale and Princeton, the Byzantine Festival in London, and recently at the Early Music Society of the Islands, Victoria, BC. Excerpts are featured on the CD Music of Byzantium, which has sold over 11,000 copies. Northwest audiences will hear this remarkable music of East and West in May.

The Fall of Constantinople is a program of Latin and Greek works reflecting the medieval twilight of the (Eastern) Roman Empire. Music to be performed includes majestic Byzantine chants, Latin ceremonial motets and two haunting laments commemorating the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 by Guillaume DuFay (c.1399–1474) and Manuel Chrysaphes, court musician to the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI.

In its current form, this program was first performed in January 2002, just a few months after September 11, 2001. Its resonance with current events could not have been predicted. A new CD of this music will also be released in May, produced by multiple Grammy award winner Steve Barnett. This is the first of at least five recordings to be produced by Mr. Barnett, who is the producer for Chanticleer and NPR’s St. Paul Sunday. This recording is funded in part by the A. G. Leventis Foundation, who recently awarded Cappella Romana with a second $20,000 grant for two more recordings of Greek and Latin music.

Artistic Director Alexander Lingas will conduct both concerts, after returning from an Italian tour during which Cappella Romana is scheduled for three concerts: One in Rome, and two in the Palermo region (Sicily) for a festival of Byzantine choirs. Dr. Lingas has recently taken up a new appointment as Lecturer in Music at City University in London, England.

The Fall of Constantinople Schedule

PORTLAND: Friday, 12 May 2006, 8pm
St. Mary's Cathedral - NW 18th and Couch, NW Portland
Portland Single Tickets:
$25 general, $22 seniors, $12 students.
Call TicketsWest, 503-224-8499. Modest service
fees apply. (503-224-TIXX)

SEATTLE: Saturday, 13 May 2006, 8pm
Holy Rosary Church - 4139 42nd Ave SW., West Seattle
Call 866-822-7735.
Seattle Tickets:
$25 general, $22 seniors, $12 students.
Call TicketsWest, 206-632-8499. Modest service
fees apply. (800-992-8499)

The Fall of Constantinople Program

Hierarchical Entrance Rite for a Byzantine Divine Liturgy

Anon. (c. 1450)

1. Introit for Sundays
2. Hymn of the Resurrection (Mode 1)
3. Imperial Acclamations for Constantine XI Paleologos (1449–53)
4. Kontakion of the Mother of God (Mode Plagal 4)
5. Hierarchical Trisagion
6. Dynamis

Manuel Chrysaphes
the Lampadarios (fl. 1440-63)

Vasilissa ergo gaude

Guillaume Dufay (c. 1400–74)

Hymn for Great Compline

Manuel Gazes the Lampadarios
(early 15th c.)

Apostolo glorioso



Kyrie Cunctipotens genitor

Latin Chant
(from Byzantine notation)

Ecclesiae militantis


Canon in Honor of Thomas Aquinas: Ode 1

John Plousiadenos (1429?–1500)

Communion Verse for Mid-Pentecost


Canon for the Council of Florence: Ode 5

Lament for the Fall of Constantinople


Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae


About the Music

The program begins with music composed when the Byzantines, defending themselves against Ottoman encirclement, sought aid with increasing desperation from the estranged Latin West. The last flickers of Roman imperial glory are evident in the majestic chants of a Byzantine entrance rite featuring acclamations to the Imperial Family. Attempts to secure Western support through intermarriage are commemorated in a festive works of Dufay to celebrate the wedding of Cleophe Malatesta da Rimini and Theodore Palaiologos, brother of the last emperor.

Greeks and Latins had lived uneasily together in the Eastern Mediterranean ever since the sack and occupation of Constantinople (1204–61) by crusader knights. Dufay's radiant Apostolo, glorioso was written in 1426 for the rededication of a Latin-rite church of St. Andrew in Patras (shortly thereafter the city reverted to Byzantine rule). Efforts to subjugate the churches of the Orthodox East to Papal authority reached their climax under Pope Eugenius IV (1431–47), the subject of Dufay's imposing 5-part motet Ecclesiae militantis. The fruit of Eugenius' policies was the controversial Union of Florence (1439), later praised in song by the Byzantine theorist, composer and Roman Catholic convert John Plousiadenos (ca. 1429–1500).

