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Disc Review: Voices of Jerusalem: Eastern Church Music

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1204473066402&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull Disc Review: Voices of Jerusalem: Eastern Church Music Max Stern
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2008
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      Disc Review: Voices of Jerusalem: Eastern Church Music
      Max Stern , THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 3, 2008

      Voices of Jerusalem: Eastern Church Music
      Recorded by IBA
      Directed and annotated by Dr. Ury Eppstein
      Produced by Largo 5151, Germany

      The Western branch of Christian liturgical music, popularly known as
      Gregorian Chant, stems from the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, it has
      received such enormous representation in books, articles, and
      recordings, that for most of the world's experts and laymen, it would
      appear to be the exclusive music of Christian worship. But what
      happened to the music of the Eastern Church? Does it have a
      repertoire? Where is it?

      The dearth of recordings of Eastern Chant in the West is perhaps due
      partly to the difficulties involved in penetrating the languages and
      cultures of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the byways of Africa,
      and the forbidding Arab world. Jerusalem in its unique position
      between East and West is a magnet for all faiths, and Voices of
      Jerusalem reflects their varied musical traditions.

      This rich, rare and diverse album documents the authentic sacred
      music of Jerusalem's many Easter Churches. It includes selections of
      chants, hymns, processionals, masses, and excerpts from the vespers
      services of the Greek-Orthodox, Armenian-Orthodox, Armenian-Catholic,
      Romanian-Orthodox, Syrian-Orthodox, Maronite, Ethiopian-Orthodox,
      Russian-Orthodox, Greek-Catholic and Roman-Catholic Churches. There
      is not a single Western-Latin selection in the lot.

      We hear individual clergy and laymen, priests and nuns, choirs of
      monks, accompanied and a cappella, intoning their sacred prayers in
      Armenian, Romanian, Greek, Arabic, Ghez, Slavonic, Russian, and even Hebrew.

      Sometimes their song is a hymn, patterned in isometric syllables,
      harmonized sweetly in parallel, consonant harmonies. These, more
      often than not, are the women's contributions. At other times,
      priests chant their praises to the Creator in bitter, raw sounds that
      stretch, twist, and turn in micro-tones around the single syllable of a Psalm.

      These authentic recordings were made on location in the cold, early
      hours of the morning between 1967 and 1983 by a crew from the Israel
      Broadcasting Authority and the National Sound Archives in the Jewish
      National University Library under the direction of Jerusalem Post
      music critic Dr. Ury Eppstein, who also documented the recordings
      with informative jacket notes. The durations of the 30 excerpts have
      been edited to about two or three minutes (plus or minus) each.

      This beautifully resonate disc takes us inside those massive and
      monumental stone churches, cathedrals and monasteries around
      Jerusalem to hear the voices behind the great wooden doors from which
      mysterious figures emerge and return in silence.

      This CD is perfect for anyone who appreciates the iconic achievements
      of Byzantine art.
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