Saint Ephraim Male Choir Orientale Lumen II (2CD)
Orientale lumen – Light of the East. The title of the encyclical of St John Paul II was borrowed by the Saint Ephraim Male Choir for their concert series in St Stephen’s Basilica, launched in December 2012. During its second and third seasons Orientale lumen grew to be one of the most popular church music events in Budapest: both professionals and choral music lovers have spoken highly of it. Eight concerts from the seasons of 2013 and 2014 served as a basis for this compilation, Bulgarian, Greek, Hungarian, Russian, Ruthenian, Serbian, and Ukrainian prayers can be heard on the recording, conveying and representing the religious sentiments from numerous decades, of various nations and diverse peoples to the audience in St Stephen’s Basilica, who sometimes also participate in the joint prayers.
Saint Ephraim Male Choir
Tamás Bubnó - artistic director
Márta Sebestyén, Nektaria Karantzi, Tünde Szabóki, Anatolij Fokanov, Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijević, Fülöp Kocsis - Bishop of Hajdúdorog
NIKA Chamber Choir
Barilli Female Choir (Katalin Tasić)
The Russian Patriarchate Choir Of Moscow (Anatoly Grindenko)
About the album
Recorded live at the St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, 19 December 2012; 7 January, 5 May, 23 June, 21 December 2013; 7 January, 23 April and 8 June 2014
Recording producers: Tibor Alpár, Gusztáv Bárány, Péter Illényi, Zoltán Osváth
Sound engineers: Tamás Horváth, Béla Kuklis, Zoltán László, Sándor Papp
Edited by Tímea Arany
Artwork: Huszár László / Greenroom
Producer: László Gõz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár
In association with MTVA (Media Support and Asset Management Found)
Supported by the Hungarian Development Bank and the Saint Ephraim Foundation
Brian Morton - Choir & Organ ***** (en)
Richard Whitehouse - Gramophone (en)
Victor Eskenasy - Radio Europa Libera (ro)
Cecilia Malatesta - Il Corriere Musicale (it)
Lukasz Kaczmarek - Muzyka21 **** (pl)
Kovács Ilona - Gramofon ***** (hu)
Czékus Mihály - HFP online (hu)
Orientale Lumen II – CD1
Orientale Lumen II – CD2
The album is available in digital form at our retail partners
(find Russian translation below)
During its second and third seasons Orientale lumen grew to be one of the most popular church music events in Budapest: both professionals and choral music lovers have spoken highly of it. The Saint Ephraim Male Choir has continued to invite internationally renowned artists to perform at the concerts: the series hosted the Hungarian début of Soeur Marie Keyrouz, Nektaria Karantzi, Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijević and Barilli Women’s Choir. Also, after a ten-year hiatus the Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow returned to Hungary to perform together with the Saint Ephraim Choir, and nor should we overlook the magnifi cent performances by Márta Sebestyén, Tünde Szabóki, Bishop Fülöp Kocsis and Anatoly Fokanov – all of whom were guest performers in the series. Two classic Russian pieces were also presented: Saint Ephraim Male Choir was expanded to a mixed choir with the help of the Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis and the NIKA Chamber Choir to perform Tchaikovsky’s Divine Liturgy and Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil.
Eight concerts from the seasons of 2013 and 2014 served as a basis for this compilation double-disc that was made with generous support from the Hungarian Development Bank.
Bulgarian, Greek, Hungarian, Russian, Ruthenian, Serbian, and Ukrainian prayers can be heard on the recording, conveying and representing the religious sentiments from numerous decades, of various nations and diverse peoples to the audience in St Stephen’s Basilica, who sometimes also participate in the joint prayers. This compilation ventures to convey this quite unique milieu – so the recordings of Radio Bartók are used in a rearranged sequence but without any alterations or corrections.
An internationally renowned interpreter of Greek liturgical chant and traditional music. Her tutor was Chronis Aidonidis: an outstanding Greek musicologist with whom she recorded numerous CD-s featuring liturgical hymns and ecclesiastical traditional music. Nektaria Karantzi performed in 12 countries worldwide, held masterclasses at Sorbonne, Paris, at the Liszt Music Academy, Budapest and at the St Athanasius Greek Catholic Theological College in Nyíregyháza.
Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijević
A Serbian painter and singer. During his studies in Belgrade he already directed his attention towards the visual and musical branches of Serbian liturgical art, later he has become a renowned master of both art forms in his home country. He performed in various European countries and in the US, his clean, powerful and exquisite voice is treasured on ten recordings.
Barilli Female Choir, artistic director: Katalin Tasić
Tasić Katalin has been artistic director and conductor of the Barilli choir since its founding in 1992. At the same time, she is full time professor at the Faculty of Philology and Arts at the University of Kragujevac. Among the number awards which she has received for her artistic and pedagogical work, the most important are: The “Golden Badge” or the Culture and Education Community of Serbia in 1994. and the “Special conductor’s Prize” of the jury of the Béla Bartók International choir competition in Debrecen (Hungary), in the 1996. Performing works from all manner of epochs and styles, the Barilli choir won a number of important awards in the best renowned international competitions (Debrecen, Varna, Rome, Budapest, Linz, Graz…) and is ranked among the most prominent of Serbian choirs.
Márta Sebestyén is one of the few Hungarian artists who represents traditional Hungarian culture unchangingly. Her talent, erudite voice and charming personality makes her an original person. There is scarcely any country where Márta Sebestyén has not appeared as a representative of Hungarian culture, either as a soloist or with her companions. She is without doubt a cultural ambassador of her country. She boasts the Unesco Artist for Peace award alongside numerous Hungarian honours. In Italy she was awarded the Diploma alla Carriera and the Chinciano Fellini Award. She appeared on the Academy Award winning soundtrack of The English Patient and on the Grammy Award winning album of Deep Forest. She regularly performs with the Saint Ephraim Male Choir.
The Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow, artistic director: Anatolij Grindenko
The Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow was founded by Anatoly Grindenko in Trotse-Sergieva Lavra (near Moscow) in 1983. Apart from performing both in Russia (where they are mainly a church choir) and internationally, the singers are dedicated scholars of the repertoire for male voices who led the way in the re-discovery of Orthodox church music in the late years of the Soviet Regime. With the collapse of the Soviet Union came the opportunity for them to perform internationally and bring this music to a wider public. Through their live performances and recordings they have reached audiences worldwide. They have been touring in Europe, Scandinavia, and performed at Festivals in Utrecht, London, Maastricht, Barcelona, Ravenna, and at Les Folles Journées in Nancy.
A Russian-born Hungarian opera singer with a baritone voice. He studied singing, pedagogy and choral conducting at Novosibirsk Music Academy. Upon graduation he became a soloist of Novosibirsk Opera where he sang almost every signifi cant baritone role in opera repertoire. He visited Hungary for the first time in 1990, and, after several guest appearances, became a member of the Hungarian Opera in 1992. He is also an acclaimed oratorio singer both in Hungary and abroad.
Fülöp Kocsis – Bishop of Hajdúdorog and NIKA Chamber Choir
Fülöp Kocsis is the bishop of the Greek Catholic Hajdúdorog Diocese, a monk-priest. The cultivation, teaching, and performance of Eastern ecclesiastical chant, either within the liturgy or in concert halls, has always been highly important to him. Together with Saint Ephraim Male Choir he has been working to produce quality church music for years. Bishop Fülöp Kocsis established the Greek Catholic cantor department in 2009 at the St Athanasius Greek Catholic Theological College in Nyíregyháza, taking Byzantine liturgical singing tuition to college level. As a theologian in Nyíregyháza he was a founding member of the NIKA Chamber Choir in the 1980s. This small choir consisted of seminarians and girls from the Kodály School preparing for a musical career, and was led by Marianna Hudivók. Their excellent musicality and enthusiasm led them to win 2nd place in the vocal category in the TV talent contest Ki Mit Tud in 1988. The NIKA Chamber Choir still meets regularly today, not primarily for concerts, but for the pleasure of enjoying making chamber music together.