Latin influence even reached the musicians of the Byzantine Emperor's chapel, some of whose experiments with polyphony have received their first modern performances in this program. The concert concludes with two threnodies for the fall of New Rome: The Gentiles Have Come into Your Inheritance by Manuel Chrysaphes the Lampadarios; and the famous Lamentatio Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, the only one of Dufay's four laments for Constantinople to survive.

About Cappella Romana

Its performances “like jeweled light flooding the space” (Los Angeles Times), 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. 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), “Third Rome” (Moscow), and the commonwealth of Slavic countries.

Flexible in size according to the demands of the repertory, Cappella Romana is one of the Pacific Northwest’s few professional chamber vocal ensembles. It has a special commitment to mastering the Slavic and Byzantine repertories in their original languages, thereby making accessible to the general public two great musical traditions that are little known in the West. Leading scholars have supplied the group with their latest discoveries, while its music director has prepared a number of the ensemble’s performing editions from original sources. In the field of contemporary music, Cappella Romana has taken a leading role performing the works of such European composers as Michael Adamis, Ivan Moody, Arvo P?rt, and John Tavener, as well as the work of North Americans such as Christos Hatzis, Tikey Zes, and Peter Michaelides.

The ensemble presents annual concert series in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Critics have consistently praised these for their unusual and innovative programming, including numerous world and American premieres. The group has also frequently collaborated with such artists as conductor Paul Hillier, chant specialist Ioannis Arvanitis, and composer Ivan Moody.

Cappella Romana tours regularly and made its European d?but in March 2004 at the Byzantine Festival in London with concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sophia, followed by 2005 appearances at the Byzantine Studies Symposium of Queen’s University, Belfast (N. Ireland) and the University of Limerick (Rep. of Ireland). The Metropolitan Museum of Art presented the ensemble in its New York d?but for the exhibit “Byzantium: Faith and Power 1261–1557” in April 2004, which included the release of a CD by Cappella Romana, Music of Byzantium, to accompany the exhibit. The ensemble has also appeared in Festival Vancouver (B.C.) the Bloomington Early Music Festival, the Indiana Early Music Festival (Indianapolis) and at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles). Future engagements include the Early Music Society of the Islands (Victoria, BC), Seattle Pacific University’s Medieval Roundtable and the Maryhill Museum, as well as a new program of music from Mt. Sinai for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Cappella Romana has released six compact disc recordings to date: Tikey Zes Choral Works and When Augustus Reigned (Gagliano), The Ak?thistos Hymn by Ivan Moody and Epiphany: Medieval Byzantine Chant (Gothic), Music of Byzantium (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Lay Aside All Earthly Cares: Orthodox Choral Music in English and The Fall of Constantinople (CR Records). Forthcoming recordings include Byzantium in Rome: Music of Grottaferrata, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy in English, and a disc of the Divine Liturgy by Peter Michaelides.

About Alexander Lingas, Artistic Director

Alexander Lingas, Cappella Romana’s founder and artistic director, is currently a Lecturer in Music at City University in London, England, and a Fellow of the University of Oxford’s European Humanities Research Centre. Until January 2006 he was an Assistant Professor of Music History at Arizona State University’s School of Music in Tempe, Arizona.

Dr. Lingas has received a number of academic awards, including 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 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for study in Oxford under Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia. From Michaelmas Term (Autumn) of 1998 until Trinity Term (Spring) of 2001 he was British
Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Oxford University’s St. Peter’s College. He has also served as a lecturer and advisor for the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies at the University of Cambridge.

During the academic year 2003–2004 Dr. Lingas lived in Princeton, New Jersey as the recipient of two prestigious awards: a membership in the School of Historical Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study and an NEH Area Studies Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. In January 2004 he presented the annual Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York.

His upcoming projects include a study of Sunday Matins in the Rite of Hagia Sophia for Ashgate Publishing, as well as a general introduction to Byzantine Chant for the Yale University Press.

(Posting date 14 May 2006)

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