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After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY

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Byzantine Chant and the HIP movement

DEP-GOC PSALTIKI -Interesting Video 
John-Peter Presson
Sun, Jun 5, 2016 at 5:28 AM

Christ is risen

Christus Resurrexit!  As many know, I have a particular interest in a wide spectrum of early music performance practice (the so-called Historically Informed Performance Practice [HIP] movement), as I believe that many of the principles found in the rendering of early music up to the 17th and early 18th Centuries have a number of relevant corollaries in the rendering of classical Byzantine liturgical chants.

I located this video recently of a group called Cappella Pratensis
1 hour

The music is lovely to listen to.  While the music is not obviously from an Eastern Orthodox or Byzantine received tradition (and to note, it IS a concert, not a liturgical service of any kind), there were a couple of things I thought visually striking.   1.) the size of the ensemble is significantly smaller than one would imagine for a choir singing polyphony as well as chant &  2.) the arrangement of the ensemble is, in itself, very similar to how, particularly, Byzantine chant choirs arrange themselves -i.e. in a semicircle around the director (precenter, protopsaltis, what have you...), and a central liturgical music book, rather than what has become a standard modern arrangement for choirs.   It was my thought that the physical arrangement looks, in and of itself, distinctively liturgical, as opposed the often all too familiar arrangement where the choir itself is a physical outlier in the services (i.e. in a loft, and such).   At any rate ... food for a lively discussion, I hope!

Truly the Lord is risen!

John Peter Presson, Dip. Theo. HC -Protopsaltis of the Diocese of Etna & Portland

Director of Music -Holy Nativity of the Theotokos Orthodox Cathedral, Portland, OR

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