Tünde Szabóki acquired a piano teacher’s degree at the Liszt Music Academy in 1989 then moved on to Graz to study further as an opera and oratorio singer at the College for Music and Performing Arts. Between 1994 and 2000 she attained several prizes in singing competitions. Though she is mostly employed in oratorios, opera plays an important role in her career. She has been a returning guest at Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Styriarte Festival, she performed at the Bernstein Festival, Jerusalem in 1997, and also at the Berlin Musik-Biennale (2001), the Salzburg Festival and the Luzern Festival. In recent years she made a return to the stage in various roles at the “Wagner in Budapest” Festival and in the Budapest Opera.
English translation: Lőrinc Bubnó, Richard Robinson
01. Bell prayer I
02. Pavel Tchesnokov (1877-1944): Evening sacrifice
“Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” A prayer of the evening service using the words of Psalm 140 – here set by the great Russian master.
Diacon Oleg Kovalev / Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow / Saint Ephraim Male Choir / cond. Anatoly Grindenko
03. Anonymous (16th c.): God is with us
“God is with us! Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves for God is with us.” The first song of Christmas night service is presented in the style of Demestvenny chant from the 16th century.
Diacon Oleg Kovalev / Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow / cond. Anatoly Grindenko
04. Christ is born
“Christ is born; glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven; come to welcome Him!” The Greek and the Hungarian liturgical melodies repeatedly answer one another, using the words of a Christmas chant by St Cosmas the Hymnographer (8th century).
Nektaria Karantzi / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
05. When the Angel came down to Mary… Moldavian Religious Chant
A moving liturgical song of Csángó-Hungarian origin, telling the story of the Annunciation.
Márta Sebestyén / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
06. Christmas bell prayer
07. Awake, Oh Christian Soul… Moldavian Religious Chant
A Csango-Hungarian liturgical folk song that summons everybody to admire Jesus Christ who descended to earth and is lying in a manger.
08. Márk Bubnó (1981) arr.: Oh, pious Jesus
A Hungarian traditional prayer asking for blessings and peace in the New Year.
Márta Sebestyén / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
09. Márk Bubnó (1981) arr.: Little girl
Traditional Bulgarian Christmas chant.
György Philipp / Márk Bubnó
10. György Philipp (1982) arr.: Hark, how the bells
A Ukrainian folksong welcoming the New Year.
11. Lesya Dichko: Praise the Lord, O my soul
”Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord in my life, I will chant unto my God for as long as I have my being.” An excerpt, the second antiphon of the Divine Liturgy, from the work of the Ukrainian composer Dichko, for soprano and male choir.
Tünde Szabóki / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
12. Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Credo
The great romantic Russian master composed the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom in 1878. In a letter from 1877 he wrote: “For me [the liturgy] still possesses much poetical charm. I very often attend the services. I consider the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom one of the greatest productions of art. If we follow the service very carefully, and enter into the meaning of every ceremony, it is impossible not to be profoundly moved by the liturgy of our own Orthodox Church. I am enchanted by the evening service in a similar way. To set off to some small, ancient church, standing in the incense-laden shadows, delving into myself and looking for answers for the eternal questions: why, when, where, wherefore, and to be startled from one’s trance by a burst from the choir; to be carried away by the poetry of this music; to be enthralled when the Royal Doors open up and the words ring out, ‘Praise the name of the Lord!’ – all this is infi nitely precious to me! One of my deepest joys.”
Péter Cser / Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
13. Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Cherubic chant
First chant from the liturgy of the faithful: ”Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim, and chant the thrice-holy hymn unto the life-creating Trinity, now lay aside all earthly care. That we may receive the King of all, who cometh invisibly upborne in triumph by the ranks of angels. Alleluia.”
Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
14. Interlude for bells, wood & metals
15. Dimitrije Golemović (1954): Two Movements from Presanctifi cated Gifts
In Eastern liturgies the Lenten services on Wednesdays and Fridays are called the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts. From the cycle of the Serbian composer the following movements are performed: “Taste and See that the Lord is Good” and “Let our mouth be fi lled with Thy praise, O Lord...”
Barilli Female Choir – Pozarevac, cond. Katalin Tasić
16. Lambadarios manuscript (15.c.): Kratima (Ps 105)
A typical genre of Medieval Byzantine liturgical practice is the Kratima (or Terirem in Greek) a hymn of praise without words that was sung between certain prayers. Its function was mainly to while away time between liturgical events.
Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijević / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
17. Slavite Gospoda jer je dobar: Traditional Serbian Chant (Ps 135)
The audience is often invited to sing together with the performers at the Orientale lumen series. The refrain of Psalm 135 (”For His loving kindness is everlasting”) is to be heard here, evoking the traditional, alternating singing of the Athos Mountain.
Barilli Female Choir – Pozarevac / Saint Ephraim Male Choir and the audience
18. A transcription by Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijevic on the basis of the original by Athos Mountain monk Efrem Ksiropotamski: We hymn Thee
The following hymn from the Divine Liturgy leads us to the ancient musical dominion of the Holy Mountain (Hagion Oros): “We praise Thee, we bless Thee. We give thanks unto Thee, O Lord; and we pray unto Thee,
O our God.”
Dragoslav Pavle Aksentijević / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
01. Bell prayer I
02. Alexander Grechaninov (1864-1956): Credo
The Credo by the notable Russian composer is a dramatic and powerful composition for baritone voice and male choir.
Anatoly Fokanov / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
03. Bell prayer II
04. I will bless the Lord at all times
“I will bless the Lord at all times” psalm no. 33 of the prophet, king and great musician David. At the end of the psalm, there is a terirem or “kratima”. Terirem is a nonsensical syllable used in Byzantine Orthodox Ecclesiastical music. According to Greek tradition the terirem imitates the language of the angels or the lullaby of the Mother of God to Her Son.
05. Symantron (wood bell) prayer
06. Pavel Tchesnokov: Do Not Reject Me (Ps 70)
”Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails.” This piece for basso profondo solo and male choir is a particularly beautiful prayer conceived by an outstanding Russian composer.
László Domahidy / György Silló / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
07. Bell prayer III
08. Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943): Blessed is the man (Ps 1)
Three psalms are presented from the All-Night Vigil (op. 37) that Rachmaninov wrote in only three weeks. “Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly. Alleluia.” Thus begins the fi rst psalm, intervowen by three Alleluias and ending with the doxology.
NIKA Chamber Choir / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
09. Sergei Rachmaninov: Bless the Lord, O my soul (Ps 103)
In the second movement of the cycle the verses of Psalm 103 are invoked: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, O Lord my God, Thou hast been magnifi ed exceedingly.” Written for alto solo and chorus.
Judit Rajk / NIKA Chamber Choir / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
10. Sergei Rachmaninov: Praise ye the name of the Lord (Ps 134/135)
The eighth movement of the All-Night Vigil is an energetic, jubilant composition: “Praise ye the name of the Lord. Alleluia. O ye servants praise the Lord. Alleluia. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. Alleluia.”
NIKA Chamber Choir / Saint Ephraim Male Choir
11. Interlude for chains and metals
12. Lamentation of the Virgin Mary
A Greek traditional lamentation of the Virgin Mary, a chant full of sorrow, from the folk tradition of Cyprus.
13. Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ (Prayer from Morning Service)
“Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless One! We venerate Thy Cross, O Christ, and Thy Holy Resurrection we praise and glorify; for Thou art our God, and we know no other than Thee; we call on Thy name. Come, all you faithful, let us venerate Christ’s Holy Resurrection! For, behold, through the Cross joy has come into all the world. Let us ever bless the Lord, praising His Resurrection. By enduring the Cross for us, He destroyed death by death!”
Bishop Fülöp Kocsis
14. Anonymous (16th c.): Cherubimic hymn
Another instance of the Demestvenny polyphony, which has a lot in common with the Notre-Dame polyphony of the 13th century both in composition technique and sound. The liturgical text is the same as in track 13 on Disc 1.
Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow / Anatoly Grindenko
15. Bell prayer IV
16. Dmitrij Bortnyansky (1751-1825): Te Deum laudamus
The thanksgiving hymn by Saint Ambrose of Milan concludes the programme in setting by Bortnyansky, by turns virtuoso and softly fl owing: ”We praise thee, O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.”
Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow / Saint Ephraim Male Choir / Anatoly Grindenko
I.1. Колокольная молитва I